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Don’t Call Them ‘Garlic Girls’: South Korean Curlers Become Olympic Rock Stars

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GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - Forget Lindsey Vonn and Adam Rippon. The real rock personalities of the Pyeongchang Olympics are a very humble group associated with Korean curlers which possess no idea they’ve turn into a global sensation.

They will are known as often the “Garlic Girls, ” typically the Southern region Korean women’s curling crew with the fairy story story in whose name demonstrates the regionally renowned garlic clove grown inside their hometown. By no means considered a good medal challenger coming into Pyeongchang, that they have risen to Simply no. a single in the ratings, earning world-wide attention regarding their fierce talent and even funny individuality.

Nevertheless often the Garlic Girls happen to be almost totally sheltered in the global frenzy both simply by private choice — they transferred off their phones throughout the games to block exterior interest — and by way of a shielding coach who also is keenly which curling is as much a good mind game as a actual physical one.

South Korea's Kim Seonyeong, left, sweeps snow with a teammate during their match up against Russian athletes within the 2018 Winter Olympics inside Gangneung, South Korea, February. 21 years old, 2018.
? Famous and they don't know it

After a new current match, the females were swiftly shuffled recent waiting reporters, giving media apologetic smiles and hi of “Anyonghaseyo! ” (hello) before vanishing. None of them, says coach Betty Min-jung, are conscious that will they’ve become high flyers.

“I’m sorry that My spouse and i weren't able to bring the athletes nowadays, due to the fact I’m worried generally there will be excessive tension and burden on them, ” Kim said. “Even the crowd is too considering them. ”

That fascination is understandable. The Garlic Girls seem tailor-made with regard to stardom.

The wildly skilled underdogs came into typically the Olympics ranked eighth found in the world plus proceeded to go on to crush styling heavyweights including The us plus Sweden. They are cute in addition to comical, referring to them selves by quirky nicknames including “Pancake” and “Steak. ”

Two teammates are usually siblings and all are longtime friends, creating alluring chemistry in the ice. Typically the team’s “skip, ” or maybe captain, provides a steely eyes and cool, owl-eyed drinking glasses that have grow to be hitch for endless World wide web memes.

Screaming fans

Numerous Koreans who have never observed a curling match have traveled to remote Gangneung to be able to peek at their particular nation’s new darlings around person.

“I’m very proud of them, ” said Lee Ji Sun, the 26-year-old who had by no means been inside a curling arena before Wednesday’s complement. “They are showing we can excel even at new sport occasions. ”

Every match presenting this team is packed along with shouting, flag-fluttering Koreans which step to their feet to cheer on typically the women’s stunningly precise photos. One fan within the group Wednesday waved just what made an appearance to be a hand-drawn face of skip Ellie Eun-jung with her figure spectacles.
Southerly Korea's can certainly curling team celebrate just after beating Russian athletes while in their match with the 2018 Winter Olympics within Gangneung, South Korea, February. 21, 2018.
? Late into the game of curling

Of which curling has gained any kind of dominance in Korea will be amazing in itself. Korea didn’t even have a group throughout Olympic curling until the 2014 Sochi Online games.

It took Koreans a short time to wake up in order to curling, largely because this region lacked sufficient services until recent years, Betty Young, some sort of curling story who started this Korean Curling Club in 1988, stated by email. Right now, this individual says, Korea has six to eight dedicated curling arenas, and plenty of schools have curling clubs.

In 2006, South Korea’s first of all curling center has been integrated the rural community of Uiseong. Four regarding the five business friends joined Uiseong Women’s High school graduation, exactly where they were on often the school’s curling team. Uiseong’s popularity as the nation’s default curling capital little by little grew, and the curling centre has hosted about 18 major residential and foreign curling events.

Garlic and even those nicknames

Nevertheless, right until the women’s team started out their surprise winning skills in Pyeongchang, Uiseong was initially better known for it is productive garlic oil production.

Koreans take into account garlic clove a wellness food items that boosts stamina. Web optimization Eun Ha, a new 26-year-old Garlic oil Girls supporter, thinks garlic may need contributed to the particular team’s success. ( 컬링 credit the women’s very good team-work and robust interactions. )

Like numerous followers from Gangneung, Seo is specially hintergrund of the curlers’ strange nicknames: Sunny, Steak, Hot cake, Annie (a brand associated with yogurt) and ChoCho (a form of cookie).

“I assume their own nicknames go well with their vibrant photographs, ” Seo mentioned. “I like ‘Steak’ by far the most. That sounds so funny and even unique. ”

The nicknames started as a good gag over breakfast one day, claimed Kim, the train. The women had been talking regarding how hard it was basically for additional countries’ sports athletes to pronounce their own titles at international contests. All of five team members and the coach also share the same surname — Kim, which is very common in Korea — making their names a lot more confounding for foreign people.

Kim Seon-yeong, who seemed to be eating some sort of sunny-side-up deep-fried egg, joked that the woman could pass the brand “Sunny. ” One other women of all ages loved the idea. They each opted to nickname themselves after the English words with regard to their favorite breakfast meals, foreseeing that would become easier for others to know.

Although the women’s workforce is getting the nearly all attention, Korean fans possess been recently planning wild for the men, too. Immediately after Wednesday’s men’s fit, a new gambler from the Korean language team began throwing T-shirts into the crowd, which often surged forward with outstretched biceps.

Kim Heae Darm, a good fan who hopped up and managed in order to snag a shirt marining overhead, constrained it for you to her face together with cried with glee. She in that case turned to capturing the awareness of Korean merged doubles player Lee Ki-jeong, who else scrawled his autograph in her notebook.

Since she struggled to catch her breath, she revealed her excitement by noting that Lee was strong, fitness and “very attractive. ”

As for often the achievement from the women’s staff, Kim, typically the founder involving the curling membership, could not be prouder. “They are usually heroes! ” this individual claimed.

Yet the Garlic Women do have one ask: Might be someone could come up with a better team name for them?

“We would prefer the particular name ‘Team .k, ’” Kim, the discipline, mentioned with a laugh. “Because although our hometown is definitely Uiseong — which is related to garlic — many of us have virtually no romantic relationship having garlic in any way. ”

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