Olympic Aftermath: What Lies Ahead?
When the curtain fell on the XXIX Beijing Olympics, South Korean athletes, with 13 gold, 10 silver, and 8 bronze medals, had proven once again that, ranking seventh in the overall medal table, their country was among the world’s top sporting nations. Korean Olympic glory began over seven decades ago, with a sublime performance shadowed by national tragedy. Two 24 year old Korean athletes, Sohn Kee-chung and Nam Sungyong, won the gold and bronze medal, respectively, in the men’s marathon, but the Japanese flag was raised, as Korea was under Japanese occupation at the time. South Korea began competing in the Olympics soon after the establishment of the Republic, in London, in 1948, but it was not until the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics that South Korea had its breakthrough, ranking tenth in the medal count. It has remained in the spotlight since then, ranking
fourth in Seoul, seventh in Barcelona, tenth in Atlanta, twelfth in Sydney, and ninth in Athens.