Vancouver Olympic champion figure skater Yuna Kim became the ninth and youngest person inducted into South Korea’s sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday, according to South Korean media.
Kim, 26, would have made it last year — receiving 80 percent of a vote — but was ineligible due to a mandate that inductees must be 50 years or older, according to the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, which reported the rule was abolished this year.
“Those who were inducted into the Hall of Fame were veterans for sports community, and I feel that I’m too young and not qualified to be named a sports hero,” Kim said Wednesday, according to Yonhap News Agency.
Kim made the Hall of Fame this year over candidates including the first South Korean Major League Baseball player (Chan-Ho Park), the first South Korean to win an LPGA Tour event (Se Ri Pak) and South Korea’s all-time national soccer team goals leader (Cha Bum-kun).
Others already in the Hall of Fame include Sohn Kee-chung, who won the 1936 Olympic marathon while South Korea was under Japanese rule, and wrestler Yang Jung-mo, who won the first Olympic gold medal for South Korea as an independent nation at Montreal 1976.
Kim retired after taking a controversial silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and is now a prominent ambassador for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, the first Winter Olympics in South Korea.
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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.
Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.
The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.
Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.
German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.
Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.
Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.
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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.
“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”
Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.
Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.
Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.
Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.
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