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[PyeongChang 2018] Skeleton champion hoping to see more S. Koreans on podium in future

GANGNEUNG -- Now an Olympic gold medalist, South Korean skeleton slider Yun Sung-bin said Saturday he wants to see more of his compatriots standing on the podium at international competitions in the future.

Yun became the first Asian to win a medal in sledding sports at the Winter Olympics after claiming gold in the men’s skeleton Friday. At Olympic Sliding Centre, he was the fastest one to cross the finish line in all four heats, with a combined time of 3 minutes, 20.55 seconds.

Yun Sung-bin (Yonhap)
Yun Sung-bin (Yonhap)

Yun said he hopes to see his teammates stand alongside him on the podium in upcoming international events. In Friday’s competition, Yun’s teammate Kim Ji-soo took sixth place in his Olympic debut.

“I hope that I can see my compatriots standing with me on the podium in international events like the World Cup and the Olympics next time,” Yun said at a press conference at Team Korea House in Gangneung, Gangwon Province. “I hope we can have a day when South Koreans sweep the medals and listen to the national anthem together.”

Yun admitted that there was a home field advantage on his way to the gold medal. South Koreans reportedly made nearly 400 runs on the track before entering the Olympic Games.

“A home ground advantage is strong in this sport,” Yun said.

“I’m not sure I’ll be able to beat that home advantage in Beijing next time, but I’ll try to overcome it.”

Following his historic gold, the 23-year-old said he was busy and has yet to throw a party.

“After the medal ceremony, I just went to the athletes’ village and ate some food because I was so hungry,” he said. “When I arrived in my dorm, it was already 12:30 a.m. I just want to have some rest.”

Yun’s achievement was also recognized by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who sent a congratulatory letter to the slider for his hard work.

“When I received that letter, I felt that I really had become successful,” he said. “But at the same time, I felt this should not be the end.”

Yun said that PyeongChang 2018 should be the beginning of a skeleton boom in South Korea, where the sport is relatively unknown to the public.

“Starting with this Olympics, I think that we should really produce prospects who can do better than I in the future,” he said.

“I was happy that I made this sport get more attention and get recognized by the people.” (Yonhap)