When many of us think of the Winter Olympics, short track speed skating is not usually the first event that comes to mind. That may be different in South Korea, however.
Short track speed skating has only been a contest at the Winter Olympics since the 1992 Games in Albertville, France, which was the last year that the winter and summer games were held in the same year. In 1988 it was a successful example of a demonstration sport, which meant that it was put on to promote its worth as a viable competition for the next Olympic Games, and thus, it made it to the next Games. Luckily for short track speed skating, it was successful in the trials, as the demonstration sports were suspended after the 1992 Summer Olympics. This happened because as the Olympic program grew it became more difficult for the organizing committee to give them the proper attention they deserved for future Olympic consideration.
Training for the sport beings at a very young age. The youngest to ever compete for the South Korean Olympic speed skating team was Kim Yun-Mi, who was just thirteen years old when competing at the 1994 Winter Games, and the oldest being Gang Gwang-Bae, who was 36 years old at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Both Jeon I-Gyeong and Lee Ho-Seok both hold an impressive five Olympic medals. The youngest competitor, Kim Yu-Mi won two gold medals, and made Olympic history when she became the youngest champion at the Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer in 1994.
From 1992 until 2010 the South Korean Olympic team collected nineteen gold medals, eleven silver medals, and seven bronze medals, totalling thirty-seven total for the nineteen men and eighteen women who competed during that time span. This equates to one medal per person as an average.
A stable team is sure to be in place for the 2014 Sochi Games. Based on their performance at the two World Cup events in November 2013, South Korea qualified a full team of five men and five women short track speed skaters. Notably, Noh Jinkyu will not make the Games, as he qualified for the team, but broke his elbow on January 14, 2014. His replacement has yet to be named.