Korea's Yong LEE successful in politics
Seoul (FIL/23 Oct 2023) Yong LEE has written luge history in South Korea. The former Korean athlete participated twice in Olympic Winter Games. In 1998 in Nagano (JAP) and twelve years later at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver (CAN), he was the only luger from the Republic of Korea to qualify. Today, Lee Yong is a politician in his home country and a legend in the history of Korean luge.
For FIL-Luge.org we spoke with the former luge athlete, who is now a strong advocate of the sport in Korean politics:
Mr. Lee, when did you enter politics and what is your current role?
Yong Lee: “I’ve stepped into the politics by 21st Korean National Assembly back in 2020. Currently, I’m working in Culture, sports and tourism committee of the national assembly to expand Korean sports and K-culture, and also as a member of finance settlement committee who deliberate and confirm the Korean government budget.”
What skills and lessons have you learned in your luge career that you are now using in your role as a politician?
Yong Lee: “In my opinion, the most important two values of sport luge are strength to deal with extreme speed and challenging spirit not to afraid of adventure. The strength I built up during my luge career made me possible to deeply concentrate on super busy parliamentary work, and my challenging spirit from luge helped me never fear to anything in any field.”
Do you miss being a full-time luge athlete? If so, what aspects do you miss?
Yong Lee: “I often remind of memories with my teammates training for Olympic games. It was like a dream that I can train for the Olympic which is the most great sports festival in the world and I made it to the Olympic games. This would last for my life.”
What were your most memorable experiences in the sport of luge?
Yong Lee: “Every moment representing Korea Republic as a luge athlete is precious and unforgettable. But if one must be picked, I’d say my first Olympic games in 1998, Nagano. The tremors of that time in dream stage are still so fresh.”
Are you involved in luge at the upcoming Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
Yong Lee: “I’d like to mention that I proposed ‘2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games support bill’ as a delegate back in 2020 to host the event successfully. Not only this, I’m working closely on Sports as a member of Culture, sports and tourism committee of the national assembly. Since there is not much time left until Gangwon 2024, I’ll do my very best to make it success.”
Do you still have connections to the sport of luge? Are there still contacts with athletes or officials?
Yong Lee: “Of course, yes. I’m still in touch with many luge officials. Personally, I work very closely with Mr. Lim, the vice president of Korea Luge Federation, to expand and improve Luge in Korea.”
Why do you think that luge at the upcoming YOG will be a major success and of major interest to the fans?
Yong Lee: “Luge is the sports competing with time. The rank is changing in instant moment by a thousandth of a second. Try not to miss any single moment of sliding. It also would be interesting to watch each single, double and team relay and figure out for the difference.”
What is your most important piece of advice for young luge athletes of today, as they focus on YOG?
Yong Lee: “Everything in the world is nothing without safety. I really would like to tell them it’s of course important to show great performance in the Olympic, but safety should always come first. I wish every team comes to fruition and I’ll cheer for everyone.”
Thank you, Mr. Yong Lee and good luck for your future work!