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Ex-short track star seeks Olympic swan song with 'no regrets' in new sport

All Headlines 18:23 January 12, 2018

SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Yonhap) -- Park Seung-hi, a former Olympic short track champion who converted to speed skating in 2014, said Friday she aims to reach the pinnacle of her career at the upcoming Winter Games.

"I will put all efforts into performing at my Olympics without any regrets," Park said at the Taereung International Skating Rink in Seoul, where she competed in the women's 500 meters during the National Winter Sports Festival.

South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Games next month in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul, from Feb. 9 to 25.

Park said her participation in Friday's event was aimed at getting some feel for the competition before the Olympics.

It will be Park's first Olympics in speed skating, though the winter sports star has already raked in various honors as a short tracker.

Park collected two golds and a bronze at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, just before she decided to switch her profession. She also won two bronzes at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

After starting the second phase of her career in 2014, Park has been putting in notable performances at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup races, and eventually qualified for the women's 1,000-meter race in PyeongChang.

Park said she has been preparing thoroughly for the past four years as a speed skater, but claimed that winning a medal will not be a top priority for her.

"I will not think of medals and instead seek to perform without any regrets," Park said. "The top priority is to post improved records by doing my best, and if I do so, medals and better rankings will just come along."

The 2018 Winter Games will likely be Park's last international event.

"I thought of retiring after the Sochi Winter Games, but I delayed my retirement by setting my sight on the PyeongChang Olympics," Park said, claiming the decision motivated her to try harder during training.

"It is good that I don't have to travel far, as the Olympics will take place in South Korea," Park added. "As most of spectators are also from home, I believe South Korean athletes will give good performances."

South Korean speed skater Park Seung-hi competes in the women's 500 meters at the National Winter Sports Festival at Taereung International Skating Rink in Seoul on Jan. 12, 2018. (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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