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Top 10 Korean Sports Stories of 2013

December 17, 2013

Compiled by Yonhap 

Choo, left, and Ryu even faced each other in 2013.

Choo, left, and Ryu even faced each other in 2013.

1. Ryu Hyun-jin and Choo Shin-soo’s tremendous season in Major League Baseball.

Ryu was better than advertised in his rookie season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Choo set himself up nicely for the free agent market while playing for the Cincinnati Reds. Ryu, 26, silenced all the doubters with 3.00 ERA and 14 wins, and Choo, 31, is waiting for a contract in excess of $100 million after becoming the first lead-off hitter in National League history to record 20 home runs, 20 steals, 100 walks, and 100 runs, all in a single season.

Park Inbee had an amazing year.

Park Inbee had an amazing year.

2. Rise of Park Inbee

Park had an amazing year en route to becoming the No. 1 ranked female golfer in the world. She became the first woman golfer to win three consecutive major titles since Baba Zaharias, and also became the first ever Korean to win the Player of the Year honors.

3. Korean soccer secures eighth consecutive trip to the World Cup

After much turmoil, Korea became just the sixth country in the world to secure an eighth consecutive trip to the World Cup.

4. Return of Kim Yuna

Kim Yuna is well on her way to defend her Olympic figure skating title, as she has returned to win the World Championship and Golden Spin of Zagreb.

5. Samsung Lions’ three-peat

The Samsung Lions, Korea’s New York Yankees, were down 3-1 after Game 4 of Korean Series, but came back to take next three to complete the trifecta in dramatic fashion. The Lions are the first Korean baseball team to win both regular season and postseason title three years in-a-row.

South Korea's Lee Sang-hwa celebrates her new world record during the ladies 500-meter competition at the World Cup speedskating event in Calgary, Alberta, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. Lee's time of 36.74 seconds at the Olympic Oval in Calgary erased the previous mark of 36.80 she'd set in Calgary on Jan. 20. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)

South Korea’s Lee Sang-hwa celebrates her new world record during the ladies 500-meter competition at the World Cup speedskating event in Calgary, Alberta, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. Lee’s time of 36.74 seconds at the Olympic Oval in Calgary erased the previous mark of 36.80 she’d set in Calgary on Jan. 20. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)

6. Lee Sang-hwa’s world record-setting parade

Korean female speed skater Lee Sang-hwa, 24, was truly the “Beast from the Far East”, as she broke her 500m record three-times in span of only eight days in November – twice in Canada, and once in Salt Lake City, Utah.

7. Match-fixing scandals

All four of Korea’s major professional sports leagues ― baseball, soccer, basketball and volleyball ― have been rocked by game rigging in recent years, and the circle of disgrace continued with basketball. In 2013, former star point guard and Dongbu head coach Kang Dong-hee was sentenced to ten months in prison and banned from basketball for life.

8. Pohang Steelers’ dramatic triumph

The Pohang Steelers’ win in K-League finals this year is said to be the most dramatic in league history. Pohang, without any foreign players, scored in added time to complete the FA Cup and the K-League Cup double.

9. The first $7-million contract in Korean baseball history

Free agent catcher Kang Min-ho, 28, and the Lotte Giants agreed to 4-year contract worth 7.5 billion won ($7.14 million) on 13th. It’s the largest contract since Korean baseball allowed free agency back in 2000.

A total of 52.35 billion won ($49.8 million) was spent on 15 free agents this winter.

10. Hong Myung-bo becomes the manager of Korean national soccer team

The Korean Football Association named former star player of its national team Hong Myung-bo, 44, as the manager of the Brazil-bound Korean national team on June 24. Koreans are already very happy with the World Cup draw as they’ve been grouped with Belgium, Russia, and Algeria.

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