Korean-American Speed Skater Defies Obstacles to Win Gold at World Cup

February 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Korean-American Simon Cho captured the gold medal in short track speed skating for the US at the International Skating Union World Cup in Moscow, winning the men’s 500-m race in 42.157 seconds. He was able to push aside Vancouver Olympics gold medalist Charles Hamelin of Canada to win his first World Cup title and realize the American Dream. Cho, 19, was born in Seoul in 1991 but entered the US illegally with his mother in 1996, crossing over the border from Canada to meet his father, Jay, who had moved to the US 3 years earlier. He obtained a green card in 2001 and became a US citizen in 2004. Jay Cho ran a small take-out restaurant in Maryland and was a hard worker but could not pull his family out of poverty. He left for work at dawn and came home late every day, but the gas and electricity was often shut off at their house. Simon showed promise as a young skater, and in 2007 became the youngest ever to qualify for the US short track Olympic team at age 15. However, the skater failed to be selected for the 2008-2009 season, losing a training grant from the US Olympic Committee. Facing financial difficulties, Simon Cho almost had to give up his dream. His father sold his restaurant to pay for the training bills, and the team’s Korean coach Jang Kwon-ok and Olympic gold medalist Apollo Ohno also helped him. Cho returned to the national team one year later and took the bronze at the men’s 5000 relay at the Vancouver Olympics. (The Chosun Ilbo)


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