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Distraught roller skater apologizes for costly premature celebration

Oct. 2, 2023 - 15:14 By Yonhap

South Korean roller skaters Choi Kwang-ho, Jung Cheol-won and Choi In-ho (L to R) react after seeing the final results of the men's speed skating 3,000-meter relay at the Asian Games at Qintang Roller Sports Centre in Hangzhou, China, on Monday. (Yonhap)

HANGZHOU -- Following a crushing defeat at the finish line of a roller skating relay final at the Asian Games in Hangzhou on Monday, South Korean skater Jung Cheol-won had little else to say but sorry.

Jung was the anchor for South Korea in the men's 3,000-meter relay final at Qintang Roller Sports Centre, with Choi In-ho and Choi Gwang-ho also joining him. Thinking he'd beaten Huang Yu-Lin of Chinese Taipei at the finish, Jung raised his arms in celebration.

That came a fraction of a second too soon. Huang stuck out his left leg as he crossed the line, and Chinese Taipei ended up taking the gold medal in 4:05.692. South Korea finished in 4:05.702.

"I just made a huge mistake," Jung said after the medal ceremony, his voice barely audible. "I am really sorry to my teammates and to fans who were cheering us on."

Asked if he figured he had a big enough lead to celebrate, Jung said, "Now, I can only think of how sorry I am to have made such a big mistake."

As for his conversation with his two teammates, Jung said: "I told them I was really sorry that I let my guard down too early and didn't finish my race. We all worked very hard together for this, and it's all my fault."