Needless to say, the Korean netizenry was not amused. The Youtube comments are enlightening, too.
손흥민, (Heungmin Son), the 20 year old Bundesliga footballer who plays for Hamburg was interviewed on a major German sports show . If you can play the clip, he is quite fluent in German (with a cute Korean accent) although he’s severly inflicted with the German habit to start and pepper every sentence liberally with a “Natürlich”.
He says he feels quite content in Hamburg, (aber natürlich, it is the happiest city in Germany according to a recent study) and has just signed another year despite growing interests from the Premier Leauge.
During the TV interview, he is charming, constantly smiling from shyness like a boy of his age would be. He is the best under 21 scorer (with 9 goals) in the Bundesliga. He is shown a msg clip from Chuncheon, where his stern father manages a football school. He also answers various twitter questions where he quotes Cristiano Ronaldo and Park Jisung as players he respects the most.
Incidentally, the precocity of Son and his father’s football school made me wonder is 날아라 슛돌이” (Narara Shootdori – that show showcasing kkoma football talent) still on on Korean TV?
I reckon it’s only matter of time before the Korean mothers teaching violin and piano to their little precious turn to where the real money is, and then the K-league would be a class of its own crammed full with overflowing talent by those kids who didn’t make it abroad. The reason football falls behind the art of regurgitating Western classical music and little wannabe Yunas learning figure skating is only because the role of education was chiefly left to the mothers and not to the fathers.
Anyway, here’s the summary in the Korean press (Chosun) also with a link to the interview somebody put on youtube.
I don’t know how many will mourn the loss of wrestling from the Olympic Games, but a tip o’ the hat to Yonhap’s headline on the news:
“S. Koreans grapple with wrestling’s exclusion from Olympics.”
Of more concrete interest in what an absence of sweaty, grappling men in outfits that resemble atomic wedgies means to the ROK in the Olympics:
South Korea lost one of its strongest sports at the Summer Games. The country has grabbed 11 gold medals and 35 medals in total in wrestling.
Wrestling also gave South Korea its first Olympic gold, as Yang Jung-mo claimed the men’s 62-kilogram division in freestyle at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
This not counting Sohn Kee-chung’s gold medal performance at the 1936 Berlin Games, under the Japanese flag.
Vying to replace wrestling in the 2020 Olympics —yes, you are afforded adequate time to get over the loss— are: karate, roller sports, squash, climbing, wakeboarding, wushu and baseball-softball.
I thought that list included “waterboarding” for a brief moment, but of course it doesn’t. And yes, I had to Google “wushu“.
It’s come to my attention that the United Kingdom apparently has laws against football fans shouting racial abuse at players:
British media on Tuesday said the West London Magistrates’ Court found Everton fan William Blything guilty of racially abusing Park and Everton’s Victor Anichebe.
He reportedly shouted, “Take down that chink” referring to Park. Chink is a derogatory term for Chinese people.
Being an ignorant American, I’d thought that sort of abuse was part of the charm of Premier League football.
Anyway, in defense of William Blything, I will note:
a) he’s equal-opportunity in his abuse, having also referred to Nigerian-born Anichebe as a “f****** black monkey”;
b) he denies even being racist (or even saying what was attributed to him):
However, he remained defiant after the verdict and said he is not racist and that his daughter has a ‘coloured boyfriend.’
The handling of the “Olympic Dokdo Sign Incident” has now reached a new level of farce.
Korean Football Association chief Cho Chung-yun apologized before the National Assembly on Friday for sending an apologetic letter to the head of the Japan Football Association for Park Jong-woo’s “Dokdo Ceremony”:
During a question-and-answer session of the National Assembly’s committee on culture and sports, Cho Chung-yun, head of the Korea Football Association (KFA), apologized for a controversial letter sent by the KFA to the Japan Football Association (JFA).
The letter, written in English, was sent Monday, days after Korea’s Park Jong-woo, in celebrating his team’s 2-0 victory over Japan in the bronze medal match in London, carried around a sign that read in Korean, “Dokdo Is Our Territory.” The letter came under fire for its apologetic tone and for the KFA’s apparent acknowledgment of Park’s wrongdoing.
“I’d like to sincerely apologize for the trouble this letter has caused,” Cho told lawmakers. “When the situation demands, then I can take the responsibility.”
According to the Korea Times, critics contend that “the KFA admitted Park had engaged in inappropriate behavior before any official ruling from either FIFA or the International Olympic Committee (IOC).”
Judging from USFK’s recent apologies, I’d thought that’s how things are supposed to be done over here, but I guess not.
Anyway, the JoongAng Ilbo got a hold of the “shocking” email and posted it to their website. It’s just barely legible, but if you look closely at your monitor, you can make it out. Ordinarily, I’d say aside from the fact Cho should have had it copy-edited before clicking “send,” I can’t see anything wrong with Cho’s letter. It’s the sort of boilerplate apology you’d be expected to send after an incident like this.
If anything, Cho understated things by denying Park’s act was political, when anyone who’s not intentionally bullshitting him or herself knows it was.
I said “ordinarily,” however, because sadly, I know exactly what the problem with Cho’s letter is. I’m pretty sure the higher-ups at the Korean Olympic Committee, Korea Football Association and elsewhere know perfectly well that Park’s “Dokdo ceremony” was unacceptable and inexcusable. You don’t need an IOC judgement to apologize in this case—Park’s act speaks for itself. The problem is, public sentiment regarding, well, most things Japan-related is so poisonous, officials can’t do what needs to be done—at least publicly—even in such an obvious situation like this. Sure, given Japan’s history of forced, half-ass apologizes for things much worse than waving a Dokdo sign, there’s probably some degree of karma to that, but I can’t see how it helps, either with Japan or, in this case, with the greater international community.
Maybe the Korean Olympic Committee was low-balling expectations. Or maybe South Koreans just can’t see themselves as world leaders in sports. After all, no matter the evidence to the contrary, they don’t see themselves that way in business or economics or politics.
But as The Who sang the athletes out of the closing ceremony on Monday morning Korea time, the tally on the medal board could not be denied. South Korea had 13 gold medals, fifth-highest total of the Games, and more than more populous countries like Japan, France, Italy, Brazil and Spain, let alone giants like India and Indonesia.
Even so, a government sports official could be counted upon to again declare that South Korea was at last among the world’s great nations instead of recognizing that it has been there for awhile now.
You do hear rhetoric like that—i.e., about Korea becoming or joining the ranks of the developed—quite a bit. Part of it is political, but I think a lot of it is that Korea grew so quickly, a lot of folk still don’t seem to believe where the country is in the global pecking order now.
(HT to Wangkon)
Boy, this was seriously ill-advised, not to mention just plain classless (HT to my brother):
A South Korean soccer player was barred from receiving his bronze medal at the London Olympics on Saturday for displaying a sign with a political message after a victory over Japan in the third-place game.
The player, Park Jong-soo, held up a sign after South Korea’s 2-0 victory over Japan, claiming South Korean sovereignty over a set of barely inhabitable islands that are also claimed by Japan.
Mr. Park, a midfielder, played all 90 minutes of the game on Friday in Cardiff, Wales, then was photographed carrying a sign that read, “Dokdo is our territory.” The islands, called Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan, lie in an area of rich fishing grounds and natural gas deposits.
Park is now being investigated by the International Olympic Committee and FIFA.
A Korean Football Association official told the Dong-A Ilbo that it seems the “Dokdo ceremony” was not pre-planned. Rather, there were lots of folk in the stands with “Dokdo is our territory” signs in the stands (not cool in and of itself), and it appears Park got one of the signs from a spectator in the post-game excitement.
The thing people are wondering now is whether Park will lose his military service exemption if he is ultimately stripped of his medal. According to the Hanguk Gyeongje, the netizens are divided over the issue—some think he should keep his exemption, others think he should take responsibility for what he did. I haven’t checked out what’s being said on Twitter, but I’m guessing the opinions aren’t evenly split in this case.
I don’t want to sound preachy, but I think the KOC, KFA or whoever needs to send a message that this is a) unacceptable, and b) internationally embarrassing. Stripping Park of his military service exemption might help.
Sometimes, this blog just writes itself:
The ‘theory’ goes that Korean women excel at feel sports such as archery and golf because of heightened sensitivity and dexterity in their hands and fingers.
This sensitivity supposedly developed generations ago through the traditional method of making the national dish kimchi, where women use their hands to lovingly squeeze, swirl and smear hot pepper paste over cabbage leaves for hours on end.
“South Korean women have more sensitive hands than any other women in the world,” said Baek Woong-gi, an archery coach for the Korean national team, before the team flew to London for the Olympics.
“They do things so well with their hands. When Korean women cook, it’s as if their hands are giving the food more flavour or taste.”
I direct you to Brian’s post from 2008.
A shoot-out exit for the Brits. Shocking, I know:
One of the greatest days British sport has ever known ended with a sadly familiar quarter-final penalty shoot-out exit to South Korea in Cardiff.
Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge missed the vital last kick, allowing Celtic’s Ki Sungyueng to send South Korea into a last four meeting with Brazil at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Sturridge was clearly angry and upset as he made his way off the field, although it could be argued Aaron Ramsey was equally culpable as he also missed from the spot in normal time when the Wales midfielder had a chance to put Britain in front.
Personally, I blame Ryan Giggs for not singing “God Save the Queen.”
I know, I was shocked, too:
Amidst worldwide claims that Australian referee, Barbara Csar, failed to point out some faults in Heidemann’s play, such as maintaining the correct distance and starting before the clock began ticking, Korean netizens searched online to find out more about the referee and Shin’s opponent.
Csar and Heidemann were easily located on Facebook, and soon their walls were full of messages rebuking them for what happened. When their accounts were blocked from public view, netizens started to write on the wall of Heidemann’s boyfriend, and revealed contact information online.
Many, however, are concerned that this will cause emotional strife between Korea and Germany, including German media such as Der Spiegel, a weekly magazine that wrote an article titled “Referee Csar Insulted on the Internet.”
The high rate of Korean athletes involved in judging controversies has the country up in arms, in particular, whether the referees are biased against Team Korea. Sports watchers are saying that despite improved performances by South Korean athletes, the prowess of the country’s sports diplomacy has yet to develop.
The country currently has two members on the International Olympic Committee — Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee and Moon Dae-sung, former Olympic taekwondo gold medalist.
Jesus H. Christ, a half-country of 50,000 million currently sits No. 3 in the gold medal count. How much more above Korea’s weight do they want the country to punch?
On a slightly positive note, Mongolian judoka Naidan Tuvshinbayar took silver in the 100 kg weight category, losing in the finals to a Russian as President Putin looked on. He was the reigning gold medalist (not to mention a Hero of Labor!), so I suppose this is something of a disappointment. All things considered (and by all things, we mean Uncle Vlad sitting in the stands), though, it wasn’t such a bad result.
Oh, and just out of curiosity, is there an archery team out there not coached by a Korean?
I think Bobby might be editing his post below, but just in case, it has just been reported that eight badminton players—two Chinese, two Indonesians and four Koreans—have been disqualified for trying to throw their matches.
At least the Koreans have an excuse, says their coach:
South Korea head coach Sung Han-kook said his two pairings attempted to throw their matches against China’s world champion duo and the Indonesians but added it was in retaliation against the Chinese team who instigated the situation.
He said the Chinese deliberately tried to throw the first of the tainted matches to ensure their leading duo of Yu and Wang would not meet the country’s number two pair until the gold medal decider.
“The Chinese started this. They did it first,” Sung told reporters through an interpreter. “It’s a complicated thing with the draws. They didn’t want to meet each other in the semi-final.
“So we did the same. We didn’t want to play the South Korean team again (in the knockout stages).”
Havoc and mayhem ensued at Saturday’s fixture between Incheon United and Daejeon Citizen after two irate Daejeon supporters rushed the pitch and assaulted Yuti, Incheon’s mascot, at the conclusion of the match.
And why yes, Yuti is a red-crowned crane. Or at least a 34-year-old dude dressed up like a red-crowned crane. The hapless man, who requested anonymity, complained to the Sports Chosun that he did nothing to provoke the attack, and never even saw the faces of the guys who did it.
Which is understandable, since he was dressed up like a red-crowned crane.
The assault spilled over into the stands, where there was some scuffling between Daejeon and Incheon supporters.
Daejeon Citizen, for its part, has banned the two guys from attending both home and away games for the rest of the year. Daejeon supporters, while careful not to justify the wanton attack on Yuti, did claim the mascot has been “provoking” them continuously for three years (great photo, BTW). How was not specified.
Interesting little blog post at ESPN on Swiss side FC Basel’s Park Joo-Ho of South Korea and Pak Kwang-Ryong of North Korea:
Before the start of the second half, a pair of first-year Basel players sat beside one another on the bench, stretched out their legs, admired Marbella’s royal-blue sky and appeared to make small talk. No surprise there; they are teammates after all. But what no one appeared to notice — not that there were many people there besides a hundred or two maniacal Feyenoord supporters — was the geo-political gravitas of this potential photo-op. It is, quite literally, a photo that is not allowed to be taken: Park Joo-Ho of South Korea, Basel’s 25-year-old starting left back, sat beside Pak Kwang-Ryong of North Korea, the team’s 19-year-old substitute forward.
For Koreans on either side of the 38th parallel — the world’s most heavily fortified border — there can be severe consequences for fraternizing with the enemy. The armistice that ended the Korean War was signed on July 27, 1953, but a peace treaty was never put in place; technically, the two countries remain at war. In the Communist North, those suspected of mere contact with South Koreans are, according to the Human Rights Watch World Report 2012, subject to lengthy terms in “horrendous detention facilities or forced labor camps with chronic food and medicine shortages, harsh working conditions, and mistreatment by guards.” Though the democratic South has far more freedoms, its far-reaching National Security Law continues to stifle any exchange with, and interest in, North Korea. In short: A South Korean and a North Korean should not be shooting the breeze on a sunny afternoon in Spain.
It’s a fascinating post and well worth the read.
(HT to reader)