(Olympics) Veteran marksman Jin Jong-oh shoots down retirement talks

유지호 / 2021-07-27 11:22:53
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(Olympics) shooter-legacy
▲ Jin Jong-oh of South Korea takes a moment during the first qualification stage of the 10m air pistol mixed team event at the Tokyo Olympics at Asaka Shooting Range in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Yonhap)

▲ Jin Jong-oh of South Korea exits Asaka Shooting Range in Tokyo after being eliminated in the first qualification stage of the 10m air pistol mixed team shooting event at the Tokyo Olympics on July 27, 2021. (Yonhap)

▲ South Korean shooter Jin Jong-oh (R) consoles his teammate Choo Ga-eun after their elimination in the 10m air pistol mixed team event at the Tokyo Olympics at Asaka Shooting Range in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Yonhap)

(Olympics) shooter-legacy

(Olympics) Veteran marksman Jin Jong-oh shoots down retirement talks

By Yoo Jee-ho

TOKYO, July 27 (Yonhap) -- If this indeed was Jin Jong-oh's last Olympic hurrah, it was an anticlimactic way to go for the 41-year-old South Korean pistol shooter.

Jin and his teammate Choo Ga-eun ranked ninth in the first qualification round for the mixed team 10m air pistol event Tuesday at Asaka Shooting Range in Tokyo, where only the top eight advanced to the next qualification stage.

That ended Jin's time at the Tokyo Olympics. Whether this is it for the five-time Olympian remains to be seen, but in the immediate aftermath at least, Jin rejected all retirement talks.

"People ask me about retirement all the time, but honestly, I don't even want to think about that word," Jin said. "This is like telling office workers to leave their company. I made it to the Olympics through the trials, fair and square."

Jin acknowledged, however, that age may have caught up to him.

"I can definitely feel that my concentration isn't the same as before," he said. "My body has changed, too."

As for missing out on another opportunity to win a medal, Jin sighed and said, "I don't even know what to say."

"I'll admit that I just didn't have it," he said. "I guess you can't beat Father Time. I have so many different feelings going through my mind right now. I can't describe them in words."

Jin arrived in Tokyo with six medals from his previous four Olympics, four golds and two silvers. He had won three of those gold medals in the 50m pistol, but that event was dropped from the Tokyo Olympics. But because Jin had also been successful in the 10m pistol, national team officials were confident that the veteran would extend his medal-winning streak to five Olympics in Tokyo.

But Jin didn't even get past the qualification in the 10m individual event Saturday. Then came his final opportunity in the team event Tuesday. Jin and Choo were tied at 575 points with Haniyeh Rostamiyan and Javad Foroughi of Iran, but the latter team had more shots in the center, 18-13.

A medal here would have made Jin the most decorated South Korean Olympian ever, breaking a tie with former archer Kim Soo-nyung.

Jin already owns an Olympic record with four gold medals in individual shooting events: 50m pistol gold medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016, and a 10m air pistol gold in 2012.

Jin began his Olympic career in 2004 in Athens. He famously blew a late lead and settled for silver in the 50m pistol before going on to win the next three gold medals in that event.

Jin has seen it all and done it all in the Olympics, suffering a heartbreaking collapse and breaking others' hearts with his marksmanship.

He will leave the shooting range at some point. Whenever that may be, Jin will do so knowing that his place in Olympic lore is secure.

(END)

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