Led by head coach Cho Sung-dong, the gymnasts put in their two hours of work at the training facility near North Greenwich Arena, which will host gymnastics during the July 27-Aug. 12 Olympics. The gymnastics delegation was the first batch of South Korean athletes to land here, and athletes said they were still fighting jetlag.
Kim Ji-hoon, the team captain, said fatigue has not dampened the good vibes on the team.
“We’ve only been here for two days, and we’re still a bit sluggish, but everyone is in a good mood,” Kim said. “If each one of us can post good scores in the preliminaries of the team event on July 28, then I think we should win a lot of medals in different disciplines.”
|Korea’s Yang Hak-seon takes part in a practice session ahead of the Olympics. (Yonhap News)|
Gymnasts will progress to the medal round of each of the six disciplines ― floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bars ― based on their scores in the qualification stage. South Korea has won four silver and four bronze medals in the Olympics so far.
Yang Hak-seon, the reigning world champion in vault, is considered the surest medal hope. Cho shielded the soft-spoken 19-year-old from media interview requests as he tried to keep Yang focused.
Yang later admitted he could feel pressure mounting as the Olympics approaches and said, “I will prepare as hard as I can.”
Cho also said the gymnasts are trying to adjust their eyes to the new color of the podium and landing area. They’re used to the blue podium at the National Training Center in Seoul, but during the London Games, it will be colored pink, a featured color of these Olympics. Kim Seung-il, a veteran in all six disciplines, said he got “dizzy” seeing the bright-colored podium.
South Korea will also count on Kim Soo-myun to win a medal in the individual all-around event, which combines scores from all apparatus. Kim Ji-hoon is also seen as a medal contender in horizontal bars.