[PyeongChang 2018] Skeleton slider begins quest for gold, men's hockey team debuts

By Yonhap
  • Published : Feb 14, 2018 - 10:03
  • Updated : Feb 14, 2018 - 10:03

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- South Korean skeleton slider Yun Sung-bin will begin his quest for South Korea's first Olympic medal on tracks Thursday.

Yun will take part in the first two runs of the men's skeleton at Olympic Sliding Centre in PyeongChang, starting at 10 a.m.

The medalists will be determined by their total times after four races. The final two runs are scheduled for Friday.

Yun enters the PyeongChang Winter Olympics as the heavy favorite. The 23-year-old is the world No. 1 this season, on the strength of four World Cup victories, along with two silver medals, in six starts.

South Korean skeleton slider Yun Sung-bin prepares for an official training run at Olympic Sliding Centre in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Feb. 13, 2018. (Yonhap)

Martins Dukurs, an eight-time World Cup overall champion with five world championships to boot, has been playing second fiddle to Yun all season, with two gold and two silver medals at the World Cup.

With the 2014 Olympic champion Alexander Tretyakov of Russia banned for life over doping, this could be a two-horse race between Yun and Dukurs.

On the ice at Gangneung Hockey Centre, South Korea will make its Olympic debut in men's hockey against the Czech Republic in Group A.

Jim Paek (C), head coach of the South Korean men`s national hockey team, instructs his players during practice at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on Feb. 11, 2018. (Yonhap)

At world No. 21, South Korea is the lowest-ranked nation in the men's tournament of 12. The Czechs are No. 6, and the two other Group A opponents are No. 1 Canada and No. 7 Switzerland.

Under the tutelage of former National Hockey League defenseman Jim Paek, South Korea has been making some impressive progress of late. In April last year, South Korea earned a promotion to the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship, the highest level of IIHF tournaments, for the first time. (Yonhap)