South Korea's bobsleigh and skeleton team head coach Lee Yong said Sunday making his athletes feel comfortable led to a historic silver medal in the four-man bobsleigh competition at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
The team of Won Yun-jong, Seo Young-woo, Jun Jung-lin and Kim Dong-hyun shared silver with a German team piloted by Nico Walther when they tied for second at 3 minutes 16.38 seconds after four runs at Olympic Sliding Centre in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province.
South Korea previously failed to collect a medal from the two-man bobsleigh duo of Won and Seo, as they ended up sixth. But with silver in the four-man event, South Korea is now the first Asian nation to win an Olympic medal in bobsleigh.
"For the two-man, everybody was quiet and careful ahead of the competition," Lee told reporters. "But for the four-man, we opened our door to everyone and they were in a comfortable mood, talking and joking around. That apparently got rid of nerves."
That open-minded, easy-going attitude wasn't just for the athletes.
"It was really hard for me when people talked about what went wrong and well after the two-man event," he said. "For the four-man, I just put everything down and made myself comfortable."
The South Koreans didn't have fast starts in the four-man event. Their start time was 11th best in the first two runs and only 13th best in the last two heats. But Lee thanked pilot Won for his exceptional driving technique.
"We clocked 4.89 or 4.90 seconds in practices, but when I first looked at our start from the first run, I was worried that something went wrong," he said. "But it was our speed that really led us to the medal. I'm sure that our team's maximum speed on the track is probably first or second."
Won thanked his athletes for their devotion and attitude in overcoming adversity.
"After the two-man event, Won burst into tears in his room, and I didn't stop him, because I wanted to him to start again with a fresh mind," he said. "As for Kim and Jun, I want to thank them because they accepted our proposal of not competing in the two-man competition and focusing only on the four-man bobsleigh." (Yonhap)