Thursday, May 14, 2009

Good for him

Olympic Gold Medalist Bak Tae-hwan met with swimmer-with-a-disability*, Kim Sae-jin recently to offer support and coaching advice.

From the article:

Beijing Olympic gold medalist Park Tae-hwan, 20, has inspired a junior disabled swimmer.

Only recently did was it known that Park met Kim Sae-jin, 13, a junior swimmer with congenital dysplasia, on April 14 in a swimming pool in Gangnam, southern Seoul.

According to SK Telecom Sports, Park's swim team, the two swimmers met right after Kim's dream, which was a meeting with Park, also known as "Marine Boy," was conveyed to Park. Their meeting was filmed by MBC-TV. It will air on the "MBC Human Docu Sarang" program on May 15.

Kim went through hardships in life despites his age. He was born with a limb deformity and he was adopted when he was only five months old. Luckily, his supportive mother, Yang Jung-sook, 41, and his own willpower gave him the strength to lead a productive life.

The junior swimmer's hard work finally paid off; Kim won seven medals, including three gold medals, in Britain's National Junior Swimming League that took place in Sheffield in March.

Meeting with Park was dream come true for Kim. This promising swimmer always wished for three things; meeting Park Tae-hwan, participating in London Paralympics (Olympics for the disabled) and becoming a member of the national swimming team.

I have nothing but good things to say about this.

The more I read about Mr Bak though, the more I realize I'm old fashioned about sports.  I know amateur sports teams are taking on more blatant sponsorship deals every year, but I still don't like it.  What kind of name for a swim team is SK Telecom Sports? By the way, I would love to get back into coaching, so if SK Telecom wanted a Canada-trained coach/ ESL teacher, I might be available.


Around 15 years ago, Canadian sports groups changed the names for describing athletes with disabilities.  It was felt that " disabled swimmer", for example, with 'disabled' at the beginning, unduly emphasized the disability.  "Swimmer with a disability", puts the person first.  It's a good idea but around 14 years ago, I usually saw "SWAD" in competition programs and to call someone a SWAD seems little improvement.

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