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2009 Year in Review: Sports & Culture

2009/12/24 | 427 views | Permalink | Source

The reigning queen of figure skating Kim Yu-na kicked off the year, winning her first senior-level gold medal at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in February.
The 19-year-old superstar then continued on a roll becoming the world's first female skater to surpass a combined score of 200 points at the World Figure Skating Championships, a record she herself soon broke at the 2009 Trophee Eric Bompard in October.
The figure skating prodigy continued her winning streak through the Grand Prix Final in Tokyo, sweeping every competition she attended this year.
March was a month of baseball fever as the Olympic gold medal-winning Team Korea sailed to the finals at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
The national team shut out Taiwan, China and Japan in the regional round, and triumphed over Mexico, Japan and Venezuela to meet the defending champions Team Japan for the fifth and final time in the finals.
Korea's Lee Bum-ho hit a homer to tie the game in the ninth inning, but Japan's Ichiro Suzuki hit a two-run homer in the tenth to lead Japan to a 5-3 victory.
Over in the MLB, Choo Shin-soo of the Cleveland Indians joined the 20-20 club, becoming the first Asian to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a single season.
On the soccer field, the South Korean national team secured its seventh consecutive entry into the World Cup, which will be held in South Africa next year.
The country's youth soccer team also made it to the quarterfinals this year, at the Under-17 World Cup held in Nigeria.
The PGA discovered a hidden talent from Asia this summer when the 37-year-old Yang Yong-eun defeated the world's number one golfer Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship.
In women's golf former LPGA Rookie of the Year Shin Ji-yai came just a point short of earning the Player of the Year title getting edged out by Lorena Ochoa.
Weightlifter Jang Mi-ran once again proved herself a world-class competitor at the 2009 World Weightlifting Championships in Goyang, north of Seoul, and claimed her fourth straight international title, setting a new world combined record of 323 kilograms.
In men's clean and jerk event, Sa Jae-hyouk brought home Korea's first gold medal in 18 years, while also breaking a record with a lift of 205 kilograms.
Meanwhile, there were some distinguished achievements by Koreans in culture as well.
Topping the list was world-renowned film director Park Chan-wook who made headlines with his latest vampire flick "Thirst", which garnered him the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
The movie about a priest-turned-vampire who struggles against his bloodthirsty instincts was named one of the year's Top 10 Movies by TIME magazine and was also included in British daily The Times' list of the 100 Best Films of 2009.
In 2009 for the second time Korean singer/actor Rain made the TIME 100 list.
After his 2008 Hollywood debut appearing in the movie Speed Racer the entertainer starred in the martial arts action film Ninja Assassin further establishing himself on the international stage.
Another famous Korean actor Lee Byung-hun leapt into Hollywood playing the role of Storm Shadow in G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
With 2009 having been such a productive year for Koreans in sports and culture, expectations are high for what will be produced in 2010.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.

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