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[PyeongChang 2018] S. Korean bobsleigh duo wash off sad memory with silver in 4-man competition

When Won Yun-jong and Seo Young-woo finished the two-man bobsleigh competition at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in sixth place on Monday, they weren't happy.

The duo, world No. 1 in the 2015-16 season, were considered one of the medal hopefuls for South Korea with their intensive training at Olympic Sliding Centre in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province. But no podium finish -- mainly due to a shocking 11th finish from their first run -- gave them regret and disappointment.

The two didn't cry in front of reporters in the mixed zone, but when they saw their parents they burst into tears.

But on Sunday, the very last day of the PyeongChang Olympics, Won and Seo were able to wash off their sad memory with a silver in the four-man bobsleigh competition with teammates Kim Dong-hyun and Jun Jung-lin.

Won Yun-jong (far left) and Seo Young-woo (second from left) (Yonhap)
Won Yun-jong (far left) and Seo Young-woo (second from left) (Yonhap)

They've now achieved their dream by becoming the first Asian bobsledders to stand on the Olympic podium.

Won and Seo are both alumni of Sungkyul University in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province, and were both looking to become physical education teachers. It was Won who first entered the bobsleigh world in 2010 by taking part in the national team trial without a plan. Seo followed him next and the two later competed at Sochi 2014, taking 18th place.

At the Sochi Winter Olympics, Won and Seo also competed in the four-man bobsleigh event along with Jun and Suk Young-jin, and ended up 20th.

But for Won and Seo, their main forte still was the two-man bobsleigh competition.

Two years ago, the two were ranked No. 1 in the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) rankings after topping the World Cup circuit.

Last season, the tandem failed to record a victory and fell outside the top 10 at two World Cup stops, though they managed to take third place in the IBSF season rankings. Adjusting to a new sled, apparent discord within the coaching staff and injury issues were cited as reasons for their inconsistent performance last season. 

For this season, the South Korean duo competed in only three of the eight IBSF World Cups. They finished 10th and 13th, respectively, for the first two World Cups in the U.S., but managed to do better at the next World Cup in Canada with a No. 6 finish.

Beginning in December, the duo skipped the remaining World Cups to focus on training at Olympic Sliding Centre. And apparently during that period, the duo were also working with Kim and Jun for the four-man bobsleigh competition.

Kim, the most experienced bobsledder among the four, let Won take the wheel and served as a brakeman, which he previously did at Vancouver 2010. Jun worked with Seo as a pushman.

And with two more compatriots on hand, Won and Seo were able to see their roller coaster ride come to a happy end. (Yonhap)