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Magnus Kim win cross-country skiing gold for South Korea

20 Feb 2017
Sapporo, Japan, February 20, 2017: Magnus Kim added another first to his growing list of accomplishments when he won gold in the 1.4 kilometre cross-country skiing sprint event at the 8th Asian Winter Games on Monday. The 18-year-old became the first South Korean man to win gold in the sport just a year after he won two golds for his nation at the Youth Winter Olympics.

And now the teenager has his sights firmly set on next year’s Winter Olympics, being held in Pyeongchang, where he is regarded as his country’s best prospect for a medal in sport that has long been dominated by Europeans. “This was awesome. I’m so happy and most of all I’m very relieved because my season, until now, has actually been quite bad, or difficult, so it’s such a relief to take a gold medal here,” he said.

“This just gives me an enormous amount of confidence not just for next year but also for the rest of the Asian Winter Games because now that I have a gold I can relax a bit.” Despite going into the four-man final as the favourite after winning his three previous rounds, Kim did not have his own way in the medal race, battling China’s Sun Qinghai right to the line.

Sun was ahead of Kim early but the South Korean passed him on the uphill climb to get the advantage going into the downhill run to the finish line, and just beat him to the finish by less than a second. “I’m not that good in diagonal technique so the Chinese made an early gap but I went on double pulling as hard as I could and I managed to catch him and pass him at the top.

“That was my tactic because you have to be first at the top to be first at the finish so in my head that was the goal line.” Sun took the silver email while the bronze went to Nobuhito Kashiwabara from the host-nation Japan. For Kim, who lives and trains in Norway and is dual citizen of both countries, the win came with an added bonus that he said was more important to his athletic career as winning the gold.

“In Korea, if you take a gold medal at the Asian Games you can skip the military service, which is two years, and for me that is quite important for my skiing career. So I’m happy about that,” he said.
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