Published : 2014-02-18 09:33
Updated : 2014-02-18 10:07
They didn't come all that close to winning a medal on Monday, but the South Korean bobsleigh tandem of Won Yun-jong and Seo Young-woo said they left no regrets on the track.
The pilot-brakeman duo finished the two-man competition at Sanki Sliding Center in 18th place, third from the bottom, with a combined time of 3:49.27 after four races. They were nearly four full seconds behind the champions from Russia, Alexey Voevoda and Alexander Zubkov, but the finish was still the highest-ever by South Korea in Olympic bobsleigh.
Having captured the overall title at the North America Cup in January, thanks to two victories in Canada, Won and Seo had hoped to finish inside the top 15 in Sochi. Won admitted to making "three mistakes" during the first run on Sunday, but he said he put them behind him quickly.
"I have no regrets," Won said with a smile. "I realized that the Olympics is a much bigger stage than I ever imagined, and that experience is really important."
Seo said the final result left "a bitter taste" in his mouth but he will accept it and try to learn from it.
The second South Korean team, pilot Kim Dong-hyun and brakeman Jun Jung-lin, ranked 25th after three races and failed to qualify for the final run, open to only the top 20.
Kim too said he had no regrets about his performance. He competed in the four-man event in Vancouver four years ago as a pushman, and said he should be even more competitive by the next Winter Games in South Korea's PyeongChang.
"Most of the medalists here have more than 10 years of experience," he said. "That gives us confidence that we could do what they did (in four years' time)."
Also on Monday, the women's curling team was forced to start looking toward the future, after missing the semifinals in its Olympic debut. South Korea romped the United States 11-2 in the day's first match but was eliminated from the tournament. The win took South Korea to 3-5 with one match remaining, but the country needed at least five victories to have a chance to finish in the top four.
South Korea then lost to Canada 9-4 in the final round robin match and ended the campaign in eighth place at 3-6.
It was still an encouraging Olympics for the curling upstart.
The team led by skip Kim Ji-sun also became a fan favorite among South Koreans, who developed new interest in the niche sport.
Elsewhere on Monday, the male ski jumpers failed to qualify for the medal round in the team competition.
The quartet of Choi Heung-chul, Choi Seo-u, Kim Hyun-ki and Kang Chil-gu scored 402 points in the first round, finishing 11th among 12 countries. Only the top eight after the first round went on to vie for medals.
The four ski jumpers have been competing together for more than a decade. Their travails once became the subject of a hit local film, but there was no storybook ending for them in Sochi.
Before the team competition, none of the four jumpers had qualified for the final rounds in the normal hill and large hill individual events. (Yonhap)