© Yonhap NewsOlympic Games News
Date : 01 Feb 2018
Gangneung, Korea, February 1, 2018: A figure skating pairs duo headlined the list of DPRK athletes that arrived in Gangneung on Thursday to start preparing for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, reports Yonhap News. Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik, who won the Pairs bronze medal at the OCA’s 8th Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, in February 2017, were among 10 athletes who landed at Yangyang International Airport via a South Korean chartered plane.
They will check in to Gangneung Olympic Village, as Gangneung - 50km from PyeongChang - is hosting the ice sports during PyeongChang 2018. The Ryom-Kim tandem was joined by three alpine skiers, three cross-country skiers and two short track speed skaters. A dozen women's ice hockey players arrived here last Thursday to begin training with 23 South Koreans on their unified team.
Ryom and Kim are by far the most accomplished North Korean athletes here. Last weekend, they captured the bronze medal at the International Skating Union (ISU) Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei with a personal-best score of 184.98 points. This was North Korea's first medal at an ISU-sanctioned event.
Ryom and Kim had actually qualified for PyeongChang on merit last September, but they didn't confirm their participation by an October 30 deadline. After the two Koreas agreed on the North's participation and the IOC decided to invite North Korean athletes on special exemptions, Ryom and Kim were considered a logical choice.
They have also developed friendships with the South Korean pairs team of Kim Kyu-eun and Alex Kam Kang-chan, who finished fifth at the Sapporo AWG last February. They met in Montreal last year during their summer training, and the South Koreans' coach, Bruno Marcotte, also worked with the North Koreans. Ryom will celebrate her 19th birthday on Friday.
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