Remember Kim Dong-Sung? Don’t worry, we didn’t either until reading this story from THE WASHINGTON POST, in which Dong-Sung — who was robbed of a gold medal at the Salt Lake City Olympics by a judge who claimed he interfered with American favorite Apollo Anton-Ohno — says he abandoned his drive to beat Ohno on the ice with a bigger calling: Beating him in the U.S., by producing a top American speedskater.
How big a shift in life plans is it? Well, considering the fact that Dong-Sung claimed he would never set foot in America again after the Salt Lake City games, it’s a pretty drastic shift. Now, he’s living in suburban Washington, D.C. and teaching budding speedskaters, 10 of whom are competing in age-group national championships next weekend after only two years of coaching from Dong-Sung. Oh, and a full 75 percent of them are Korean-American.
If there was any thought that Dong-Sung — who was so upset about being robbed of a gold medal that he needed oxygen in his room afterward — would have lost intensity, he makes it clear that he hasn’t.
“My goals have changed,” he said. “I want to make a national team member out of one of my young kids. It’s the personal relationships. Some of my kids have been with me [two] years. They are more like family. . . . I have several possible kids I see being successful. It may be happening.”
That’s more than we can say about Ohno, isn’t it? Does anyone know what’s happened to him? It’s as if he fell in a wormhole after winning “Dancing With the Stars”. Given that Dong-Sung’s fire is openly fueled by his prior experience in the U.S. with Ohno, this is as much a race as anything else he’s done. The only question is whether Ohno realizes that he’s still contributing to America’s Olympic team by pushing Dong-Sung, ironic though it may be.