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(LEAD) Who's who of South Korean sports, entertainment to bear torch for PyeongChang 2018

2017/11/01 16:50

(ATTN: CHANGES photos; UPDATES throughout with start of relay)

By Yoo Jee-ho

INCHEON, Nov. 1 (Yonhap) -- Some of the most visible athletes and celebrities from host nation South Korea will bear the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The Olympic flame was lit last week in Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics, and arrived in the South Korea on Wednesday. The 2,018-kilometer relay that will cover the nation then commenced.

Figure skating prospect You Young had the honor of being the first torchbearer at home. She's best known for becoming the youngest national singles champion at 11 in January 2016, breaking the record previously held by Olympic gold medalist Kim Yu-na.

You, still just 13, won't be old enough to compete at PyeongChang 2018, but she is among a group of teenage skaters who could qualify for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

"I feel so good and am so honored to be the first one," You said. "I am just so happy right now. I'll remember this day forever."

  

South Korean figure skater You Young (C) poses with the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Incheon Bridge in Incheon on Nov. 1, 2017. (Yonhap) South Korean figure skater You Young (C) poses with the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Incheon Bridge in Incheon on Nov. 1, 2017. (Yonhap)

More athletic stars from past and present will be joining her until the relay concludes on Feb. 9 next year, the day of the opening ceremony.

Speed skater Lee Sang-hwa, two-time reigning Olympic champion in the women's 500m, will be in the relay Wednesday. No South Korean athlete has won three consecutive gold medals in Winter Olympics.

Football legend Cha Bum-kun and his son Cha Du-ri, currently an assistant coach on the national team, will both carry the torch for PyeongChang. The senior Cha is still considered one of the greatest Asians who competed in Europe, having starred in the Bundesliga in the 1980s. His son played for South Korea at two FIFA World Cups.

South Korean TV personality Yoo Jae-suk (C) bears the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Incheon Bridge in Incheon on Nov. 1, 2017. (Yonhap) South Korean TV personality Yoo Jae-suk (C) bears the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Incheon Bridge in Incheon on Nov. 1, 2017. (Yonhap)

Lee Bong-ju, the 1996 Olympic marathon silver medalist, and Park Sang-young, the 2016 Olympic fencing champion, have also been announced as torchbearers.

Former baseball All-Star Lee Man-soo and World Cup football hero Lee Young-pyo are on the list, too.

Among celebrities, singer-actress Suzy and popular comedian Yoo Jae-suk, along with his fellow stars of the variety show "Infinite Challenge," will also bear the torch.

South Korean singer-actress Suzy prepares to carry the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Incheon Bridge in Incheon on Nov. 1, 2017. (Yonhap) South Korean singer-actress Suzy prepares to carry the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Incheon Bridge in Incheon on Nov. 1, 2017. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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