Paris-bound S. Korean athletes want to chase medals, enjoy experience

Winning an Olympic medal can be a life-altering experience for athletes. But South Korean Olympians headed to Paris this summer also want to enjoy their experience, too.

Artistic gymnast Yeo Seo-jeong, the reigning bronze medalist in the women’s vault, will take aim at a bigger prize in Paris.

“I haven’t had as much training as I would have liked because of injuries, but I feel pretty good now,” said Yeo, the only South Korean female gymnast with an Olympic medal, on Tuesday. “I am confident I can win a medal again this time. More than anything, I don’t want to have any regret after it’s all said and done.”

She was enjoying some rare down time with table tennis player Shin Yu-bin, having coffee with her friend before they both attended the official delegation launch ceremony at the Olympic Park in Seoul.

This will also be Shin’s second Olympics. She did not bring home any medal from Tokyo three years ago, but the 20-year-old wants to join Yeo in the Olympic medalist club this time.

She could contend for
a medal in the mixed doubles with Lim Jong-hoon and in the women’s team event.

“My motto for the Olympics is to have fun and enjoy the competition,” Shin said.

Modern pentathlete Seong Seung-min will make her Olympic debut, fresh off her historic world title from last month. She said she was inspired by the presence of other Olympians at the launch ceremony.

“I just trained early this morning before coming here, and when I saw all the athletes in one place, I felt motivated to work even harder,” Seong said. “I’ve been working hard to get to this point and I just want to keep going.”

Freestyle swimmer Kim Woo-min, the reigning world champion in the men’s 400 meters, said he has a mixed bag of nervous energy and excitement for his second Olympics.

“My preparation has been going so well, and I can’t wait to show people what I can do,” Kim said. “I can’t wait for the competition to start.”

Fellow swimmer Hwang Sun-woo, who won the 2024 world title in the men’s 200m, said he learned his lessons from his firs
t Olympics in Tokyo, where he charged out early only to lose steam in the late stretches.

“My goal in Paris is to put on even better races than in Tokyo,” Park added.

Source: Yonhap News Agency