South Korean speed skater Noh Seon-yeong decided on Sunday to compete at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics after all, following a roller coaster ride last week that saw her lose and then regain eligibility in a span of days.
Noh learned last Tuesday that she wouldn't be eligible for the team pursuit because she hadn't earned a spot in an individual race at the Olympics. The Olympic qualification rules, set by the International Skating Union (ISU), state that all skaters competing in team pursuit must also have qualified for at least one individual race. The Korea Skating Union (KSU) blamed a mix-up in communication with the ISU for the oversight.
|In this file photo, taken Oct. 20, 2017, South Korean speed skater Noh Seon-yeong competes in the women's 1,500 meters during the National Single Distance Speed Skating Championships at Taereung International Skating Rink in Seoul.|
But on Friday, Noh earned her spot in the women's 1,500 meters, when two of the three Russian skaters who had qualified were dropped from the Russian Olympic Committee's final list. Noh had been the second reserve.
With a spot in the individual race secured, Noh could once again compete in the team pursuit. But it wasn't immediately clear whether Noh would commit, because she had said she wouldn't don the national team uniform again, and publicly took shots at the KSU for leaving her out to dry.
But on her Instagram page on Sunday, Noh, 28, said she wanted to finish off her international career "without regrets."
"The past week has been such a difficult and trying time for me that I had given up everything," Noh wrote. "And it wasn't easy for me to try to do my best at the PyeongChang Olympics, which would be my last. But miraculously, I ended up getting this opportunity. After agonizing over this for a long time, I decided to compete in the Olympics and do the best I can."
Noh reportedly changed her mind after KSU President Kim Sang-hang recently visited her house and apologized for the incident. Kim on Friday made a public apology for the KSU's poor works and vowed to fully support Noh's Olympic preparations.
Noh is expected to join the national team on Monday to resume her training.
Noh is an older sister of former short track star Noh Jin-kyu, who died of bone cancer in 2016. When she was first selected for the Olympic team, she spoke of her desire to dedicate her Olympic performance to her late brother.
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