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Bobsledding hopeful Jaehwan Jaehwan (17, Sangji Gwanryong-go) has won the first medal in sledding in South Korea’s history at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.Jae-hwan won the gold medal in the men’s monobob (one-seater) bobsled event at the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games (Gangwon 2024) on Wednesday at the Alpensia Sliding Center in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province, with a combined time of 1 minute, 48.63 seconds in the first and second runs.It was the second gold medal for the Korean athletes after Joo Jae-hee (Han AD) won the men’s short track 1,500 meters on Tuesday, the day the Gangwon 2024 Games began in earnest.Notably, Jae-hwan’s gold was the first medal won by South Korea in the sled disciplines (bobsleigh, skeleton and luge) at the fourth Winter Youth Olympic Games.It has been eight years since South Korea had a podium finisher in any snow sports discipline at the 2016 Games in Lillehammer, with Kim Magnus (2 golds, 1 silver) in cross-country and Jeong Jung-rim (bronze) in snowboard halfpipe.Jae-hwan also became the first Asian athlete to win a gold medal in sledding in the history of the Winter Youth Olympic Games.Jae-hwan is already on the adult national team and has been touted as one of the favorites to win the Games.He began his athletic career as a shot putter in track and field before switching to skeleton in his third year of middle school, and has progressed through several international competitions as his size, strength, and speed have been recognized.He went on a ‘golden run’ this season, winning five gold and three silver medals in eight appearances on the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) Youth Series, with a ‘home track’ advantage.

After winning the first run in a personal best of 53.80 seconds, nearly a second ahead of second-placed Jonatang Lourimi (Tunisia – 54.79), Jaehwan finished the second run in 54.83 seconds, good for second overall, to seal the win.Jaehwan said: “I had a dominant first run, so I went into the second run thinking I could do it without any pressure. I’m happy to have achieved my first gold medal as a bobsledder, and next up is the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo. I’ll take it one step at a time.”Silver medalist Rurimi (1:49.96 total), who finished 1.33 seconds behind Jae-hwan, is a participant in the Winter Sports Athlete Development Program for Underdeveloped and Developing Countries, which has been organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Gangwon Special Self-Governing Province, Pyeongchang County and sponsored by the Pyeongchang Memorial Foundation since 2020 to continue the legacy of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.He was introduced to bobsledding through the program and, along with two other female bobsledders, became the first Tunisian athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics and won a medal.

It was only the second medal in bobsleigh for the program’s participants, after Thailand’s Campeol Agnes, who won silver in women’s monobob the day before.The bronze medal went to China’s Tsu Xiangyu (1:50.18).The Korean sled team added a bronze medal in the men’s skeleton event later in the day, bringing home two medals on the day after none in the previous three Winter Youth Olympic Games.Shin Yeon-soo, who, like Jae-hwan, attends Sangji Kwanryong High School, finished third in 1:46.05, behind Emils Indriksson (Latvia – 1:44.66) and Yaroslav Labreniuk (Ukraine – 1:45.67).Shin, a former sprinter who took up skeleton in 2021, was inspired to take up the sport after watching Yoon Sung-bin become the first Asian to win a gold medal in sledding at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.On the same track where Yoon made history six years earlier, Shin finished second overall in the first run with a time of 52.85 seconds, before clocking 53.20 슬롯게이밍 seconds in the second run.


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