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Jung Jae-won aspires to be the next ‘Ice Monster’

Posted February. 10, 2022 07:53,   

Updated February. 10, 2022 07:53


Kim Min-seok set fire, and Jung Jae-won fans the flames. Jung Jae-won, the strongest in South Korea for medium and long track speed skating, makes a foray into the Beijing Winter Olympics, following Kim Min-seok, who has metamorphosed into the “Ice Monster” by winning a bronze medal on Tuesday in men’s 1,500 meter speed skating, which is his second consecutive Olympic medal after one gleaned in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winer Olympics.

Jung Jae-won, who first took part in the Olympics back in 2018 with Kim Min-seok when both of them were still high school students, is running for a medal for the second time. Jung claimed a silver medal in men’s team pursuit in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics with Kim Min-seok and Lee Seung-hoon. Jung failed to qualify for men’s 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter speed skating in the Beijing Winter Olympics, as he did not perform well in 2021/22 ISU Long Track Speed Skating World Cup. However, he will take part in men’s team pursuit with Kim Min-seok, whose performance has significantly advanced, on Sunday. Having claimed No. 4 in the 2021/22 World Cup, Jung will also run for a gold medal in the final race of men’s mass start, not as a “shield” that acts as a pacemaker for Lee Seung-hoon, but as a “spear.”

Jung wants to prove the maxim that goes, “the smaller, the shrewder,” as Kim Min-seok did. Regardless of whether he clutched a spot in the national team, Jung has always been motivated by Kim Min-seok. Inspired by Kim with a height of 177 centimeters, who lifted heavier weights for increasing speed, Jung underwent intensified training in Taebaek, Gangwon Province last summer and never skipped mountaineering in Mt. Bulam near the Taeneung International Skating Rink, which is notorious for its toughness. Though with a height of 174cm and a weight of less than 50kg, Jung has made up for speed and stamina to be able to compete against European skaters who do particularly well in long track speed skating. Jung took a photo with Kim in front of the electronic display board showing 100 days to go until the Beijing Winter Olympics.

South Korea’s ranking in men’s team pursuit according to the 2021/22 ISU World Cup record is No. 10. However, it is merely a number to be broken for Jung, who aspires to become the next “Ice Monster” following his friend Kim.

Jae-Yeong Yoo elegant@donga.com