Yun-Mi leads young team to short track gold

The Olympic arena can be an overwhelming backdrop for those not used to the global spotlight. Experience, some say, is invaluable. However, sometimes there are young athletes who simply shrug off the pressure and instead draw inspiration from the greatest sporting event in the world.

Picture by IOC

Kim Yun-Mi was 13 years old when she arrived in Norway to be part of the Korean Republic 3,000m relay team. The remaining members of the team were 14, 17 and 18, giving them an average age of just 15 and a half. Moreover, despite their youth, they were fast enough to make the final.

There they found themselves pitched against the might of China, Canada and USA, and it was the Canadians who lead at the halfway point, poised to beat the world record, with China following close behind.

But then the race started to take some twists. Firstly, the Canadians made a poor exchange and the Chinese closed up. With the race at the front now closer and more intense, the Canadian skater Christine-Isabel Boudrias slipped and crashed into the boards at the side of the track.

Now the Chinese were leading, but the South Koreans had been biding their time and now moved up, ever closer, until they took the lead and held on to seal the gold medal.

Kim became the youngest female Olympic gold medalist in either a Summer or Winter Games, and also the youngest medalist at the Winter Games. Four years later, at the grand age of 17, she won another gold medal with the relay team.