Sunday, November 15, 2009

The story of the Korean Olympic Marathoner Sohn Kee-Chung

Sohn Kee Chung became the first Korean to win a Gold Medal when he set an Olympic Marathon record of 2 hours 29 minutes 19.2 seconds. However, he was forced to compete for Japan, to adopt the Japanese name Kitei Son and to stand on the medal podium while the Japanese flag was raised and the Japanese anthem was played. Korea was a Japanese colony at the time of the Berlin Olympic games in 1936.  As a nationalist, Sohn Kee-Chung refused to sign his name in Japanese and signed only his Korean name, and even sketched the shape of Korea beside his signatures. When interviewers asked him about his country, he would clarify that Korea was his mother country. I can only imagine the emotions pushing Sohn to run faster than ever through that marathon.

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