Day of hope, disappointment for S. Korea in Sochi

By 박한나
  • Published : Feb 17, 2014 - 09:59
  • Updated : Feb 17, 2014 - 11:36
Korea’s Lee Seul-bee and Um Min-ji sweep ahead of the stone during women's curling competition against Denmark at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, in Sochi, Russia (Yonhap)
It was a day mixed with hope and disappointment for South Korea at the Sochi Winter Olympics, as female curlers vowed to work harder for a better future, and the men's bobsleigh teams took an important step forward.

South Korea didn't add to its medal tally on Sunday, however, and remains at one gold, one silver and one bronze medal, good for 17th place.

The women's curling team faces elimination from its first Olympic tournament, after losing to Denmark 7-3. The defeat dropped South Korea's record to 2-5 in ninth place among 10 countries. Only the United States has a worse record than South Korea at 1-7.

The top four will reach the semifinals. Canada and Sweden have already qualified, with China, Britain and Switzerland trailing at four wins apiece.

South Korea, in its first Olympic curling tourney, is still alive, but it will have to win its final two matches, including the finale against the 8-0 Canada, and hope other countries will lose their remaining matches.

Aware that their chances of advancing were slim, South Korean curlers were reduced to tears after the loss to Denmark.

Kim Ji-sun, the team's skip, acknowledged that South Korea stood little chance against the favorites.

"We've been doing our best but we also realized just how far behind we are," she said. "I think we have to keep improving. We never thought we couldn't beat those teams, though. We may not be so good now, but I think we're almost there."

Kim said even though South Korea has virtually been knocked out, she and the rest of the team will not slow down.

"This is our first Olympics, and I think doing our best is more important than putting up good results," the skip said. "It's disappointing, but this is also just a start. I believe we've opened a new chapter in the history of South Korean curling."

In the two-man bobsleigh competition on Sunday, the tandem of pilot Won Yun-jong and brakeman Seo Young-woo ranked 19th after the first two of four races. Their combined time was 1:54.61.

A second South Korean team, with pilot Kim Dong-hyun and brakeman Jun Jung-lin, ranked 25th after their two races, with the time of 1:55.54.

They will be back for the final two races on Monday. The combined time after all four races will determine the final standings.

The Won-Seo duo left something to be desired at Sanki Sliding Center, with Won having claimed the overall North American Cup title this season thanks to two victories in January in Lake Placid.

They had relatively fast starts in both races, ranking 10th with 4.87 seconds in the first run and then 11th in the next run with 4.91 seconds, but couldn't quite sustain their speed the rest of the way.

South Korea made its Olympic bobsleigh debut in 2010 in Vancouver, with one team in the four-man event, and finished 19th at the time. Won and Seo will try to better that position on Monday.

Elsewhere in Sochi on Sunday, three South Korean speed skaters finished in the back of the pack in the women's 1,500m.

Kim Bo-reum led the Korean contingent in 21st place out of 36, with the time of 1:59.78. Noh Seon-yeong ranked 29th in 2:01.07, and Yang Shin-young finished dead last in 2:04.13. (Yonhap)