Updated Feb.13,2006 13:38 KST

Korea Picks up First Gold in Torino
Korea's Hyun-Soo Ahn, foreground, celebrates his gold-medal performance in the men's 1500-meter short track speedskating event at the Palavela rink at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games, in Turin, Italy on Sunday.
The first gold medal for Korea came from the men's short-track speed skating with Ahn Hyun-soo and Lee Ho-suk each coming in first and second place in the 1,500 meter race.

Korea's first gold was won by 20-year-old Ahn Hyun-soo who is now at the pinnacle of his game. Ahn is the world's record holder in the 1,500 meters and the top ranked in the World Cup Short-track Speedskating Championship. He had also won multiple medals in the Asian games but no Olympic gold. Another prized Korean colleague, Lee Ho-suk took the silver and Li JiaJun of China won the bronze medal who both trailed behind only by hundredths of a second.

The match at the Palavela ice rink in Torino drew much attention from the beginning as the 1,500-meter race was largely considered a rivalry reignited between Korean skaters and America's short track speedskater Apolo Ohno. In 2002, it was in this category in Salt Lake City that Ohno who actually finished second behind Korea's Kim Dong-sung was awarded the gold when Kim was disqualified for illegally blocking Ohno.

Many Koreans still believe that Ohno exaggerated a gesture to fend off what he claims was a blocking but Ohno says the spin on the rivalry is misguided. Since then Kim has retired and Ohno in Torino, after stumbling in the preliminaries, finished in ninth place.

There is a long way to go and many more medals up for grabs at the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics. But Ahn Hyun-soo's first gold is seen to set the tone for Korea's best athletes in the global winter games.

Arirang News