Olympic Speed Skating Paralympic Gold Medalist Wish Each Other Well for Beijing 2022
Troy Young, March 21, 2018, 8:22 a.m.
If there's one thing in common between Lee Seung-hoon, the Olympic speed skating mass start champion, and Sin Eui-hyun, the first South Korean to win Winter Paralympics gold, it would be their tremendous strength and energy. Lee raced a total of 37.4 kilometers at the PyeongChang Olympics last month while competing in four events -- 5,000m, 10,000m, team pursuit and mass start. Sin skied a total of 63.93 km while competing in seven events at the PyeongChang Paralympics.
Both athletes met at the 23rd Coca-Cola Sports Awards in Seoul Wednesday and said they were inspired by each other's performance. They also wished each other the best of luck at Beijing 2022.
"It's just an honor for me to be compared with Sin," Lee said. "He overcame his impairment and gave encouragement and inspiration to many." For Sin, it was an honor to stand next to Lee, the most decorated Asian speed skater with five career Olympic medals -- two golds and three silvers.
"When I saw him on television, he looked so big," Sin said. "Lee said he'll try to win medals at Beijing 2022, and I think he can win at least three. He'll be 34 in four years, but I'm going to be 42. He's still young."
Lee won gold in the men's mass start and silver in the men's team pursuit at the PyeongChang Olympics. When asked why he competed in all five competitions at the PyeongChang Olympics, the 30-year-old said he did it for young speed skaters in the country.
"I couldn't just overlook those long-distance events, because I felt responsibility," he said. "I'll do my best for the Beijing Olympics, but if young athletes rise and can replace me, I'll be happy to yield my spot to them."
Sin, who earned gold in the men's 7.5km sitting cross-country skiing and bronze in the men's 15km sitting cross-country skiing at the PyeongChang Paralympics, said he competed in all seven events to promote the sport.
"I wanted to promote Nordic skiing and disabled sports to people," he said. "I also wanted to show that disabled athletes can also perform well."