K-Lifestyle Wiki

Contemporary Sports

South Korea ranked 7th overall in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games. The country has shown great performances at international competitions with top 10 finishes, including 8th at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics and 5th at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Korea has also produced one of the best athletes in the world. Kim Yuna continued to break world records in figure skating, a field which used to be dominated by Western athletes. Choo Shin-soo is also an active player in US Major League Baseball, while golfer Park In-bee made the country proud by winning a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

How South Korea Became a Sporting Powerhouse

The most important factors behind South Korea’s transformation into a sporting powerhouse are the country’s large number of sports lovers and efficient investment. The country strives to find promising young athletes, train them efficiently, and help them build their skills by accumulating a wealth of experience in domestic competitions. There are also professional sporting facilities dedicated solely to the training of athletes selected for international events such as the Olympic Games or the Asian Games.

National Sports Infrastructure

Soccer is one of Korea’s most popular sports. The K League (Korea Professional Football League) runs from March to November each year, with fierce competition among 12 regional teams. Enthusiastic cheering by the Red Devils, the national team’s supporting group, is also a sight to behold. There are a number of South Korean footballers who have succeeded on the global stage, including Park Ji-sung, who played for Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min, and Ki Sung-yueng at Newcastle United.
Koreans also love playing soccer. Many South Korean soccer lovers gather together early in the morning of a holiday to enjoy the sport. The number of people who have joined grassroots football teams stands at around 500,000 nationwide.
The country’s sports infrastructure is solid and wide-ranging. According to the 2016 Sports White Paper published by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, there were 115,303 sports clubs with 5,579,640 members, representing 10.8% of the total population.
The popularity of baseball in the country is no less than that of football. There are a total of ten teams in the KBO league. In 2017, some 8.4 million people visited stadiums to enjoy professional baseball games. More Korean players making their way to Major League Baseball, including Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin, Texas Rangers right fielder Choo Shin-soo, and Colorado Rockies pitcher Oh Seung-hwan, have also helped boost people’s interest in the sport.
Over the past few years, the number of marathon clubs has increased drastically. In spring and fall, marathon competitions are held every weekend all over the country. An amateur marathon competition attracts thousands or even tens of thousands of participants. More than 20,000 people, professionals, and amateurs, are taking part in major marathon events.
As a mountainous country, South Korea has an ideal environment for mountain climbers and hikers. There are many mountains near large cities, enabling city dwellers to enjoy mountain climbing and hiking conveniently. The country also has many popular rock climbing spots.
In recent years, the hilly trails of Jejudo Island have emerged as a favorite destination for hikers. Amid the new hiking boom, local governments have vied with each other in their efforts to establish good hiking paths.
Bike riding has also become the focus of attention as an environmentally friendly sport, and the number of cycling clubs has increased accordingly. A vast network of bike paths has been established across the country, and many people now enjoy cycling along the country’s major rivers on weekends.
Korea has systematically conducted professional sports research. Specialists in various fields, ranging from sports dynamics to psychology and physiology, help athletes achieve the best possible results in competitions.
The Korea Institute of Sport Science (KISS) is leading the scientific training of national athletes. KISS, formerly the Sports Science Research Center, has incorporated science and technology into training for various sports since its foundation. The institute has established a sports science center composed of some 30 experts with masters and doctoral degrees as well as assisted athletes aiming for medals since the Rio Summer Olympics. In 2011, the country built a new training facility in Jincheon, Chungcheongbukdo Province for athletes selected for international events. With an aim to completely replace the Taereung Training Center, an expansion project was completed in September 2017. The Jincheon Training Center can accommodate up to 1,150 athletes in 35 different sports, which is five times the capacity of the Taereung Training Center.
Meanwhile, the 51-year history of the Taereung Training Center, which has led the sports science of South Korea with its own track field and various training facilities since 1966, came to an end after completing its relocation to the Jincheon Training Center in 2017. Another facility specializing in the enhancement of athletes’ cardiopulmonary functions is in Hambaeksan Mountain near Taebaek.

Source: Korean Culture and Information Service 'Facts about Korea'

ReplyPlease leave a comment about any information you wanted to add!
Diana Gabaldon
3 months ago

Koreans' will and persistence deserve recognition. Korea has produced many great and great players, and they are doing so well by promoting Korea abroad.

Diana Gabaldon
3 months ago

Running and climbing, hiking with a mask on is still too hard for me!!! errrrrrrr I want to go out and move so much, and staying home is frustrating.....

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

According to a survey about the most popular sports in South Korea in 2019, around 56.7 percent of respondents stated that they took walks as their favorite sport, while another 32.4 percent chose hiking. Aside from these top two favorite sports, indoor sports activities such as gymnastics, bodybuilding, and bowling are gaining more popularity recently. That year, about 66.6 percent of the respondents were taking part in regular sports activities at least once a week.

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

The revenue of the sporting goods industry in South Korea is larger than any other sports segment. Its biggest sector is sports clothes and shoes. However, the South Korean sportswear market has continued to remain sluggish in recent years. It is mainly due to the decreased sales of outdoor clothing brands led by lower consumption of mid-aged people. Also, the sportswear market is occupied by global brands such as Nike and Adidas, so the trade deficit continues to increase. Accordingly, the sports goods industry is trying to develop products in various fields such as leisure goods, camping goods, and water sports goods.

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

Since the 2002 FIFA Korea-Japan World Cup, Koreans have shown an increased interest in professional sports. Ticket sales at matches and other sporting events grew by 40 percent since 2014. Domestic sports spectators totaled 11.5 million in 2017. The four major spectator sports were baseball, soccer, basketball, and volleyball. In particular, professional baseball has gained younger fans as they enjoy going to the stadium as a form of entertainment. As of 2017, the professional baseball league (KBO League) attracted the largest audience in its history. As Korea's professional sports are based on a city where the home stadium is located, each local government is trying to attract a professional sports industry that will have a positive effect on the local economy.

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

Sports facilities in South Korea are diversifying because of people who want to try out new sports. In particular, the number of fitness studios has increased by 150 percent compared to a decade ago, which shows that the number of people participating in sports regularly has increased. Recently, fitness studios have expanded their offerings to provide personal training or scientific fitness management services; allowing people to enjoy sports more efficiently and smartly. The golf population is also rising, along with the size of golf facilities. The number of outdoor practice ranges and indoor or screen golf courses has also increased significantly. Screen golf courses have specifically gained popularity as people can easily practice golf regardless of the weather or time of day.

Willy Liman
3 months ago

#Fact8 A white tiger named Soohorang is the mascot of the this year's Winter Olympics. The white tiger has been long considered a guardian in Korean history and culture, according to the Games website. "Sooho," meaning "protection" in Korean, symbolizes the protection offered to the athletes, spectators and other participants of the Games. "Rang" comes from the middle letter of" Ho-rang-i," the Korean word for "tiger," and is also the last letter of "Jeong-seon A-ri-rang," a traditional folk song of Gangwon province, which governs Pyeongchang, according to the Games website.

Willy Liman
3 months ago

#Fact7 South Korean designer Lee Suk-woo created the medals for the 2018 Games. Inspired by the texture of tree trunks, the medals feature a design of dynamic diagonal lines and three-dimensional characters from Hangeul, the Korean alphabet. The teal and red ribbon from which the medal hangs was made using Gapsa, a traditional South Korean fabric, and is embroidered with Hangeul patterns and other designs. The gold medal weighs the most at 586 grams. A total of 259 sets of medals have been made for the 2018 Winter Olympics, according to the Games official website.

Willy Liman
3 months ago

#Fact6 The International Olympic Committee added some new events for the 2018 Winter Olympics: big air snowboarding, freestyle skiing, mass start speed skating and mixed doubles curling.

Willy Liman
3 months ago

#Fact5 Opening and closing ceremonies will occur at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, a temporary venue that can seat 35,000 spectators. All competition venues are located within 30 minutes driving distance from the stadium. The Pyeongchang Olympic village is housing up to 3,894 athletes and team officials during the 2018 Winter Games, while a second village in Gangneung is accommodating more than 2,900 personnel.