A large group of Korean-Americans across the southeast gather together for some friendly competition.
By Anna Kim
The 37th Korean American Southeastern Summer Olympics took place at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee on June 9th and 10th.
This two day event was jam packed with over a dozen sporting events. With around 15,000 participants of all-ages and 35 dedicated volunteers, the event kicked off and ended without a hitch.
500 players competed in 13 different sport entries: golf, soccer, track and field, basketball, volleyball, foot volleyball, table tennis, tennis, Tae Kwon Do, badminton, swimming, bowling, and tug-of-war.
Among the 15 participating associations from the southeast, team Atlanta took first place for the fifth year in a row while Montgomery placed second and Raleigh placed third.
Team Atlanta was thrilled with being the champion for the fifth year in a row.
“We are so happy about what our team has achieved in the most successful Korean sports event,” said Il Hong Kim, Senior Vice President of Korean American Association of Greater Atlanta. “I really appreciate all the staff and volunteers who were assiduous about their duties. All in all, we feel proud of all the players who have honed and shown their skills with no regrets.”
While the players were what drew the crowd, the endless work of the volunteers made these games glorious.However, Koreans were not the only volunteers present. Many Americans also participated in the event as volunteers.
Through this experience, students and parents drew closer together.
“Since the volunteer teams were well-organized, we didn’t experience any volunteer shortage during the event,” said Michelle Lee, the Volunteer Coordinator. “I believe that these kinds of sports festivals help Koreans to come together and unite. So, I willingly jumped into the opportunity to lead the volunteers. I consider volunteering students to be a hidden leading role for the event success.”
Jimmy Burnette, Mayor of the City of Suwanee, delivered opening remarks through a written form.
“Suwanee is honored to have been selected to be the site of this wonderful and important event. Competitions like the Korean American Southeastern Summer Olympics bring out the best in the community,” said Mr. Burnette. “I hope that when you leave to return to your homes, here in Georgia or in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida or somewhere else, that you will take with you fond memories of games well played and the warmth of neighborly friendship form the City and citizens of Suwanee.”
A K-Pop contest was held on Friday night the day before the opening ceremony in the high school auditorium. The jury panel gave credit where it’s due. The winner was Yae Rang Shin, 12, AKA a dance prodigy, who passionately and creatively danced with a baseball bat prop. This was a bit difficult dance to perform, and her performance was honed to perfection. She was presented $1000 as a prize.
“All participants were extremely talented, so it was really hard to select just one winner,” said Yoo Jin Lee, head of the jury panel. “They worked well on stage and hailing for the seats in the auditorium was a good match to liven up the atmosphere. We give all contestants and the audience two thumbs up.”
Among the 15 participating associations from the southeast, team Atlanta took first place for the fifth year in a row while Montgomery placed second and Raleigh placed third. <Photo=Peter Kim, Chosun Daily News>
A K-Pop contest was held on Friday night the day before the opening ceremony in the high school auditorium.
While the players were what drew the crowd, the endless work of the volunteers made these games glorious.