Moon Tae-jong, better known as Jarod Stevenson in the States, recently participated in the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship games representing South Korea after having received dual citizenship (South Korea, U.S.) a few months ago. This year, Korea placed third behind China and Jordan with an overall record of 7-2. The small forward is also a member of the Korean Basketball League’s ET Land Elephants.
Although some question his sincerity in joining the team, Moon said that he’s proud to play for Korea: “I will try my best to represent Korea and help us get to the Olympics. It’s an honor to play for my mother’s country, and the place of my birth.” Garnering praise from many, including Hur Jae, coach of the Korean National Team, Moon may play a large role in Korea’s pursuit of a spot in the Olympics.
Check out some highlights from the bronze medal game against Philippines (Moon makes a nice three-pointer around 1:04)!
Regarding her first initial reaction to Pyeonchang’s win, she told TIME‘s Clara Kim that it was “relief”:
The Korean delegation worked so hard for 10 years to host the Olympics. I joined the team at the last minute, but the bid came to mean more when I saw from up close how much the rest of the delegation invested in it. I started thinking, ‘This really has to happen!’ It could not be any other way.
She also shared why she thinks she has been so successful:
I think I’m a born athlete. My coaches have told me my muscles and body structure are perfect for skating. I was born with a good instrument, maybe more so than the talent. I was lucky my coaches noticed early on and helped me develop that. A lot of people don’t know they are born that way.
Kim Yu-Na will soon be leaving Seoul to continue her training in Los Angeles.
The Winter Olympics have officially ended and the big story for Koreans around the world was Kim Yu Na’s gold medal winning performance in ladies’ figure skating. She broke the scoring record by holding nothing back in the free skate and in the end, she won the hearts of millions as she finally let tears flow. She was one of the great stories of the winter Olympics, having arrived in Vancouver with the highest of expectations and the weight of South Korea to win its first medal in figure skating. She performed to perfection and walks away from Vancouver knowing that she executed perfectly and lifted a nation. There have been thousands of articles written about her performance and you all witnessed her breathtaking performance, so we leave you with not just one thought but many thoughts and visuals of Kim Yu Na. Enjoy!
Admit it. You cried while watching Kim Yu Na skate and we all cried when we saw Kim Yu Na let her emotions go soon as she finished. It was the first time we saw the raw emotions of a 19 year old girl and it was just as beautiful as her performance. Queen Yu Na became a king at the Winter Olympics as she shrugged off the pressure and threw down an incredible performance to win the gold medal in ladies’ figure skating. One of the TV commentators said it best when she said that was one of the greatest performances in Olympic history.
Kim Yu Na destroyed the old record with a world record score of 228.56 and won the gold medal. Her final overall score, 228.56, was about 10 points better than what Jeremy Abbott, the two-time U.S. national champion, managed here — and would have put her ninth in the men’s Olympic competition. The men are allowed to do one more jump in their free skates than the ladies — which makes what Kim Yu Na did all the more impressive.
“I still can’t believe the score that I received,” Kim said. “I’m really surprised. It’s almost as close as the men’s score.” “I have accomplished the biggest, most important goal in my life,” she said. “I am going to enjoy this moment for a while.”
Ladies’ figure skating is the crown event and all eyes were on the reigning world champion but pressure and history were against her as the previous three ladies’ figure skating favorites had failed to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. Kim Yu Na is special for shrugging that all off of her and just competing like the athlete she really is. Kim Yu Na was the perfect person to win a gold medal for South Korea. It’s a country that could be considered chauvinistic with a workforce dominated by men, but it was a female teenager on Thursday night that took South Korea on her shoulders and brought pride to a proud nation. Of course Korea took pride in their gold medals in speed skating and other sports, but this gold medal lifted a nation. The last glorious sporting win that captivated South Korea was the World Cup in 2002, and they didn’t even win the world cup. They reached the semi-finals and took pride in their greatest World Cup performance. Since then, South Korea has come up short in sports like the World Baseball Classic. Even this week, there was the disheartening disqualification of the short track speed skating team in the 3,000 meter relay race. They lost the gold medal after having dominated the event for the last four Olympics. But this is special…. really special. A young lady put South Korea on her shoulders and she made them proud. She is now King Kim Yu Na! Bravo Yu Na! Bravo!
It happened again at the Winter Olympics, but this time Apolo Ohno wasn’t involved in the controversy like he was 8 years ago in Salt Lake City. The South Korean woman’s speed skating team thought they had won the 3,000-meter short-track relay, which would have earned South Korea a record fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal in the event. They were so elated that they skated around the rink with the Korean flag waving. However, things became pretty ominous as the judges were watching replays of a critical interaction with a Korean skater and a Chinese skater. After deliberations, the South Korean team was disqualified for apparently impeding the Chinese skater, and all of the teams behind the Koreans were moved up one spot, including the U.S. team which ended up with the surprise bronze medal. Officials later said they were disqualified for clicking skates with China just after an exchange with five laps to go. Kim was in the lead when her left skate blade hit the right blade of China’s Sun Linlin. The Chinese team jumped for joy as they stood next to the Korean coach who was being told by the judges of their ruling. Drats! Another disqualification and controversy at the Olympics for the Korean speed skating team.
“I don’t know what the reason is,” said team member Kim Min-Jung. “I don’t have any clue what the referee was saying. It doesn’t make any sense at all.”
Kim Yu Na kicked ass during the first night of ladies’ figure skating competition at the Winter Olympics. She skated a near perfect performance and outdazzled her competition by setting the all time record for short program scores with a 78.50. This bested her closest competitor and biggest rival, Mao Asado, by nearly 5 points. She came prepared and was a competitor because she had to perform right after a magnificent performance by Mao Asado. It was appropriate that she came out swinging with a performance to the James Bond theme song. She skated with grace, power and beauty. Kim Yu Na is skating her heart out and competing with the grit of Michael Jordan. She has the weight of South Korea on her shoulders and also the knowledge that the previous 3 favorites entering the Winter Olympics failed to win the gold medal in ladies’ figure skating. A lot of guys could learn from her competitiveness and focus. She simply kicked major ice skating ass!
We’re not talking about ladies’ ice skating but ice skating around a circle. Korean’s have been known for winning in short track speed skating, but now they’ve migrated towards the long track which has long been dominated by the Dutch and Nordic countries. Today was a stunning gold medal win by Lee Seung-Hoon in the 10,000 meter race because the very heavy favorite Sven Kramer was disqualified because of an illegal lane change. He had the best time but he was disqualified because of a gaffe by his coach, who instructed him to change lanes wrongly. Sven was disqualified for the illegal lane change and he was so upset that he thew down his glasses and couldn’t talk to his coach.
Lee Seung-Hoon, who took silver behind Kramer in the men’s 5,000 meters, slashed more than 22 seconds off his personal best to win in 12 minutes 58.55 seconds. Originally, he finished more than four seconds behind Kramer. Sven was clearly the best even though he made that mistake, but it’s rather unfortunate that Sven lost because of a brain fart by his coach. It may not be the best way to win, but Lee Seung-Hoon isn’t complaining. However, it’s been a glorious Winter Olympics for the South Korean speed skating team because they’ve won more medals at these games than previously. Why do Koreans excel in individual sports like archery and speed skating? Wait, there are some team sports that Koreans excel in and that’s Ladies’ handball. Now don’t get me started.
You just never know in short track speed skating until everyone’s crossed the finish line or if they even cross the finish line. In one of the most thrilling finishes in my narrow understanding of short track speed skating, the finals of the 1500M short track race was set up for a South Korean sweep as three skaters from South Korea were bunched together making the final turn towards the finish line. Meters behind them was Apolo Ohno and J.R. Celski as there was a significant gap between the Korean bunch and the Americans. However, a mishap by one of the Korean skaters undercut his countryman and both slipped coming out of the last turn. Was it simply bad luck or bad skating tactics? I certainly can’t say because I never lace the skates up but the devastatingly surprise ending for the two Korean kids opened a door for Apolo Ohno and J.R. Celski to cruise into 2nd and 3rd place. Lee Jung Su of South Korea did end up winning the gold medal but I’m sure the South Korean contingency had quite a volatile evening in their recap of what happened. Adding salt to the wound is the fact that Apolo Ohno ended up winning the silver medal and we all know that he has an adversarial history with South Korea in short track speed skating. It’s never been truer in in any sport than in short track speed skating that it’s “never over till it’s over.” How about them Olympics!
Not sure if this is a bummer because people have very mixed feelings about the Korea’s marching together at the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games. On one hand, it’s very symbolic and hopeful that the Korea’s could someday be united. However, do you want to deal with one of the worst dictators in the world and play nice? Quite the dilemma.
Previous to this year, Korean athletes had marched together at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, extending a tradition that started at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney and continued at the 2004 Athens Olympics. However, the two teams did not march together in Beijing in 2008.
South Korea has 46 athletes entered for the Vancouver Games. North Korea has two: one each in figure skating and speed skating.