[OP-ED] Gold medal worthy Korean athletes to watch during Rio 2016!

Adriana Cho, Aug. 3, 2016, 10:56 a.m.

The 2016 Summer Olympics are coming soon, with the opening ceremony taking place on August 5th, so everyone is getting ready to support their teams. South Korea is sending 204 athletes and with their previous record of fifth place overall in past Summer Olympics, it is a country worth cheering for.

Here are a few athletes to especially look out for this summer!

1. Ki Bo Bae (Archery)

Two-time Olympic champion Ki Bo-Bae holds Olympic titles in both the individual and team events from the London 2012 Olympics. Hoping to defend her individual title at Rio 2016, she is really a force to be reckoned with. No one has ever won the individual gold twice in a row, so let’s cheer for her name to go down in history.

2. Gu Bon Gil (Men's Sabre Individual Fencing)

Gu Bon Gil is the face of Korea for this year’s Olympics. Assigned flag-bearer for the opening ceremony, this experienced fencer has won gold for Korea on the Men’s team sabre at the 2012 London Olympics. This time he is competing in the Men’s individual sabre event, to try and secure a medal.

3. Kim Ji Yeon (Women's Sabre Team and Individual Fencing)

Another fencer, Kim Ji Yeon has an amazing record including gold in the individual sabre fencing event in 2012. She is also the first South Korean woman in history to win gold in fencing and only the second to win gold in fencing for both men and women. She is representing her country in both the team and individual events this summer.

4. Son Yeon Jae (Rythmic Gymnastics)

Nicknamed the “Fairy”, Son Yeon Jae first won over the heart of South Korea after she succeeded in winning a medal at the 2010 Asian Games. Since then, she has gone on to be the first Asian rhythmic gymnast to win gold in the All-Around event in the World Cup Series, and the first Korean rhythmic gymnast to win the Asian Championships. She is currently training hard in Russia in an effort to secure a medal at Rio 2016.

5. Kim Won Jin (Judo - 60 kg)

Although originally a Japanese sport, Judo has been dominated by Korea in past Olympics. This summer is no exception with top athletes entered in each weight category. One of them is Kim Won Jin who will be competing in the 60 kg event, in which he is currently ranked No. 1 in the world.

6. An Baul (Judo - 66 kg)

Another judoka who is expected to make Korea proud is An Baul. He is currently ranked first in the world for the 66 kg group. He also won the World Championship in 2015 and rose to fame because of it.

7. An Chang Rim (Judo - 73 kg)

An athlete with a record of accomplishments, An Chang Rim is the judoka everyone is looking at to win gold at this year’s Summer Olympics. He is also ranked number 1 in the world for the 73 kg event. He is a second generation Korean-Japanese who chose to represent Korea, making the whole nation proud.

8. Jin Jong Oh (Shooting - 10m and 50m pistol)

Jin Jong Ah has one of the most impressive records of any sport. He has attended three Summer Olympics, competing in two events at each of the Olympics, and left with 3 gold medals and 2 silver medals! He holds the world record in both 10m and 50m pistol, so everyone is hoping to see him defend his title again this year. 

9. Daehoon Lee (Taekwondo - 68 kg)

Taekwondo is a sport that originated in Korea and is also the country’s national pride. Lee Dae Hoon lives up to these great expectations and has proven his abilities many times before. He has a total of 6 gold medals from various world championships and won silver at the 2012 Olympics. 

10. Park Tae Hwan (Swimming)

Korea’s “Marine Boy” is making his comeback at this year’s Olympics following a doping scandal. This will likely be his last Olympics, and because of his amazing performances in the past, we can’t help but still root for him despite his tainted reputation. He was the first Korean to win an Olympic medal in swimming, and he hopes to do it again this year.

Who are you going to rooting for during this year’s Summer Olympics in Rio?

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