South Korean speed skater Kim Bo-reum said Thursday her primary goal ahead of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics is to recover from a lower back injury.
Kim, the reigning International Skating Union World Cup women's mass start overall champion, is considered one of the South Korean medal hopefuls at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Though her physical condition hasn't been at its best recently, the long-distance speed skater said she will be fit before the Olympics.
"I think I'm about 70 percent fit," Kim said before the MBN Women Sports Awards in Seoul, where she won the third-place prize. "My first goal right now is to regain my fitness."
This year, Kim has gone through a bumpy road. She opened the year by winning gold in the women's mass start at the World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, in February. At the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, she bagged one gold, two silvers and one bronze.
South Korean speed skater Kim Bo-reum speaks after she received an award at the MBN Women Sports Awards in Seoul on Dec. 14, 2017. (Yonhap)
The 24-year-old, however, suffered a back injury in a fall during the semifinals at the first ISU World Cup this season in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, last month. She then skipped the second World Cup in Stavanger, Norway, and finished 11th in Calgary, Canada, earlier this month.
Kim managed to win a bronze medal at the season's fourth World Cup in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Sunday but admitted she still needs to keep improving.
"I still need to improve my stamina and speed," she said. "If I can work hard in the coming months, I think I'll be in good form."
Kim said she isn't planning to have any special training to regain her fitness, other than to stick to her regular programs.
"The Olympic Games are important, but other events were also important to me," she said. "I think it will be better for me to follow the programs that I've been working on."
Kim said she is also working on coping with her opponents' strategies on ice.
"I'm a skater who gets onto the podium with a last-minute spurt, but some skaters make early spurts and finish ahead of me," she said. "I'm not able to handle other skaters' strategic moves on ice alone. I hope we can have at least two South Koreans in the final, so that we can make a team play." (Yonhap)