A 'record maker' Kim Min-sun has become the first Korean female speed skater to win a silver medal in the 1000-meter at World Cup. She recorded 1:15.82 in the women's 1,000-meter division A at the first round of the International Skating Union (ISU) 2022-2023 Speed Skating World Cup held in Stavanger, Norway on Monday (local time). There was only one athlete who crossed the finish line earlier than her. Her name is Jutta Leerdam of the Netherlands (1:15.61).
Since the start of the 1985-1986 speed skating World Cup by the ISU, no Korean female speedskater has won a silver or a gold in this category. Even Lee Sang-hwa with a record of 94 medals at the World Cup, won only two bronze medals in the category.
Kim won her first gold medal from the World Cup in the 500m individual competition, her main competition, on the previous day. Adding a silver medal in the 1,000-meter event on Tuesday made her prospect of winning another medal in the next Winter Olympics in Milan to Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, even brighter. During the Beijing Olympics in February this year, Kim Min-sun was ranked 7th in the 500-meter and 16th in the 1,000-meter.
Kim emerged as one of the leading candidates to be the next Lee Sang-hwa while shortening the world junior’s record (37.81) held by Lee by 0.11 seconds to 37.70 in the women's 500-meter at the Fall Classic 2017 held in Calgary, Canada in September 2017.
Yet, soon after breaking the record, she was tagged as “for domestic competition.” While other skaters did not match Kim in Korean competitions, she had been back and forth between Division A and B during international stages due to her back pain. Then, Jegal Seong-ryeol, who leads the Uijeongbu City Hall team, instructed her to work on ‘medium and long-distance training.’
“Kim had focused on starting point and muscle training as she originally aimed to run in the 500-meter. But Kim’s back pain made it difficult to strengthen her muscles, which was quite frustrating,” explained Manager Jegal, who won the men's 1000-meter at the World Cup twice himself, “So I thought then her endurance could replace her muscle power. That is why she started to skate in 1,000-meter and 1,500-meter to maximize her strength.”
Kim finally overcame her back pain with her enhanced muscular strength and successfully wrote her new personal record (37.205) at the last season’s 4th World Cup in December 2021, and won the first medal in the senior international stage by grabbing a bronze from the 500-meter during the World Cup final in March this year.
She celebrated her success by leaving a post on her social medial account reading, “The first World Cup tournament is finished with two World Cup medals! It was a really happy weekend. Thank you everyone for your support.” Kim is scheduled to compete in the World Cup’s second competition held in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, starting on Friday to continue her strong medal-winning performances hopefully.
Jae-Yeong Yoo email@example.com