Park Ji-Sung 'honored' to be 1st South Korean torchbearer for 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
Carl Yang, Oct. 24, 2017, 11:57 a.m.
Former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung said Tuesday he feels "honored" to serve as the first South Korean torchbearer for the PyeongChang Winter Games that will take place in his native country next year. Park, who hung up his boots in 2014, watched the Olympic flame-lighting ceremony at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece, and carried the torch after he received the flame from the first torchbearer Apostolos Angelis, a Greek cross-country skier, at the Pierre de Coubertin Monument.
"I'm really honored to run as the first South Korean torchbearer," he said. "As a person who loves sports and an athlete who grew up watching the Olympic Games, this really is a big honor."
Park is an Olympian himself, having played at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games. He said he also feels grateful to take part in the ceremony. "Even at the rehearsal, I felt the importance of the event and how sacred and valuable this is." Park was named an honorary ambassador for PyeongChang 2018 in August this year. The 36-year-old said he is fully ready to promote the first Winter Games in his homeland.
"I took many photos and shot videos for PyeongChang Games while I was in South Korea last time," he said. "I'm staying in Europe these days, so I will use those things. I can also contribute PyeongChang Olympics promotion by conducting interviews with foreign media."
Park is considered one of the best footballers South Korea has ever produced. He represented the country at three FIFA World Cups, scoring at least a goal in each of the three tournaments. He won 100 caps for South Korea, one of nine South Koreans in the century club. Park, who also had stints with PSV Eindhoven and Queens Park Rangers, is also the first South Korean to play in the English Premier League (EPL).
The torch will tour Greece before arriving in South Korea on Nov. 1, when the countdown to the PyeongChang Olympics will reach 100 days.