South Korea’s Yun Sung-Bin became the first athlete outside Europe or North America to clinch the men’s skeleton gold, an Olympic sliding medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
23-year old Yun Sung-Bin, known as ‘Iron Man” among the fans, was the most consistent performer and delivered the fastest run down the ice and over the finish line at over 125 kph.
He won the second gold in the games for the country and finished 1.63 seconds ahead of Nikita Tregubov from Russia. Five-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist Martins Dukurs of Latvia made mistakes in his final run.
Dom Parsons won bronze and became the first British male to take home the skeleton medal since 1948. British women, however, have been constant in the game since the sport was re-introduced to the Winter Olympics in 2002.
“I just want to turn my phone off and go to sleep,” Yun said after his historic win.
“Queen” Kim won the South Korea’s first figure skating gold medal in 2010 at the Vancouver Olympics, triggering the interest of locals in winter sports. Skeleton racing, however, is one of the most extreme sports.
Athletes plunge head-first and face-down at speeds of more than 100 km per hour down a twisted ice track with their chins hovering a few inches from the surface.
Although Yun spent thousands of hours training on the Pyeongchang track and was aware of its every twist and bump – he also had to put on weight to gain more speed. He had to gain upto 16 Kg to even qualify and was eating eight meals a day.
He said, “I made a lot of effort to make it this far. I hope this could be the beginning of skeleton in Korea, not the end.”
Yun bowed before the crowd after his victory.