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Korean Olympic Athletes Back Home to Hero's Welcome
Korean Olympic athletes back home to hero's welcome.
Photo Courtesy of E-daily

Cheers went up at Incheon airport on Aug. 25 as South Korea's Olympic athletes returned home to a hero's welcome after winning a record 13 gold medals in Beijing.

Fans shouted "Dae-han-min-guk!" — the Korean name for South Korea — as swimming gold medalist Park Tae-hwan and women's weightlifting champion Jang Mi-ran led athletes through the exit gate of Incheon International Airport, waving national flags.

The Korea Sports Council planned a celebration in downtown Seoul for the athletes, who inspired Olympic fever across the country over the past 18 days. Korea scored its best-ever result in the Olympics with 13 gold, 10 silver and 8 bronze medals, with swimming sensation Park bringing South Korea its first swimming gold in the men's 400-meter event. South Korea's baseball team also beat defending champion Cuba to win Asia's first gold in the competition. South Korea ranked 7th in the overall medal count, two notches higher than in Athens.

Police blocked traffic on major streets in front of the Sejong Art Center, where a ceremony will be held for the athletes later in the day. The athletes will then march toward Seoul City Hall to attend a welcoming home festival. About 20,000 people were expected to participate in the gala, police said.

Athletes used to end their Olympic journey with a ceremony at the airport, but the sports council decided to hold the event in downtown this year in honor of their excellent performance, said council official Lee Soon-hee.

The athletes will have a luncheon with President Lee Myung-bak in the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday, the official said. (Yonhap News)






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