The Korea Herald


Son Heung-min is S. Koreans' favorite sports star: survey

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : June 13, 2024 - 12:37

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Son Heung-min (Yonhap) Son Heung-min (Yonhap)

The athlete most beloved by South Koreans is men's national soccer team captain Son Heung-min, a recent poll by Gallup Korea showed, while the late former President Roh Moo-hyun topped the list of favorite political leaders.

The survey, conducted with 1,777 people aged 13 and above in March and April, released the first part of results on South Koreans' favorite things across 50 categories. The first leg of the survey included favorite president, entrepreneur, novelist and sports star, as well as the person they most admire.

Son, the 2022 Golden Boot winner who plays for the Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League, got 49 percent of the votes in the survey for a commanding lead over his compatriots. Next on the list was fellow soccer star Lee Kang-in of Paris Saint-Germain with 7 percent of the votes.

Hanwha Eagles pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin came next with 6 percent, followed closely by figure skating legend and Olympic gold medalist Kim Yu-na, who got 5 percent of the votes.

Roh Moo-hyun remained one of the most popular South Korean presidents of all time by getting 31 percent of the votes to lead all former and incumbent presidents. He was followed by Park Chung-hee (24 percent) and Kim Dae-jung (15 percent).

The trio of Roh, Park and Kim have taken the top three spots in every favorite president survey by Gallup Korea since 2014. Current President Yoon Suk Yeol sat at the No. 5 spot with 2.9 percent of the votes, while his predecessor Moon Jae-in finished a spot above him at 9 percent.

In the category of most admired person, Adm. Yi Sun-shin of the Joseon era (1392-1910) took 14 percent of the votes for the top spot, which he has maintained since the 2014 survey. He was followed by Joseon's King Sejong at 10 percent.

Park Chung-hee and Roh Moo-hyun flipped spots from the aforementioned favorite president survey in this category, with Park getting 7 percent and Roh getting 4.5 percent of the votes.

The list of favorite entrepreneurs was also a mix of old and new. Chung Ju-yung, the late founder of Hyundai Group, took 22 percent of the vote to just edge out 21 percent for Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the wealthiest South Korean alive according to the 2024 Forbes report.

Next on the list were Lee's father and former Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee (15 percent) and his father Lee Byung-chul (6 percent), who founded Samsung Group.

Votes in the favorite novelist category were fairly evenly distributed, with the late Pak Kyongni taking the top spot at just 6 percent. She was followed by the late Lee Oi-soo (4.9 percent), Jo Jeong-rae (3.8 percent) and Gong Ji-young (3.7 percent).

Han Kang, the first Korean to win the Man Booker International Prize, scored 3 percent of the votes to rank at No. 8.