A couple of days ago, we introduced you to a family from Down Under that has Short Track Speed Skating in its blood. Let’s now turn our attention to an entire country that seems to have Speed Skating in its blood.
South Korean Short Track Speed Skaters have won a combined 42 Winter Olympic medals, including 21 golds, more than any other nation. South Korea is also the only country to have won at least one gold medal at every Olympics when the sport has featured. The fact that celebrated Korean skater Lee Sang-Hwa burst into tears when she finished second at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics tells us what the Korean skaters expect from themselves. Lee, of course, was already a double gold medalist (2010 and 2014) going into Pyeonchang, but let’s not forget that she was also a double gold medalist in 500m at the Universiade – 2007 in Torino and 2009 in Harbin. So, who’s going to follow in these illustrious footsteps? Let’s find out!
Leading Team Korea’s squad of speed skaters in Krasnoyarsk will be Kim Gunwoo and Kim Alang, both with solid pedigree already under their belts. Gunwoo has taken first place in the 1500m in the last three ISU World Cups – namely in Torino (ITA), Dresden (GER) and Almaty (KAZ). So, going into Krasnoyarsk, the 20-year-old from Seongnam is in prime form. Understandably, he is very excited.
“It is my first time participating in a Universiade,” he says. “So, I am excited to experience the spectacular atmosphere. Also, I am looking forward to seeing what kind of results I can achieve in this Universiade.”
Pressed a bit further, his goal is clear. “It has been quite a long time since Team Korea won a gold medal in Short Track Speed Skating team events at the Universiade. So, my personal goal is to perform well and showcase my skills on the international stage, as well as to achieve outstanding results.”
The women’s squad might just be even more confident. Led by Olympic gold medalist Kim Alang, the women’s team is confident of beating the best in the world in the 3000m relay. Alang was a part of both the gold medal winning teams – in Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018 in front of a rapturous home crowd.
She’s no stranger to the Universaide either, having taken gold in Almaty 2017. “This will be the third time that I am participating in the Universiade,” says the 23-year-old. “However, the Winter Universiade 2019 in Krasnoyarsk means a lot to me because it could be my last Universiade as a member of Team Korea. Our goal is to win the gold medal together for the team event. As for the individual event, it would be great if I could achieve better results as compared to my last two Universiades.”
We will find out on 6 March if any other team has what it takes to snatch the women’s 3000m relay gold from the Koreans. The full competition schedule can be found here. Check out the cool Arena Sever Multi-Functional Complex where the Short Track Speed Skating will take place.