Winter Olympics: South Korea's 'Iron Man' Yun wins first Asian sliding gold

Gold medallist Yun Sung Bin of South Korea posing at the victory ceremony on Feb 16, 2018.
Gold medallist Yun Sung Bin of South Korea posing at the victory ceremony on Feb 16, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

PYEONGCHANG (REUTERS) - South Korea's "Iron Man" Yun Sung Bin rocketed to the men's skeleton gold on Friday (Feb 16) and became the first athlete outside Europe or North America to win an Olympic sliding medal after dominating the event at the Pyeongchang Games.

Yun, who won the hosts' second gold of the Games, finished 1.63 seconds ahead of Nikita Tregubov, an Olympic Athlete from Russia, while Briton Dom Parsons took bronze after five-time world champion and Olympic silver medallist Martins Dukurs of Latvia made mistakes in his final run.

Parsons' bronze was the first skeleton medal for a British male since 1948. British women, however, have been an ever constant on the podium since the sport was re-introduced to the Winter Olympics programme in 2002.

The 23-year-old Yun was the most consistent performer throughout the competition and headed into the decisive fourth and final run with a lead of more than a second.

With only a potential disaster to stop him from securing gold, "Iron Man" again delivered the fastest run down the ice to seal his victory.

"He has always been incredible and outstanding, he's a hidden gem and people are starting to recognise his value," said Kim Joon Ho, a childhood friend of Yun's.

Yun, who races in an Iron Man-style helmet and red racing suit, has emerged as a Winter Olympics super hero for the host country, with excited crowds flocking to watch him compete.

Yun Sung Bin arriving at the finish area. PHOTO: REUTERS   

Yun thundered over the finish line at over 125kmh in front of a euphoric home crowd where he took off his helmet and gave a deep bow on his hands and knees.

"I texted him last night and told him not to feel too much pressure," Yun's friend Kim added, holding a banner saying "Sung Bin! We're here. Let's get the gold!"

"He said he'll do as usual," said Kim.