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Figure skating: Hometown skaters win roars of approval, praise from Kim Yuna

25 February 2018

During the women's speed skating pursuit quarterfinals on Monday, a skater on South Korea's team fell behind during the race and was left in the dust by her own teammates. South Korean President Moon Jae-in championed the effort to allow 12 North Korean players to join the team. They are putting so much importance on the fact that curling is not that popular, and people don't understand how we are doing well. First of all, their nickname relates to their hometown, which is famed for growing garlic. But only two of the curlers, sisters Kim Kyong-ae and Kim Yeong-mi, are actually related.

The home team beat Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation 11-2 on Thursday to continue their winning streak and they ended preliminary round play later in the day with a 9-3 win over Denmark to warm up for a semi-final against Japan on Friday.

"I wasn't interested in either curling or the Olympics but after watching curling games at home, I've started to like them, they're so cool", said the 31-year-old. Almost 600,000 signatures were on an online petition to South Korea's presidential office calling for skaters Kim and Park to be expelled from the Games. "But if they were not as strong, I would not have paid attention". They may have already reached a new level: garlic has many virtues. Dubbed "The Garlic Girls" due to their home region, they have meanwhile given each other some rather unusual nicknames too.

Park added: 'I was very shocked when I crossed the finish line, because that's when I realised Noh was not with us'.

Despite the sudden spike in the team's popularity, they are no flash in the pan - they have been in the sport for more than a decade.

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Kim's global fanbase loves her glasses and has even given her a nickname "Glasses Sister".

"Park knows what she has to do, and I always told her to enjoy the moment and do your best, and that the results will follow", she said.

However, Noh said in an interview with local broadcaster SBS that she had never volunteered to be the third skater and had prepared to be in the middle.

Sporting shocks do not come any bigger than this.

Skip Niklas Edin and his team-mates cruised past Switzerland in the semi-finals, while the U.S. grabbed a huge win over defending champions Canada.

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There's no doubt that Korea has benefitted some from the poor play of other previous tournament favorites, namely Canada and Team OAR.

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Hailing from the Geyonggi Province, she first took to the ice at the age of six. "The team's medical staff did not prescribe the drug to the athlete", the federation said in a post on its official Facebook page".

Earlier, Switzerland inflicted a 7-5 loss on Canada in the men's bronze medal match.

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Figure skating: Hometown skaters win roars of approval, praise from Kim Yuna