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Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012

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Best foot forward: Taekwondo gold medalist Hwang Kyung Seon has contributed to a successful London Games for South Korea. AFP-JIJI

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK

South Korea reflects on successful Olympics


Staff writer

LONDON — Not one of the largest nations competing in the Summer Olympics, South Korea had collected the fifth-most gold medals as of 9 p.m. on Friday.

South Korea's total medal haul (12 gold, seven silver and six bronze) has satisfied Lee Ki Heung, the nation's chef de mission in London.

"Our original target in participating in the London Games was to get more than 10 gold medals and within 10th place in the rankings," Lee said at a news conference on Friday. "Not only has our team exceeded our original goal, we also believe that this may be the games that we will have the most gold medals."

South Korea's top gold-medal haul was 13 from the Beijing Games four years ago, and 33 total medals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Providing a lessons for all nations with designs on success at the Olympics, Lee detailed what has worked for South Korea.

"The reason we believe that we have been able to achieve such a great performance is thanks to the strong support of the Korean people and also the effort and commitment of the athletes and the coaching staff during the past four years," Lee said.

"We will not be conceited or arrogant but will investigate and analyze our wins and defeats and prepare for our next Olympics."

Lee issued a stern warning that Korean Olympic Committee will not tolerate incidents that bring shame to the organization, such as sailing coach Lee Jae Cheol's drunk driving in England and four Korean women badminton players engaging in match-fixing.

"We can find no excuses for such behavior," Lee said. "When we go back, we will try to find out and investigate these cases and try to take the necessary measures."

Good experience: Japan swimmer Yasunari Hirai placed 15th in the men's 10-km marathon on Friday.

For him, it was a positive stepping stone.

"I am very satisfied that I made my position higher than my entry position, having beaten an Italian (Valerio Cleri) and an Australian (Ky Hurst)," Hirai said.

"It was my aim to compete in London 2012 as the first Japanese athlete to compete in the open-water marathon. My next aim is to medal at the next world championships."

Becks likes bikes: Soccer star David Beckham has attended cycling events at the Velodrome and also showed up at BMX track competition here. British Prime Minister David Cameron sat next to him for the BMX track races.

The now-famous photographer: When legendary sprinter Usain Bolt grabbed a camera from a photographer on Thursday at Olympic Stadium to snap a few shots following his historic 200-meter triumph on the track, he already knew the fellow. His name is Jimmy Wixtrom, a Swedish photographer for Aftonblade newspaper.

Bolt's pictures, including images of 200-meter silver medalist Yohan Blake, were published on the newspaper's website.

Quote of the day: "We shoot free throws like crap. We are a crappy free-throw shooting team. When I played, I was a great free-throw shooter and my son, who is 25, is a tremendous free-throw shooter, so it is in the DNA. But every team I have coached shoots free throws like crap. I don't know what I'm doing wrong."

— Russia coach David Blatt, reacting to his team's lousy free-throw shooting after a 67-59 loss to Spain in the Olympic men's basketball semifinals.



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