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(LEAD) Speed skating medalist honored with top nat'l sports award

All Headlines 13:28 February 28, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS comments, photo)

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- Kim Min-seok, a two-time medalist at the PyeongChang Winter Games, was honored with the top national sports award Wednesday.

The Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) named the 18-year-old its grand prize winner at the 64th KSOC Awards ceremony in Seoul.

Kim won bronze in the men's 1,500 meters during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics earlier this month, becoming the first Asian speed skater to win a medal in that distance. Kim later won a silver medal in the men's team pursuit with Lee Seung-hoon and Chung Jae-won.

South Korean speed skater Kim Min-seok competes in the men's 1,500 meters during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Feb. 13, 2018, en route to winning bronze at Gangneung Oval in Gangneung, Gangwon Province. (Yonhap)

South Korea won seven medals in speed skating on home ice, behind only the Netherlands, which grabbed 16.

Kim wasn't able to attend the ceremony, having departed for Salt Lake City, Utah, for the International Skating Union (ISU) Junior World Cup Speed Skating this weekend. In a video message, Kim said: "This is a great honor for me. I'll also try to post good results at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing."

Kim's father, Kim Nam-soo, received the award instead, and the KSOC also presented him with its own gold medal.

Kim Nam-soo (R), father of speed skater Kim Min-seok, wears the gold medal presented to him by Lee Kee-heung (L), president of the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC), during the KSOC Awards ceremony in Seoul on Feb. 28, 2018. Kim Min-seok was named the grand prize winner for 2017 but wasn't able to attend the ceremony because of an overseas competition. (Yonhap)

Though the ceremony came right after PyeongChang 2018, the KSOC explained that it named its award winners based on their performances in 2017. The KSOC typically holds ceremonies around Feb. 20 each year but had to wait until after the end of the Feb. 9-25 PyeongChang Winter Games this year.

Kim did have a strong 2017 as well, winning two gold medals and a bronze medal at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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