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Skeleton slider Yun takes bronze at Whistler

Mar 11,2019
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Yun Sung-bin, right, celebrates his bronze medal along with Martins Dukurs of Latvia, center, and Nikita Tregubov of Russia at the IBSF World Championships in Whistler, Canada, on Friday. [AP/YONHAP]
Korean skeleton slider Yun Sung-bin has won a bronze medal at the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Championships.

Yun, the 2018 Winter Olympics gold medalist in men’s skeleton, had a combined time of 3 minutes, 28.99 seconds after four heats to finish third at the IBSF World Championships in Whistler, Canada, on Friday.

This was Yun’s second medal at the world championships in his career, but not his career-best finish. Yun’s best finish was at the 2016 worlds in Innsbruck, Austria.

Martins Dukurs of Latvia topped the competition at 3 minutes and 28.11 seconds, winning his sixth world championships gold, followed by Nikita Tregubov of Russia, at 3 minutes 28.62 seconds.

Yun was only sixth after two heats at 1 minute and 44.83 seconds. Yet the 24 year old was the second-best performer behind Dukurs in the last two runs and took third place.

Although he failed to become the first Asian to win a gold medal, Yun continued his streak of podium finishes this season. He didn’t miss a medal in any IBSF competition that he entered this season, including eight World Cups.

In the eight IBSF World Cup races, Yun picked up two gold, three silver and three bronze.

Aside from Yun’s podium finish, Korea saw another success from the other two Korean skeleton racers. Jung Seung-gi was ninth at 3 minutes and 30.32 seconds and Kim Ji-soo was tied for 14th at 3 minutes and 31.15 seconds.

“I’ll prepare well for next season and try my best in winning gold at the world championship next year,” Yoon said through his management.

Yun started skeleton late in life. In his final year of high school in 2012, Yun’s physical education teacher, now a director on the board of the Korean Skeleton Bobsleigh Federation (KSBF), suggested he try skeleton. The KSBF needed a skeleton racer, and Yun’s speed grabbed their attention.

Yun’s first time sliding down a track in Park City, Utah, petrified him. Afterward, he phoned home from the locker room in tears, unsure whether he had made a terrible decision.

Yun ultimately decided to stick with the sport and by consistently training, he made his way to the top.

Only a year and a half after starting skeleton, Yun competed at the Sochi Winter Olympics, finishing 16th. Then, at his second Olympics, which he competed in less than six years after he began the sport, Yun won Korea’s first-ever gold medal in sliding events at the Olympics.

Following the skeleton race, Korea’s four-man bobsled team also competed at the Whistler Track, finishing seventh with a total time of 3 minutes and 22.79 seconds. Korea’s four-man bobsled team, which also won a surprise silver at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, finished the 2018-19 season without a medal. Their best finish this season was sixth in two of the IBSF World Cup races at Lake Placid in February and Konigssee, Germany, in January.

Team Germany won the world championships with a total time of 3 minutes and 21.33 minutes.

BY KANG YOO-RIM, YONHAP [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]