Posted : 2014-02-11 16:46
Updated : 2014-02-11 16:46

Flying at high game

Korean freestyle skier Choi Jae-woo competes in the men's moguls final at the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, Monday. Choi became the first Korean skier ever to make it into an Olympic final.
/ AP-Yonhap

Mogul skier Choi becomes first Korean to make Olympic final

By Kwon Ji-youn

Freestyle skier Choi Jae-woo made history Monday night, securing a spot in the men's moguls final at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, something a Korean skier has never done before.

Choi came slowly out of the gate at the Rosa Khutor

Extreme Park, finishing 15th in the first qualification round with 20.56 points. But in the second qualification round, he finished second, only 0.48 points short of Patrick Deneen's score of 22.38, and made it into the first final round.

Choi kept the momentum alive and finished 10th in the first round of the final with a score of 22.11, qualifying for the second round of the final. But after successfully landing a double pole, he swerved off the course and was disqualified.

Choi was well aware that he would not need to finish the race. But either out of regret for not finishing or joy for having made it to the final, he executed a second aerial stunt on his way down, and landed successfully to applause.

Sung Eun-ryung competes in the luge women's singles first run at the Sliding Center Sanki, Monday. / AP-Yonhap

The third round of the final took place about 40 minutes later, in which Alex Bilodeau of Canada came in first with a score of 26.31. Second place went to Mikael Kingsbury of Canada with 24.71 and bronze went to Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia. Deneen of the United States placed sixth overall.

Choi had traveled to Sochi with the preeminent goal of at least making it into the final round, but he did more than just that. He proved that he has the potential to reach the podium at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, where he personally hopes to win the gold.

In fact, Choi, who began skiing at the age of 4, has consistently shown promise, having won several medals in international competitions, including a bronze at the 2012 International Ski Federation Junior World Ski Championships in Italy and the gold at the Australian Continental Cup later that year. Choi was also the youngest to represent Korea in mogul skiing.

Under Coach Toby Dawson's guidance, he placed fifth in the 2013 World Ski Championships in Norway, and was voted rookie of the year.

No doubt, Choi takes home with him more to work with, having experienced the pressure of the Olympic stage. But his Olympic achievement has made the wait for the PyeongChang Games that much harder.

30th so far in luge

In luge, Team Korea wasn't as lucky. Sung Eun-ryung placed second to last in the first run of the women's singles in 52.862 seconds, 2.971 seconds after Natalie Geisenberger of Germany, who came in first in 49.891 seconds.

Sung came in 31st in the second run, clocking 51.960 seconds, 2.037 seconds slower than Geisenberger. Sung ranked 30th overall, with a total time of 1:44.133 seconds.

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