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From prodigy to Olympic champion: 17-year-old archer Kim Je-deok's Tokyo 2020 story Updated: 2021-08-14 08:56:55 KST

Once a prodigy and now an Olympic champion at just seventeen years old.
South Korean archer Kim Je-deok etched his name into Olympic history when he claimed two gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games captivating fans with his signature cheer along the way.

"I yelled "Fighting " to overcome the pressure and tension, to get rid of the nervousness. Before I began my first event, I asked my coach if it would be okay to shout "Fighting " out loud and he was fine with it, even telling me to do it with more confidence. So I think I yelled it even louder and more often at Tokyo 2020."

The title holder of both the men's team and mixed team event credits Korea's dominance in the sport to the way archers are selected to represent their country.

"I'd say, first and foremost, the rigorous and extremely competitive trial process to join the national team Everything is perfectly fair and square, leaving no doubt over the selection process and I think that enables archers to focus on improving their skills without having to worry about anything else The secret to Korean archery lies in the ultimate meritocracy behind the athlete selection process."

Also pivotal to Team Korea's success at this Olympics was unconditional support from Hyundai Motor Group, who rewarded Kim with a brand new car in addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money.

"The good news actually made me contemplate things a bit as I don't even have a national ID card, let alone a driver's license "

Had he not won a medal at Tokyo 2020, Kim was thinking of completing mandatory military service after graduating from high school.
But now that that's been taken care of thanks to his medals, Kim says he'll be on the hunt for titles at other international competitions.

"My dream has always been to win the men's team event in the Olympics, in the World Archery Championships and the Asian Games. I only have the Olympic title right now so, I still have the other two to claim."

He says the sense of achievement he feels when he shoots a perfect ten is what keeps him going.
Kim lives and breathes archery and for him, Olympic gold is not an end goal but rather extra motivation to strive for more.

"To everyone out there, thank you so much for watching me perform at the Olympics.
I promise I'll work even harder to become one of the greats. Fighting "

Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
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