Je-Un Park is the only athlete from the Olympic host country of Korea to take part in Nordic Combined events. In TUESDAY TALK, he speaks about scoring World Cup points for the first time in the past winter, the big Olympic highlight coming up and other goals for he winter.
How did you spend the pre-Olympic summer?
Je-Un Park: We started with our season preparation in PyeongChang in May. Until August, we stayed in Korea to train and shortly before the Summer Grand Prix, the Korean ski jumping team and myself had a training camp in Oberstdorf as well as in Planica.
Like Switzerland’s Tim Hug, you are a “solo fighter” in a team with just one athlete. How difficult is this situation?
Park: To be the only athlete can be quite difficult when you’re traveling. It’s a little better when you’re in the season and meet all the other athletes but especially in spring and summer, it can get quite lonely. Some other teams and athletes might be envious that I have coaches and team staff just for myself but the general situation it’s not always easy, to be honest.
With the Olympic Games coming up in your home country of Korea, you are probably facing one of the biggest seasons of your career. What are your goals?
Park: I think it is glorious to have the Olympics in my home country. I’m sure it will be memorable Games. Many Koreans do not know about Nordic Combined yet. So it is my goal to deliver a nice competition because I want as many people as possible to find out about and fall in love with this amazing sport.
Will we see you in the World Cup again until then? What are your other goals for the winter?
Park: Yes, definitely, we’ll see each other at the first World Cup weekend in Ruka. Last year, I only managed to get one World Cup point in Korea. In this winter, I want more World Cup points, and I’d like to get them as well in the competitions in Europe.
As you said, you received your first World Cup point in PyeongChang last year. A big moment for you?
Park: Yes, it was so exciting! So many people praised me and gave me encouragement. It was great for my self-esteem. As this is not the end yet, I think the presentation of the Korean team will get even better. (laughs)