Yu-Na Kim

South Korea's obsession with speedskating isn't hard to miss

South Korea's obsession with speedskating isn't hard to miss

If you want to understand South Korea’s obsession with short track speedskating, why a civilized nation of 51 million is absolutely bonkers about roller derby on ice, watch a soccer game.

It is from the 2002 World Cup that South Korea hosted. Ahn Jung-hwan scores on a header in the 78th minute to tie the United States 1-1, then races to the corner flag to celebrate. And lifts one leg while swinging the opposite arm, like a speedskater, while his jubilant teammates join in.

It was an ode to what might be South Korea’s real national sport, to what happened four months earlier in Salt Lake City at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

South Korean star Kim Dong-sung crossed the line...

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