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Olympic Games News

Korea’s ‘garlic girls’ are hoping for sweet smell of success

Date : 24 Feb 2018

Gangneung, Korea, February 24, 2018: The Korean women's curling team is aiming for a first ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics on Sunday after beating Japan 8-7 in a Friday night semi-final thriller, reports Yonhap News. In the gold medal decider at Gangneung Curling Centre on Sunday morning, Korea will take on Sweden, who beat Great Britain 10-5 in the other semi-final. Japan will play Britain for the bronze medal on Saturday night.

Led by skip, or captain, Kim Eun-jung, the curling team is now guaranteed at least a silver medal. Gold or silver, it will be the first curling medal for Korea in Winter Olympics history. The Korean team – all with the family name Kim – has been a major sensation thanks to their remarkable run in the round-robin preliminaries, rising from underdog to top dog.

Korea finished first in the 10-team round-robin session with an 8-1 win-loss record, their only defeat coming to Japan. Their players’ hometown, Uiseong, has become the mecca for curling in Korea, with the quartet nicknamed the "garlic girls" as their hometown is famous for growing quality garlic.

Two of the girls are sisters and all are close friends, having trained together for years and built outstanding teamwork and chemistry that charmed the whole nation. In the run to the final, bespectacled skip Kim Eun-jung has become a cult hero, and her ability to remain poker-faced over the course of a match has inspired memes. The team's lead, Kim Yeong-mi, is now a household name because Kim Eun-jung repeatedly yells her given name to encourage her to sweep harder.

When the captain shouts "Yeong-mi" on the ice sheet, the crowd cheers and chants her name in unison. Captain Kim commented: "We lost to Japan in the round-robin play. That was our only defeat. After the match I was so angry and sorry for the audience who gave us huge support. We were very motivated to win against Japan in the semi-finals. We focused more on every shot." The other members of the team are Kim Kyeong-ae, Kim Seon-yeong and Kim Yeong-mi.

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