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Lee Sang-ho wins the silver medal on Saturday. © Yonhap News

Olympic Games News

Korea makes breakthrough with snowboard silver

Date : 24 Feb 2018

PyeongChang, Korea, February 24, 2018: Korea made a Winter Olympics breakthrough on Saturday when Lee Sang-ho won the country’s first medal in snowboard at Phoenix Snow Park. On the penultimate day of PyeongChang 2018, Lee became the first Korean to win a medal on snow when he finished second in the final of the snowboard men’s parallel giant slalom to the 31-year-old Swiss veteran Nevin Galmarini by 0.43 seconds.

“This medal is very significant because it is the first in snowboard, so I am very proud,” said Lee, a 22-year-old student at Korea National Sport University in Seoul. “Many people have come here to see me and at first I felt a bit afraid because I had to meet their expectations. But once I started to compete, everything was very enjoyable.” 

Lee finished third in qualifying to reach the knockout stage of the top 16 snowboarders. He first edged out Dmitry Sarsembaev, an Olympic Athlete from Russia, in the round of 16 by 0.54 seconds and then knocked out Benjamin Karl of Austria in the quarter-finals by 0.94 seconds. Lee advanced to the final by beating Zan Kosir of Slovenia in the semi-finals by 0.01 second.

Lee is known as “Cabbage Boy” because his father turned a cabbage patch into a snowboard slope on which he could practice. He took up the sport in his first year of primary school in Jeongseon County and his talent on the slopes during a family holiday was noticed by a snowboard coach staying in the same ski resort.

Lee made his World Cup debut in Italy in 2013 and became the first Korean snowboarder to finish on the World Cup podium at an event in Turkey in season 2016-17. He has now taken an even bigger step forward with Korea’s first Olympic medal in the sport and also on snow.

*Snowboard is the fifth sport in which Korea has won a Winter Olympic medal, following short track, speed skating, figure skating and skeleton. They will also win a medal in curling on Sunday, either gold or silver, in the women’s final against Sweden.

*Lee won Korea’s 13th medal of PyeongChang 2018 – four gold, five silver and four bronze – which is one shy of the NOC’s best medal haul of 14 at Vancouver 2010.

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