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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Silver medalist Kim Bo-reum of South Korea kneels on the ice after the women's mass start final. Kim drew heat earlier in the Olympics for what many saw as mistreatment of a slower teammate.

Sunday, February 25, 2018 1:00 am

Korean speedskater redeems herself

Nation angry after she snubs teammate earlier

BETH HARRIS | Associated Press

GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Speedskater Kim Bo-reum has gone from being the target of an online petition calling for her to be expelled from the Pyeongchang Olympics to earning a spot on the medals podium.

The South Korean skater took silver in the women's mass start on the final night of speedskating competition Saturday at her home games.

She sobbed after the 16-lap race ended.

“I am so sorry for the Korean people,” Kim said afterward. “I am really sorry because I was in the middle of the big trouble.”

Kim and Park Ji-woo left their slower teammate Noh Seon-yeong behind in the team pursuit quarterfinals last Monday. Cameras showed Kim and Park moving away after the race while Noh cried in the infield at the oval.

Some South Koreans believe Kim and Park were trying to humiliate Noh.

Nearly 600,000 signatures were on an online petition to South Korea's presidential office calling for skaters Kim and Park to be expelled from the games.

Kim had triggered public anger with comments many saw as putting the blame on Noh.

“If our last skater had come in a bit earlier we might have made the semifinals,” Kim said.

Kim appeared at a news conference with her coach Tuesday and tearfully offered her “sincere apology.”

On Saturday, Nana Takagi of Japan blasted past the opposition in the final straightaway to win the debut of women's mass start.