Football star Son Heung-min named S. Korea’s favorite athlete in poll

October 31, 2019




South Korean men’s national football captain Son Heung-min has been named the country’s favorite athlete in a national survey released Thursday.

Son topped the poll conducted by Gallup Korea on people’s favorite athletes. He earned 35 percent of support from 1,700 South Koreans aged 13 or older. The poll was conducted from May 9-25.

During the 2018-2019 season with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, Son netted 20 goals, the second-highest total of his career. Four of those came during the Spurs’ run to their first UEFA Champions League final.

Son is tied with retired legend Cha Bum-kun for most career goals by a South Korean player in Europe with 121.

Son has also excelled representing South Korea in recent years. Son scored a goal as South Korea stunned then-world No. 1 Germany 2-0 during the group stage at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Also last year, Son helped South Korea to the gold medal at the Asian Games in Indonesia.

In the Gallup poll, Son beat out major league pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin (14 percent), who’s been with the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2013 and is a free agent this offseason.

When the survey was conducted, Ryu was in the midst of a dominant stretch. The left-hander was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for May, after going 5-0 in six starts. That month, he posted a tidy 0.59 ERA and enjoyed a 32-inning scoreless streak.

Coming in at third was retired Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na (12 percent), who has remained omnipresent as an ice show host and an ambassador for multiple corporate brands.

The poll had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points and a 95 percent confidence level.