Top 5 Sportsmen in South Korea

Sports in Korea is fairly large, with a huge array of fans and communities supporting their local athletes. Training for international competitions begin at a very young age and recruitment happens around the mid-teens! Scholarships and even university admissions are sometimes given out solely based on these talents or skill in sports.

Given that the majority of the population are patriotic and prideful of their nation, South Koreans will cheer on their own countrymen as they attain great heights in their sports of choice in the international playing field.

Enough of that, here’s our personal list of what we consider the Top 5 Sportsmen in Korea!

Son Tae-Jin (Taekwondo)

A featherweight (under 67/68kg) Taekwondo practitioner, Tae-Jin has won a Gold Medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Though a long and hard journey towards the Olympics, he triumphed over the harsh competition, defeating Kim Ju-Young (2006 Asian Games Winner) and Song Myeong-Seob (2004 Olympic Bronze Medalist). Sadly, he was unable to qualify for the 2010 Korean national team, due to a loss in the 2009 President’s Cup.

Some Top Achievements:

  • Beijing 2008 Olympics Men Featherweight (under 68kg) – Gold
  • Beijing 2010 World Combat Games Men Featherweight – Gold

Lee Dae-Hoon (Taekwondo)

Lee Dae Hoon 1 A flyweight (under 58kg) Taekwondo martial artist, Dae-Hoon has garnered several major victories for South Korea. He has helped solidified the nation’s stance as the founder and top country for Taekwondo.

Lee Dae Hoon 2

Some Top Achievements:

  • London 2012 Olympics Men Flyweight (under 58kg) – Silver
  • 2013 Puebla World Taekwondo Championships Men Bantamweight (under 63kg) – Gold
  • 2014 Incheon Asian Games Men Bantamweight – Gold
  • 2012 Ho Chi Minh Asian Taekwondo Championships Flyweight – Gold
  • 2014 Tashkent Asian Taekwondo Championships Bantamweight – Gold

Jin Jong-Oh (Shooting)

A three time Olympic champion, Jong-Oh is amazing when it comes to his accuracy and proficiency in firearms. He was the first man in history to win 2 Olympic Gold Medals in 50 metres pistol back-to-back (2008 Beijing and 2012 London). Jong-Oh also holds the world record in 50 metres Pistol, scoring 583 points out of 600, breaking the 34 year old benchmark set during the 1980 Summer Olympics.

jin jong oh 2Some Top Achievements:

  • World Record Holder for 50m Pistol (583 points out of 600)
  • Beijing 2008 Olympics Men’s 50m Pistol – Gold
  • London 2012 Olympics Men’s 50m Pistol – Gold
  • Granada ISSF World Championship Men’s 50m and 10m Pistol – Gold
  • Incheon 2014 Asian Games 10m Air Pistol Team – Gold
  • Doha 2012 Asian Shooting Championships 50m Pistol – Gold
  • Wuxi 2009 ISSF World Cup 50m Pistol – Gold

Kim Ki Hoon (Speed Skating)

The retired Speed Skating Champion was South Korea’s first Gold Medalist for the Winter Olympics. In his prime he won 2 Gold Medals at the Albertville 1992 Olympics. In the same year, he also won all 5 Gold Medals at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships. The second person and first male in the world to accomplish such a feat.

Though his career was short lived, he coached South Korean national team for the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics.

Some Top Achievements:

  • Winning all 5 individual gold medals at the World Championships (Overall, 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m)
  • Albertville 1992 Olympics 5000m Relay – Gold
  • Albertville 1992 Olympics 1000m – Gold
  • Lillehammer 1994 Olympics 1000m – Gold

Park Ji-Sung

Park Ji-Sung is one of the most decorated Asian Footballers to date. He is the first Asian to win the UEFA Champions League Trophy and the FIFA Club World Cup. He also captained the South Korean National Team from 2008 to 2011.

Park retired from football in 2014 due to a knee injury. Later that year, he was appointed as an ambassador for Manchester United.Some Top Achievements:

  • South Korean National Team – 4th Place in the 2002 FIFA World Cup
  • Manchester United – Won 2008 FIFA World Cup
  • Manchester United – Won Premier League 4 times
  • Manchester United – Won 2007-08 UEFA Champions League

Image Sources: XinHua Net, World Taekwondo Federation, Yonhap News, ABC News, AJU Business Daily, reddit, Wikipedia, Xports News, SBS.