I have Park Tae Hwan fever, and I won’t apologize for it. The 18 yr-old South Korean won his country’s first swimming gold ever yesterday in the 400 meter swim final. I saw it in real time and then several times after that. It was almost hard to believe how many times Korean stations replayed the whole race. Today in class my fourth graders begged for another viewing. One even pulled it up on the computer while I was out of the room. By now the whole country must have every stroke and flip turn memorized.
But I can dig it. I miss obsessing over the Olympics as an American. We have so many other sports leagues throughout the year that the Olympics sometime seem like anything else. But in Korea the Olympics are still very special. The Korean baseball league has even taken a 3-week hiatus so their athletes can compete without missing any games.
It is kind of infectous. Our grocer watched badminton as she scaned our groceries yesterday and in the electronics department of a department store Saturday a salesman let out a yelp when the Korean judo gold medalist, Choi Minho flipped his opponent.
So as I have spent several afternoons watching Koreans perform in judo, archery, badminton, power lifting and soccer(all the sports you don’t watch back home) it only seemed natural to rise up out of my seat when Tae Hwan out pushed the others in the 400 meter freestyle yesterday. Or maybe all the kimchi and soju has officially gone to my head.