There is one thing in team sports that you should never do: leaving a teammate behind. On February 19th, at the 2018 Winter Olympic held in Pyeongchang, Korea, there was a case of abandoning a teammate in Women’s Speed Skating Team Pursuit event. In the race against Netherlands, Korean team pursued to grab a higher status to qualify for a medal. As the race started, the outcome of this race depended on how well the team can work together until reaching the finish line. But the effort of the team did not last until the end of the race.
In the event, a skater in the lead position is physically more exhausted than the following two skaters. As a team effort, they can switch their positions to cover the track before other skaters are too exhausted. As the race continued, Korean skater Noh Seon-yeong was leading Korean team to the victory. After the tenth split, out of twelve, Noh switched the lead with another skater Kim Bo-reum. After the changeover happened, the lead took off with the other player, Park Ji-Woo and Noh was left behind, not able to catch up. Because Noh led the Korean team for the first ten splits, she must have been exhausted quite a lot, but that could not be an excuse for her to give it up.
After facing such an interesting situation on 19th, the Korean team had another chance to get back on ice to race once more. On 21st, racing against Poland, the Korean team had a better teamwork than the opponent, but was not able to win. Comparing the times between the race on 19th and 21st, we can get some numbers to work with. The average time on 19th, before Noh had fallen behind around the tenth split, was 15.11 seconds. Then, on 21st, they had average time at 15.61 seconds. This is interesting to see that Noh had led the group with higher average than when the group switched the lead with other skaters on the second race on 21st. We can conclude that she is more than qualified to compete in the Olympics. She tried her best to lead Korean team to victory. The outcome of the race would have not changed much if she was able to keep up with the average rate they were going around the rink. However, the fact that a teammate had been left behind is something unacceptable in any kind of sports.
Despite the outcomes or numbers, we do not have to focus on Kim and Park for abandoning their teammate and forfeiting a chance to qualify for a medal. We need to remember that these skaters have done more than any of us can do to qualify to be the representative as an Olympic team. However, we need to show love and care to Noh, who had accomplished so much during her time in the Olympics, making the best of her despite the situation that was against her favor. If we only focus on those who have wronged the country, we will forget the one who has suffered the most. The Olympic Games is not about winning the gold medal, but showing sportsmanship and how much people can overcome their physical limitations. It is ultimately about us as people of all nations can gather and support each other not as a competitor but as a family of Olympians.
Alex Shin firstname.lastname@example.org
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