March 25, 2012
Korean curlers a pleasant surprise
By CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. - In the end, it was a moral victory for Korea's Ji-Sun Kim.
She may have lost the bronze medal game, but the bottom line is Kim may have done a world of good for the sport in a country that's going to host the 2018 winter Olympics.
Korea was winless in its first worlds appearance in 2003 and had only five wins in its three previous appearances.
Now, the skip who learns the game with a yearly five-week visit to the Calgary Curling Club and learns much of its strategy watching TSN, can go home with her head held high.
"We wanted to win today, but it didn't happen," said Kim through an interpreter. "I'm so happy I'm getting support from Korea, Canada and all the media. She's happy for all the support."
Kim certainly gave the media a feel-good story. Curling fans everywhere love the underdog and a strong contingent to drum-banging Korean fans kept Kim's fires burning.
"Nobody knows about curling in Korea," said Kim. "Very few people know about curling. Today's game was being broadcast back home, so now there's more people watching the game and more people will know about curling now. Hopefully, we can have more support."
As an ambassador for the game in Korea, Kim believes she can do more for awareness in the 2018 Olympics with a good show at Sochi, Russia in 2014.
"If we win a main event, we get money, but we don't care about the money," said Kim. "We want to have good support and win games."
While Korea proved to be the surprise of the week, their Asian rival China headed in the other direction.
Whether this remains a permanent shift of power remains to be seen.