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Olympic short track medalists say still work to be done this season

2014/03/03 18:00

SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- They may have come home with medals from the recently concluded Winter Olympics, but South Korea's short track speed skaters said Monday their season is far from over.

Park Seung-hi, a double gold medalist from the Sochi Winter Games last month, was among five short trackers to receive financial rewards for their performances from the Korea Skating Union (KSU). Park was on the gold medal-winning team with four others in the women's 3,000m relay, and added another gold medal in the 1,000m and the bronze medal in the 500m.

Shim Suk-hee won three medals in her first Olympics, anchoring the relay team to the gold and adding the silver and the bronze in the 1,500m and the 1,000m.

In accepting the bonus, they were joined by other South Korean medalists from Sochi, all from skating events.

Speed skater Lee Sang-hwa won her second straight Olympic gold in the 500m, setting two Olympic records in the process. Kim Yu-na took the silver medal in the ladies' singles figure skating, while speed skater Lee Seung-hoon grabbed the silver with two others in the men's team pursuit event.

The speed skaters wrapped up their 2013-2014 season, and Kim has retired from figure skating. There will be no rest for the weary short trackers, however, as the 2014 world championships loom in Montreal, Canada, from March 14 to 16.

Shim, 17, said the routines for the team haven't changed much.

"We follow the same patterns for our training," she said. "So we aren't practicing any less now than we did before the Olympics."

   Cho Ha-ri, the senior member of the women's team at 27, admitted she and her teammates were all fatigued but they hope to end their season on a positive note.

From left on the front row: figure skater Kim Yu-na; Korea Skating Union President Kim Jae-youl; short tracker Park Seung-hi; and speed skater Lee Sang-hwa pose for photos on March, 3, 2014, after the athletes received finanal prizes for winning medals at the Sochi Winter Olympics. (Yonhap)

From left on the front row: figure skater Kim Yu-na; Korea Skating Union President Kim Jae-youl; short tracker Park Seung-hi; and speed skater Lee Sang-hwa pose for photos on March, 3, 2014, after the athletes received finanal prizes for winning medals at the Sochi Winter Olympics. (Yonhap)

At last year's world championships, Park finished second in the overall classification, followed by Shim. Wang Meng of China was the overall champion but she is still nursing a broken right foot that kept her out of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Sounding more relaxed than the short trackers, Kim Yu-na and Lee Sang-hwa said they're looking forward to some downtime.

Kim, who finished second behind Adelina Sotnikova of Russia in a highly controversial decision, said she is simply glad to have put it all behind her.

"Unlike the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, I was relaxed (in Sochi)," she said. "With no pressure of competition, I'd like to have some time to rest comfortably."

   Lee hasn't announced any retirement plans, but she also hasn't committed to the next Winter Olympics in South Korea's PyeongChang in 2018. She said she doesn't have specific plans for the immediate future, adding, "I just want to relax and get some sleep."

   jeeho@yna.co.kr

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