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Olympic athletes most sought after TV guests

Archery gold medalists An San (left) and Kim Je-deok pose for a photo at Incheon Airport on Sunday. (Yonhap)
Archery gold medalists An San (left) and Kim Je-deok pose for a photo at Incheon Airport on Sunday. (Yonhap)

As the Tokyo Olympics come to an end this week, South Korea’s Olympic stars are setting off on their victory tours meeting the public not at sports arenas, but on TV and radio shows.

Triple Olympic gold medalist archer An San, one of the athletes most in the news during her time in Tokyo, appeared on MBC’s radio show “Pyo Chang-won’s News High Kick,” on Wednesday.

On the live radio show, An shared her experience at the Tokyo Games and her childhood stories.

Two other major broadcasters also cast Olympic athletes in their respective programs.

Archers Oh Jin-hyek and An were invited to KBS1’s “KBS News 9” for an interview late Wednesday. An also joined another KBS show, “The Live,” for a 20-minute live talk show which was broadcast on TV as well as KBS’ YouTube channel.

A screen capture shows An San’s interview on KBS’ YouTube channel, “The Live” on Wednesday. (KBS)
A screen capture shows An San’s interview on KBS’ YouTube channel, “The Live” on Wednesday. (KBS)

The state broadcaster plans to organize more interviews with Olympic athletes on its main news program, ”KBS News 9,“ a company official said.

“The men’s sabre fencing team will appear in the variety show ‘Boss in the Mirror’ and a special program related to the Olympic Games is being produced as well,” the official said. The gold medal-winning men’s sabre fencing team, who earned the nickname ”The Avengers,” is enjoying immense popularity at home.

SBS was recognized for its creative coverage of the Tokyo Games, having reviewed the company’s past programs where young Olympians Kim Je-deok and Shin Yu-bin first appeared to the public as an archer and table tennis player, respectively.

The producers are trying to cast the two to meet viewers’ growing interest in the Olympics rookies that shot to stardom during the games.

Archer An was scheduled to appear on the network‘s prime time news program “SBS 8 News” on Thursday.

Local cable channel JTBC has invited South Korean sabre fencers -- Gu Bon-gil, Oh Sang-uk, Kim Jung-hwan and Kim Jun-ho -- to popular entertainment show “Knowing Bros.” The program has invited many Olympic stars in the past, including pistol shooter Jin Jong-oh, speed skater Lee Sang-hwa and volleyball player Kim Yeon-koung.

The Olympics stage is where a new star is born, culture critic Jung Duk-hyun said.

“Though all of them cannot be invited, people are already drawn into the athletes’ stories, efforts and talents,“ he said.

After the closing ceremony of Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, more athletes are likely to appear on TV shows and on YouTube channels, Jung added.

“Olympic stars are like celebrities. They are no longer shy about engaging with the public and their fans. So I think the athletes’ appearances will not be limited to local broadcasters.”

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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