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Korean athletes gear up for 2018 Winter Olympics Updated: 2017-11-02 11:52:17 KST



"We start the day at 6 with a one-hour warm-up. After lunch, the 3-hour training begins at 2:30.
After that, dinner, and then some alone practice time before bed."

It's about as chilly as it gets for an autumn day, but for these athletes who kick start the day by running around the tracks, the cold is nothing but a breath of fresh air.
Kim Nam-jin, Kim Kyung-eun, and Yoon Gi-chan are training to compete at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,for Freestyle Skiing - Aerials.

Yup, that one. These daredevils ski off some four-meter jumps that propel them up in the air.
Given the slope, they can be up to 20 meters from the ground when they perform multiple body flips before landing.
You might think these people are out of their minds, but Team Korea's hopeful three seem to live for that thrill.


"I had surgery for my arm fracture once. When I woke up from it, apparently the first thing I said was 'Can I still Ski?'"


"Yes, you could fall on face or your back and it would take a while to recover, but I'm still here aren't I? It's not for everyone, but I love mastering certain unique techniques, or making just the right landing."

These athletes have backgrounds in gymnastics and another freestyle category - Mogul.
Although they started aerials relatively late, they have trained with discipline to make up for those lost years.


"People notice those who improve vastly in a short period of time. I want to pave the way for the future Korean aerialists."

And their determination is vivid - as they endure all-day long practices, session after session.

(Standup)
The coach says ski aerialists have a similar training routine as gymnasts. So after some warm-ups and strength exercises they head straight for the trampoline. And we're about to see how they prep themselves for those crazy flips and twists in the air.

Over and over, they go through the routines to perfect them, while learning to work with gravity.


"I wasn't able to get close to the Olympics when I was a gymnast, but as aerialist, I secured my ticket to the big games. I'm elated. To compete at the Olympics, to represent Korea, It's a dream for any athlete."

Freestyle skiing isn't the only sport at the games creating a buzz.
Korea's men's Ice Hockey team was promoted to the World Championship by claiming second place at the International Ice Hockey Federation Division 1 back in April.
It was a first for the nation to have earned promotion to the top tier. And helping Team Korea to victory are brothers Kim Ki-seong and Kim Sang-wook.


"I love the chemistry I have with my brother. Without exchanging signs, I just know he's there and I can make a pass."

With warm-up matches to prepare for Pyeongchang awaiting them later this month,
there's no time to waste.


"After breakfast we come straight here to do some weights and movement training. And then some time on the ice for two hours starting at noon."

For that, they cover themselves with pads, guards and protectors and strategize with teammates like a warrior gearing up for battle.

(Standup)
"You can't take your eyes off the game for a second. It's fast, packed with action, it's also one of the most violent team sports around, which means even the practice sessions could involve a lot of bruises."

But that's why it's one of the crowd's favorite sports,
and these players are just getting started.


"We're giving it all at the practice every day. I hope through the Pyeongchang games, more Koreans will also get to see the beauty of this sport."
"It won't be easy competing at the Olympics, but if we do well in our first game, I think we will be able to get what we've worked for."

Lee Unshin Arirang News.
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