(LEAD) Olympic short track champion Choi Min-jeong named honorary ambassador for Winter Youth Olympics
(ATTN: ADDS photos, comments throughout)
By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- Three-time Olympic short track speed skating champion Choi Min-jeong was named an honorary ambassador for the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics in South Korea on Friday.
The organizing committee for the quadrennial competition in the east coast province of Gangwon added Choi to the growing list of its goodwill ambassadors.
Choi boasts three Olympic gold medals and 16 world titles on her decorated resume. She won the 1,500-meter and the 3,000-meter relay gold medals on home ice at PyeongChang 2018, and repeated as the 1,500m champion in Beijing last year.
Asked to offer advice for athletes competing at the Youth Olympics, Choi said, "The preparation will be difficult, but if you keep at it, great results will always follow."
Gangwon has already recruited two other South Korean winter sports legends in its preparation for the youth competition. Lee Sang-hwa, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in women's 500m speed skating, is a co-president of the organizing committee. Lee, who retired after winning silver in 2018, still holds the world record time of 36.36 seconds, set in 2013.
"If you are only caught up in trying to win the gold medal, then you won't be able to perform to the best of your ability," Lee said. "I hope young athletes out there will enjoy the process and not worry so much about results."
Kim Yu-na, the 2010 women's singles figure skating champion, is an honorary ambassador. Kim, who also won silver in 2014, remains the only South Korean with an Olympic figure skating medal.
With the recent emergence of teenage figure skaters in South Korea, Kim may soon have company in the Olympic annals.
"I am so proud of young skaters today. They've been doing so well for a few years now," Kim said. "I think the Winter Youth Olympics will be a great opportunity for young athletes because they will be competing in the venues used during the 2018 Olympics."
Along with Choi, the 2018 Olympic men's skeleton champion Yun Sung-bin, pianist Sunwoo Yekwon, actor Park Jae-min and ballerina Kim Joo-won were also named honorary ambassadors Friday.
Yang Jung-woong, artistic director of the opening ceremony at PyeongChang 2018, will oversee the ceremonies for Gangwon 2024. Song Seung-whan, executive creative director at the 2018 Winter Olympics, will chair the advisory panel for cultural events at the Winter Youth Olympics.
The 2024 Winter Youth Olympics will run from Jan. 19 to Feb. 1, with some 1,900 athletes from 70 countries competing for 81 gold medals in 15 events.
It will be the fourth iteration of the quadrennial event and the first to take place outside Europe. The first three competitions were in Austria, Norway and Switzerland.
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