The Korea Herald

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Weightlifting champion Jang Mi-ran tapped as vice minister

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : June 29, 2023 - 15:18

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Jang Mi-ran (Yonhap) Jang Mi-ran (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol on Thursday named Jang Mi-ran, a physical education professor and former Olympic weightlifting champion, as the vice minister of culture and sports.

Jang, 39, will become The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's second vice minister, whose main responsibility is handling sports-related affairs, according to officials. With the ministry having two vice ministers, Jang will cooperate with the current first vice minister Chun Byong-geuk in overseeing the ministry's tasks.

"Sports and public communication are the two pillars of the Culture Ministry," a ranking official at the presidential office told reporters on condition of anonymity.

"The current culture minister (Park Bo-gyoon) is a former journalist, so we sought someone out from the sports sector in hopes of bringing a breath of fresh air to the ministry," the official added.

Jang is the third elite athlete to be chosen as vice minister for sports, following former shooter Park Jong-gil and ex-swimmer Choi Yoon-hee.

Jang, who has been teaching at Yong In University, is indisputably the best female lifter South Korea has ever produced.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she shattered multiple world records to clinch the gold. Her record of total 326 kilograms, a world record at the time, far surpassed the lifts of the silver and bronze medalists who failed to even reach the 300-kilogram mark. They were later both stripped of their medals after testing positive for banned substances.

Jang’s total Olympic medal tally is one gold (2008 Beijing), one silver (2004 Athens) and one bronze (2012 London)

She won four consecutive world titles at World Weightlifting Championships. Besides Jang, only three female lifters have won more world championships since 1987, when the WWC established its female weightlifting category.

Jang continued her education during her years as an athlete and after her sporting retirement in 2013.

In 2010, she earned a bachelor's degree in physical education atKorea University and a master's degree in 2013 at Sungshin Women's University.

In 2015, Jang got a doctorate in physical education at Yong In University. She became a professor at the same school in 2016. After studying at Kent State University, starting in 2017, Jang rejoined Yong In's faculty in 2021.