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S. Korean winter sports stars of past, present, future well-represented in Youth Olympics ceremony

Korean athletes pose with national flags at the Gangneung Oval after the opening ceremony of the Winter Youth Olympics in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, Friday. Yonhap

Winter sports stars of the past, the present and the future for South Korea played significant roles in the opening ceremony of the country’s first Winter Youth Olympics here Friday. The fourth edition of the youth competition kicked off in the eastern province of Gangwon on Friday night, with Gangneung, some 160 kilometers east of Seoul, and Pyeongchang, just west of Gangneung, simultaneously hosting the opening ceremony. Gangneung Oval, the speed skating venue in Gangneung, served as the stage for the main ceremony, including the parade of the participating athletes, the raising of the national flag, the Taegeukgi, and the lighting of the Youth Olympic cauldron. Six former and active winter sports athletes who carried the Taegeukgi into the oval represented six different sports. Leading the group was Seo Whi-min, the 2022 Olympic silver medalist in women’s short track speed skating and also a three-time medalist at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics. Gangwon organizers said Seo, 21, was chosen for the role to represent “a beacon of hope for Youth Olympic Games athletes who want to be future Olympic stars.”

Joining Seo was the 31-year-old biathlete Kim Yong-gyu, who won a bronze medal at the 2017 Asian Winter Games. It was the first individual medal by a Korean biathlete in Asian Games history .One Olympic medalist and one potential future Olympic medalist also helped carry the flag .Jun Jung-lin, 35, was a member of the history-making South Korean men’s four-man bobsleigh team at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. It was South Korea’s first Olympic medal in bobsleigh. Figure skater Lee Hae-in has been building up nicely for her potential Winter Games debut in 2026. The 18-year-old won silver at last year’s world championships in the women’s singles, and has also won a gold and a silver at each of the past two Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. Former speed skater Lee Kang-seok and ex-national women’s hockey team player Ahn Kun-young rounded out the group. By winning bronze in the men’s 500 meters at the 2006 Winter Games, Lee became the second South Korean to win a Winter Olympics medal in a sport other than short track speed skating.

There was no shortage of star power and future potential in the final torch relay. Yun Sung-bin, the 2018 Olympic men’s skeleton gold medalist, began the final journey of the Youth Olympic flame in Pyeongchang. It was in Pyeongchang six years ago that Yun became the first Asian Olympic champion of a sliding event Sisters Park Ha-eun and Park Ga-eun were up next in the final relay leg. The two short track speed skaters with intellectual developmental disabilities have been competing nationally at the National Winter Para Games .Up next in the relay was Park Seung-hi, a two-time short track champion at the 2014 Winter Olympics who competed in speed skating on the oval four years later at PyeongChang 2018. It made Park the first South Korean skater to compete at two different Olympic events .The last torchbearer and the Youth Olympic cauldron lighter was freestyle skier Lee Jeong-min, who will compete at Gangwon 2024 at age 17 카지노사이트 and represented his fellow teen athletes and potential future Olympic stars.

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