London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

A London 2012 Korean Olympic round-up

Here are some of the highlights and headlines from the past two weeks or so of Korean athletes at the London 2012 Olympics:

25 July

North Korea’s Olympic women’s football team walked off the pitch for an hour at their opening London 2012 match tonight after organisers mistakenly introduced the players using South Korea’s flag. And who can blame them?

DPRK flag mix-up

26 July

Lee Jae-Cheol, South Korea’s Olympic sailing coach, was caught drink driving after a welcoming party in Weymouth and was later sent back home.

South Korean journalists were excluded from an “open” training session for the North Korean table tennis team.

No photos

Enough bad news. On with the good.

27 July

First two world records broken at Games: South Korean archer Im Dong-hyun, who is visually impaired, set an individual record in Friday’s ranking round. He also joined forces with Kim Bub-min and Oh Jin-hyek to record a new best in the team event.

Im Dong-hyun celebrates his world record

28 July

Day 1: there’s controversy as South Korean Olympic champion Park Tae-hwan is disqualified for a false start, then reinstated, and goes on to win silver in the 400m men’s freestyle.

South Korea’s record-breaking men’s archery team disappoints with a bronze, and South Korea’s first gold goes to Jin Jong-oh for men’s 10m air pistol shooting.

Jin Jong-oh with air pistol

29 July

Day 2: The women’s archery team of Choi Hyeon-ju, Ki Bo-bae and Lee Sung-jin win gold.

Choi Hyeonju, Ki Bo Bae and Lee Sung Jin

The DPRK get their first two golds in judo (women’s 52kg) and weightlifting (men’s 56kg), as Om Yun-chol becomes only the fifth man in history to lift triple his own body weight, equalling the world record and setting an Olympic record in the clean-and-jerk element of the men’s 56kg.

Om Yun-chol

30 July

Day 3: Heartbreak for Shin A-lam (ROK) in the individual women’s epee as a glitch with the clock denies her a place in the final; she is then beaten to bronze by the Chinese fencer. The International Fencing Federation later gave her a consolation medal.

Shin A-lam

Park Tae-hwan (ROK) wins his second silver, the men’s 200m freestyle. Kim Un-guk picks up the second of DPRK’s weightlifting golds, setting a new world record in the process. He’s happy.

Kim Un-guk (Photo Getty / Lars Baron)

31 July

Day 4: Kim Jae-bum (ROK) wins men’s sub-81kg judo.

Two South Korean women’s badminton teams get disqualified for not trying hard enough to beat their Chinese and Indonesian opponents, a tactic reportedly started by the Chinese to avoid a tougher draw in the next round.

At this stage in the games both Koreas were adjacent in the medals table. But the Korea north of the DMZ objected to being called “naughty” by the Australian freesheet mX. “Naughty Brisbane Metro Challenges Olympic Spirit,” blasted the KCNA, accusing the Aussies of bullying.

1 August

Day 5: A good day for Team South Korea: three gold medals (Kim Ji-yeon – women’s individual sabre, Song Dae-nam – men’s 90kg judo, and Kim Jang-mi – women’s 25m pistol) take their total tally to 6.

Kim Ji-yeon – women’s individual sabre, Song Dae-nam – men’s 90kg judo, and Kim Jang-mi – women’s 25m pistol

Rim Jong-sim takes DPRK’s gold tally to 4, winning the women’s 69kg weightlifting.

2 August

Day 6: Ki Bo-bae (ROK) follows up team gold with an individual gold in women’s archery.

Ki Bo-bae

3 August

Day 7. Oh Jin-hyek wins gold in men’s individual archery – South Korea’s third archery gold. Despite South Korea’s leading rankings in archery, this was the first men’s individual gold. News leaks out that he is romantically involved with fellow archery gold medallist Ki Bo-bae

The South Korean men’s sabre team add to the tally of golds.

4 August

Day 8. A consolation prize for Shin A-lam (ROK) as her epee team wins silver. The South Korean men’s football team beat the host nation on penalties.

5 August

Day 9, and with Jin Jong-oh’s gold in 50m pistol shooting (Jin’s second gold) South Korea meets its target of 10 gold medals. Choi Young-rae (ROK) got silver.

6 August

Day 10: Yang Hak-seon wins South Korea’s first ever male gymnastics gold with on the vault.

Yang Hak-seon vaults (photo - Yonhap)

7 August

Day 11: Kim Hyeon-woo (ROK) won Greco-Roman wrestling gold in the 66kg class, despite a swollen eye incurred in a previous bout.

Kim Hyeon-woo (photo Xinhua / Yonhap)

9 August

Some South Korean athletes including gold medallist Ki Bo-bae joined British Korean war veterans at the annual ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Ki Bo-bae at St Pauls Cathedral

10 August

On the day that Lee Myung-bak visited Dokdo, South Korea beat Japan 2-0 to win bronze in men’s football, thus winning exemption from military service.

Korea's footballing victory over Japan

Tensions between the teams were already high, having been forced to share the same hotel, but Park Jong-soo entered into the spirit too much and won’t be permitted to collect his bronze:

Park Jong-soo's Dokdo protest (photo Jon Super/Associated Press/NYT)

Hwang Kyung-Seon reclaimed her gold in 67kg taekwondo – South Korea’s 13th of the games.

11 August

In an exhausting and nail-biting finish, after two separate sessions of extra time, the South Korean ladies’ handball team narrowly missed out on bronze to Spain.

One of South Korea’s most popular gymnasts, Son Yeon-jae, the first East Asian athlete to compete in the Olympic finals in rhythmic gymnastics, came in fifth. She was also one of 11 top beauties nominated by Olympic sponsor Proctor & Gamble.

Son Yeon-jae

Well done to all the medal winners from both Koreas

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