South Korean moguls team falls short, but future bright: Daw­son

Proud of skiers who fin­ished 11th, 27th and 28th in men’s event

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

PYEONGCHANG: South Korean skiers fell well short of win­ning a medal in the men’s moguls at the Pyeongchang Olympics, sees a promis­ing future. The 38year-old Korean Amer­i­can, who helped bring the games to South Korea, was proud of his skiers who fin­ished 11th, 27th and 28th in the men’s moguls event.

“The point for me com­ing over here was not only to pro­duce a medal or to get these ath­letes to a re­ally World Cup sta­tus, but also start a grass­roots pro­gramme,” Daw­son told Reuters Tele­vi­sion. “That’s the legacy I would like to leave.”

The Win­ter Games also marked an im­por­tant chap­ter in Daw­son’s re­mark­able per­sonal story. He was born in South Korea’s Bu­san where, at the age of three, he was sep­a­rated from his mother in a busy mar­ket­place. Un­able to find his par­ents, the po­lice sent him to an or­phan­age where he was adopted by two Amer­i­can ski in­struc­tors from Vail, Colorado. His first taste of ski­ing was whizzing down a moun­tain slope tucked in­side his adop­tive fa­ther’s back­pack.

Soon he was given a pair of skis and was hooked. He even­tu­ally took up freestyle ski­ing, fin­ished fifth on his World Cup de­but at 20 and won his first world cham­pi­onship medal four years later. But it was his bronze in moguls at the 2006 Turin Win­ter Olympics that made him a hero in South Korea.

De­spite his Amer­i­can pass­port, Daw­son was treated as one the coun­try’s own. He also had the op­por­tu­nity to find his bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents, some­thing his adop­tive mother had hoped for. “She was al­ways se­cretly root­ing for me to make it to the Olympics be­cause she thought that would be the plat­form for me to be ac­tu­ally re­united with my bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents. I guess that moth­erly in­tu­ition is cor­rect,” he said.

South Korea’s min­istry of tourism dis­cov­ered likely ge­netic matches for his bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents and when Daw­son sent his blood sam­ples, they found his bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther Kim Jae-soo.

PUB­LIC RE­UNION

What fol­lowed in Fe­bru­ary, 2007 was a very pub­lic re­union - a news con­fer­ence at­tended by dozens of re­porters and TV crews. “It was hard. It was very sur­real,” Daw­son said of that ini­tial meet­ing and the in­tense pub­lic scru­tiny.

After spend­ing time with Kim he could see they shared sim­i­lar fa­cial fea­tures. “I was like wow, this is like look­ing into a mir­ror for when I am much, much older,” Daw­son said. He would meet his bi­o­log­i­cal mother a few years later and main­tains a good re­la­tion­ship with his par­ents and bi­o­log­i­cal brother.

“I have just added to my fam­ily re­ally, no hard feel­ings or any­thing like that. I don’t hold any­thing against them,” he said. Daw­son was part of the bid team for the 2018 Games and later agreed to coach the moguls team. Three men and two women qual­i­fied for the fi­nals at Pyeongchang, but did not make the podium. “We prob­a­bly won’t see a good surge for an­other two or three Olympic cy­cles and at that point we are hope­fully go­ing to be putting to­gether a strong Korean con­tin­gency that will go on

I have just added to my fam­ily re­ally

for a long time,” he said. Daw­son’s coach­ing con­tract is up in April. He has not made a de­ci­sion about the future, but he is grate­ful for how his life has un­folded. “Man I am so lucky,” he said. “I have had so many cool op­por­tu­ni­ties. I have had so many cool sit­u­a­tions in my life be­cause of be­ing adopted.”

SEOUL: File photo shows Toby Daw­son and his bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther Kim Jae-Su are re­united in Seoul on Feb. 28, 2007.

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