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Olympic gold medalist Lim Hyo-jun becomes a celebrity at home

Olympic gold medalist Lim Hyo-jun becomes a celebrity at home

Posted March. 30, 2018 08:04,   

Updated March. 30, 2018 08:04

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When Lim Hyo-jun appeared after attending a morning lecture at his university campus (Korea National Sport University), he looked refreshed and excited. “When I was training for the Olympics, school was like a training center for me,” Lim said. “I was more like an athlete than a student, but things have changed. I was surprised when someone asked me for my autograph at the school canteen.” He won Korea’s first gold medal (men’s 1,500-meter race in short track speed skating) at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

He also shared his ambitions to train for mass start speed skating. “I made up my mind when I saw Dutch skater Jorien ter Mors (who won gold medal for women’s 1,000 meter speed skating and bronze for 3,000 metre relay),” Lim said. “Mass start is in many ways similar to short track. Since the competition is held after the short track games, I think it’s worth a shot.” When asked whether his challenge would indicate a match with Lee Seung-hoon, the gold medalist for mass start this year, Lim laughed and said he already joked about the matter with Lee. “‘Do I get to win gold if I defeat you?’ I asked Lee, who replied ‘Please do,’” said the 22-year-old medalist.

Lim says he wishes to compete in two more Olympics and hopes to acquire a car-racing license after retiring. He is planning to further improve his English skills to achieve his long-term goal of becoming an IOC member. He is going to attend the ceremonial first pitch for the Samsung Lions baseball team in a game held in his hometown Daegu on Friday. It will be his first official moment of celebration after returning from the Olympics. It seems as if Lim’s spring days have just begun.


Hong-Gu Kang windup@donga.com