"BEEP!” THE STARTING signal is given. Players begin to run on the track and push the sled as hard as they can. They get on the sled, one by one, until it enters the curve. From then, the only things they can do are sit in the sled and endure the severe pressure, noise, and speed for a minute or so. You might have already guessed what this tough sport is. The Yonsei Annals had a chance to interview Kim Dong-hyun (Sr., Dept. of Physical Education), a sturdy Yonseian who is taking part in this sport, bobsledding.
My first encounter with, and fascination for, bobsled
When I read a notice about the recruitment of national bobsledders last year, I thought simply that it would be fun, so I decided to apply for it. Since I had good basic physical fitness records and sliding records in the national tryouts in Nagano, I was luckily nominated as one of the national bobsledders. The very idea that the color of one’s medal can change with the difference of 1/100 second made bobsledding a thrilling sport. My position on the team is brakeman, who rides at the end of the sled and controls its speed by operating the brake. This position requires instant speed for a good start. I am currently the youngest member of the team, learning step by step with great enthusiasm.
Obstacles in life
I was born with hearing impairments, so I had to wear hearing aids and learn how to read others’ lips to understand what people were saying. However, I tried not to be discouraged because of this. I liked exercising, including playing soccer and jogging, which allowed me to become a varsity player several times. Engaging in various sports helped me gain self-confidence. I had a surgery which recovered most of my hearing, and my hearing impairments could be overcome through teamwork training, which now allow us to read each other’s mind just by looking at one’s eyes.
Life as a Yonseian and a bobsledder
Although I am focusing more on bobsledding than studying right now, I consider myself as a student with a duty to study. Last year, when I was a junior, I studied very hard. Besides studying, I participated in the Divison of Athletics in the Student Association and played for the soccer club, Kicks. Managing both studying and training at the same time was indeed difficult. Once, I had to go take an exam in the afternoon after a morning training session in the National Training Center in Taeneung. It was a tough schedule, but I encouraged myself because I had my dreams.
My future dream
I am currently training in America for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. By participating in a total of nine competitions, including the European Cup and American Cup, our team should accumulate points in order to win a ticket to the Olympics. In the long term, however, I wish to study special physical education in graduate school and dedicate myself to the development of physical education for the disabled and the elderly. It is my hope to help them feel the excitement of sports. I also hope for greater attention to bobsledding, and for more government and corporate support.
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With a busy training schedule, starting from 9 a.m. and lasting to 8 p.m., he welcomed the interview with the Annals. His friendly attitude makes him a very approachable person, and this seems to have helped him overcome his difficulties in hearing. With his positive attitude toward life and endless passion for sports, his future will be as bright as his huge smile.