South Korea

 

Prepared by: Greg Blood, Emeritus Researcher, Australian Institute of Sport
Updated by: Gavin Reynolds, Director, Clearinghouse for Sport, Australian Sports Commission   
Reviewed by: International Association for Sports Information (IASI)                                                                                                  
Scheduled release: August 2016

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Index of content:

Introduction

The Republic of Korea (South Korea) first participated at the Olympic Games in 1948, and has sent athletes to compete in every Summer Olympic Games since then, with the exception of the Moscow 1980 Games, which they boycotted. South Korea has also participated in every Winter Olympic Games since 1948, except for the 1952 Games. (Wikipedia 2016)

Table 1: Key national performance metrics.

Population Annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Summer Olympic
Gold Medal Ranking (2012)

Winter Olympic 
Gold Medal Ranking (2014)
Summer Paralympic Gold Medal Ranking (2012) Winter Paralympic Gold Medal Ranking (2014)  Asian Games Gold Medal Ranking (2010) 
50 million 1.13 trillion USD ‎(2012) 5th 13th 12th dnm  2nd

 


Sport structure and governance

Government 

  • Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism - established in 1982 is the primary government organisation responsible for sport.
  • Ministry of Education, Science and Technology - responsible for school sport

Structure 

  • Diagram of Structure of Sport in Korea( Korea Sports Council merged with Korean Olympic Committee post this diagram 

Funding

Table 2 : Sports funding in Korea 

Organisation Year 

Government 

Lotteries  

Total

 

Korean Sports Promotion Foundation * 2013  888 billion Won( USD 865 million) USD$865 million
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism **  2007 181 billion  Won (USD 176 million) USD$176 million

* Website of organisation

** Park Thesis

Korean Sports Promotion Foundation receives income from from cycle racing, Sport TOTO, Motorboat racing. It was established in 1989 as an outcome of the Seoul Olympics and is the main source of income for sport.  SportTOTO, established in 1997, distributes 80 % of revenue to sports. Breakdown is: 78 % - Korea Sports Promotion Foundation ; 10% to sports organisations (golf, football, volleyball, baseball and basketball) ; 7 % business Identified by the Ministry of Sports, Culture, and Tourism ; and 5% maintenance of provincial sports facilities. Detailed funding breakdown

High performance system 

High Performance Organisations 

High Performance Summary

The main components of the Korean high performance system are:

  • Elite sport in characterised by a government led system with Korean Olympic Committee and and Korea Council of SFA implementing government policy.
  • Four national training centres for elite athletes - three managed by KOC and one by KPC.
  • Sports science services and research is managed by Korea Institute of Sport Science which is funded by Korean Sports Promotion Foundation.
  • Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corp  established in 1984 aims to provide a holistic training environment with selected athletes in over 20 sports  in which they could carry on their sport careers on a full-time whilst in military training. Budget 5.54 billion won in 2004.
  • Large corporations (chaebol) such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG  played a significant role in developing elite sport by providing a considerable amount of money to the NSO's of sport and managing their sport teams.
  •  Korean Foundation for the Next Generation Sports Talent (NEST) was established.
  • Specialist sports schools have been established to nurture and promote talented athletes in sports such as athletics, judo, shooting,
    gymnastics and swimming which many schools were largely unwilling to foster.
  • Major event medallists awarded lump sum payments or pensions.
  • Universities allocate up to 3 percent of admission places to student athletes regardless of test scores.

Performance Targets

  • South Korea aims to be a top 10 Summer Olympic nation. There is also an implicit goal to finish above Japan

Funding to high performance sport  

  • Korean Olympic Committee’s 2011 budget of 133.9 billion won. This included  36.3 billion won from the government while 127.6 billion won ($155 m AUD) from came from the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation fund, which raises money mainly through running legal sports betting. (Economics of gold medals)
  • NSOs are funded on an annual cycle based on performance and popularity. There is also a policy of targeting sports for Olympic success. 13 sports are targeted for 2008, with a focus on increasing coaching expertise and improving the application of sports sciences.
  • NSOs supplement government funding with sponsorship, marketing, and match receipts. For example, the Korean Hockey Association relies on Government sources, including the KSC, KSPF, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, for approximately 50% of its funds, with the remainder coming from corporate sponsors.

Operational approach

  • The NSOs are focussed on national level competition and preparation of the national teams. There is no network of clubs and the system is based on elite focussed sport programs in schools, universities and companies. A National Training Centre based in Seoul provides accommodation and training facilities to National Teams.
  • National programs are supported by the Korean Institute of Sports Science (KISS). The KISS is funded by the Korean Sports Promotion Foundation. National programs can access services from the Institute, at no cost, on a priority basis (determined by graded funding scale as per government funding allocation).

Direct athlete assistance 

  • National standard athletes are mostly full time athletes receiving a salary from their corporate employer for whom they compete in the national domestic competition. Most athletes compete for these corporate supporters in company teams. As an employee of these companies they may also work for limited periods when training or on national duties and after retirement maintain their position in the company. National team athletes also receive some additional government funding support when on national duties.
  • Athletes that win medals receive:  Gold -  $62,000 , Silver -$51,670,  Bronze - $36,170
    They can either take a lump sum payment, or they can take monthly installments ($923/$692/$484) until they die. The scheme is based on a points system with points accumulating for medal positions in major competitions including Olympics, Asian Games, and World Championships. A Gold Medal in Asian or Olympic Games also provides male athletes exemption from the 3 years compulsory military service   

High performance centres

Table 3: High performance centres

Name Sports
 Taereung National Training Center (Seoul) 14 training facilities - Wolgaegwan (Physical Exercise),GaeSungwan (Weight-Lifting, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Gymnastics, Fencing),Seungrigwan (Volleyball, Judo)
Multi-purpose Gym (Basketball), Indoor Swimming Pool (Swimming, Water Polo, Synchronized Swimming) , Oryungwan (Track and Field, Handball, Badminton) , Philseung Gym A (wrestling, Rhythmic Gymnastics) , Archery Range (including shooting range), Cross Country Course
Artificial Turf Field (Field hockey, Track and Field ), Philseung Gym (Wrestling, Bowling, Judo, Boxing) , Indoor Skating Rink (Short Track, Figure Skating, Ice Hockey, Curling training) Along with the 30 x 61 rink in compliance with international standards, the curling rink has been separately enclosed in this facility
 Taebaek Training Center  Altitude training facility
 Jincheon Training Center  Swimming, shooting, track and field and tennis  hockey, archery
 
Korean Sports Training Center d’ground (Icheon)
 National Paralympic training centre - goa ball, cerebral palsy soccer, boccia, swimming, sight soccer, weight lifting, judo, track and field, sitting volleyball, table tennis, wheelchair basketball, rugby, tennis, fencing



Coaching and leadership development

There is a formal education system in the preparation of national coaches conducted by the KSC. Foreign coaches are recruited to sports programs in Korea. 


Sports science, medicine and technology 

  • National programs are supported by the Korean Institute of Sports Science (KISS). The KISS is funded by the Korean Sports Promotion Foundation. National programs can access services from the Institute, at no cost, on a priority basis (determined by graded funding scale as per government funding allocation).

Specific sports programs

Archery 

  • Koreans are introduced to archery at primary school, with talented children receiving up to two hours training a day
  • The less able are then weeded out at middle school, high school and university level until the very best are hired as adults by the company teams run by organisations such as car manufacturer Hyundai.
  • Approximately 30% of the Korean Archery Association's (KAA) budget comes from the country's Olympic Committee, but the main financial strength of the system is from these 33 company teams who provide a wage and a pension to archers employed solely to compete for them. (Source - London 2012: Secrets behind South Korea's archery success BBC World 22 July 2012)
  • Korean conglomerates such as Hyundai Motor Group’s  have a 27-year and  $26.5 million association with the winning archery squad. (Source - Unlikely Contenders: What Explains the Koreas’ Olympic Strength? Time, 10 August 2012 )
  •  Elite Sport Development in South Korea (PDF  - 1.58 MB) - includes a detailed description of high performance in archery Korea. 


Results and statistics 

 Olympic Games Medal Reports -  Podium and Top 8 Placings (Infostrada)

Table 6: Summer Olympic Games (2000-2016) Medal Analysis

Sydney 2000 Athens 2004 Beijing 2008 London 2012  Rio 2016

Gold medal rank

 12th 9th 7th 5th  8th

Medals

Gold - 8
Silver - 10
Bronze - 10
Total - 28

Gold - 9
Silver - 12
Bronze - 9
Total - 30

Gold - 13
Silver - 10
Bronze -  8
Total - 31

Gold - 13
Silver -  8
Bronze - 7 
Total - 28

 Gold - 9
Silver - 3
Bronze - 9 
Total - 21

No. sports medalled in

11 11 14  12 9

No. multi-medal sports

5 10 8  6  5
Archery 3 - 1 - 1 = 5 3 - 1 - 0 = 4 2 - 2 - 1 = 5 3 - 1 - 0 = 4  4 - 0 - 1 = 5
Athletics - - - - -
Badminton 0 - 1 - 0 = 1 1 - 2 - 1 = 4  1 - 1 - 1 = 3 0 - 0 - 1 = 1  0 - 0 - 1 = 1
Baseball 0 - 0 - 1 = 1-
1 - 0 - 0 = 1  n/a  n/a
Boxing - 0 - 0 - 2 = 2 - 0 - 1 - 0 = 1  -
Canoeing  -  -  -  -  -
Cycling  - - -  -
Fencing 1 - 0 - 1 = 2  - 0 - 1 - 0 = 1 2 - 1 - 3 = 6  1 - 0 - 1 = 2
Football  - - - 0 - 0 - 1 = 1  -
Golf  n/a  n/a  n/a  n/a  1 - 0 - 0 = 11
Gymnastics  0 - 1 - 0 = 1 0 - 1 - 1 = 2 0 - 1 - 0 =1 1 - 0 - 0 = 1   -
Handball  -  0 - 1 - 0 = 1  0 - 0 - 1 = 1  -  -
Hockey  0 - 1 - 0 = 1  -  -  -  -
Judo 0 - 2 - 3 = 5 1 - 1 - 1 = 3 1 - 2 - 1 = 4 2 - 0 - 1 = 3  0 - 2 - 1 = 3
Shooting  0 - 1 - 0 = 1  0 - 2 - 1 = 3  1 - 1 - 0 = 1  3 - 2 - 0 = 5  1 - 1 - 0 = 2
Swimming - - 2 - 0 - 3 = 5 0 - 3 - 8 = 11  2 - 2 - 3 = 7
Synchronised Swimming 0 - 2 - 0 = 2 0 - 2 - 0 = 2 1 - 1 - 0 = 2 0 - 2 - 0 = 2 -
Table Tennis 0 - 0 - 1 = 1 1 - 1 - 1 = 3 0 - 0 - 2 = 2 0 - 1 - 0 = 1  -
Taekwondo 3 - 1 - 0 = 4 2 - 0 - 2 = 4 4 - 0 - 0 = 4 1 - 1 - 0 = 2  2 - 0 - 3 = 5
Volleyball - - - -  -
Weightlifting - 0 - 2 - 0 = 2 2 -1 - 0 = 3 - 0 - 0 - 1 = 1
Wrestling 1 - 2 - 1 = 4 1 - 0 - 1 = 2 0 - 0 - 1 = 1 1 - 0 - 0 = 1  0 - 0 - 1 = 1

n/a - not on Olympic program

Table 5 : Winter Olympic Games 2002-2014 Medal Analysis

Salt Lake 2002 Torino 2006 Vancouver 2010

Sochi   2014

Gold medal rank

14th 7th 5th 13th

Medals

Gold - 2
Silver - 2
Bronze - 0  Total - 4

Gold -6
Silver - 3
Bronze - 2
Total - 11

Gold - 6
Silver - 6
Bronze - 2
Total - 14

Gold - 3 Silver - 3
Bronze - 2
Total - 8

Number of sport medals won

1 2 3 3

Number of sports two or more medal won (multi-medal)

1 1 2 2
 Figure Skating      1 - 0 - 0 = 1  0 - 1 - 0 = 1
 Short Track Skating  2 - 2 - 0 = 4  6 - 3 - 1 = 10  2 - 4 - 2 = 8  2 - 1 - 2 = 5
 Speed Skating    0 - 0 - 1 = 1  3  - 2 - 0 = 5  1 - 1 - 0 = 1

 Paralympic Games Medal Reports -  Podium and Top 8 Placings (Infostrada)

Table 6 : Summer Paralympic Games 2000-2016 Medal Analysis

Sydney 2000 Athens 2004 Beijing 2008 London 2012  Rio 2016

Gold medal rank

9th 16th 13th 12th  20th

Medals

Gold - 18
Silver - 7
Bronze - 7
 Total - 41
Gold - 11
Silver - 11
Bronze - 6
 Total - 28

 Gold - 10
Silver -  8
Bronze - 13
Total - 31

Gold - 9
Silver - 9
Bronze - 9
Total - 27
 Gold - 7
Silver - 11
Bronze - 17
Total -  35

No. sports medalled in

8 6

8

8  8

No. multi-medal sports

7 6 8 6  7
Archery 2 - 1 - 2 = 5 1 - 1 - 3 = 5 2 - 1 - 0 = 3 1 - 2 - 0 = 3  0 - 1 - 2 = 3
Athletics 2 - 1 - 0 = 3 2 -  1 - 0 = 3

1 - 0 - 3 = 4

0 - 2 - 1 = 3  0 - 1 - 2 = 3
Basketball (Wheelchair) - - - -  -
Boccia  1 - 1 - 0 = 2   1- 0 - 1 = 2  2 - 0 - 1 = 3  1 - 1 - 1 = 3  1 - 1 - 1 = 3
Cycling 1 - 1 - 0 = 2 - 0 - 1 - 1 = 2 -   0 - 1 - 0 = 1
Goalball - - - -  -
Judo 0 - 0 - 1 = 1 - - 1 - 0 - 0 = 1 1 - 1 - 2 = 4
Powerlifting  2 - 1 - 0 = 3  1 - 1 - 0 = 2  0 - 0 - 1 = 1  0 - 0 - 1 = 1  -
Shooting  5 - 0 - 1 = 6  1 - 4 - 0 = 5  4 - 3 - 2 = 11  3 - 0 - 1 = 4  0 - 2 - 5 = 7
Swimming - - 0 - 1 - 1 = 2 2 - 0 - 1 = 3   4 - 1 - 0 = 5
Table tennis 0 - 1 - 1 = 2 5 - 4 - 2 = 11 1 - 0 - 4 = 5 1 - 4 - 4 = 9   1- 3 - 5 = 9
Tennis (Wheelchair) 5 - 3 - 2 = 10 - - -  -
Wheelchair rugby  -  -  -  -  -

Table 7: Winter Paralympic Games 2002-2014 Medal Analysis

Salt Lake 2002 Torino 2006 Vancouver 2010

Sochi   2014

Gold medal rank

21st dnm 18th dnm

Medals

Gold -0    Silver - 1
Bronze - 0  Total - 1

Gold -0
Silver - 0
Bronze - 0
Total - 0

Gold - 0
Silver - 1
Bronze - 0
Total - 1

Gold - 0
Silver - 0
Bronze - 0
Total -0

Number of sport medals won

1 0 1 0

Number of sports two or more medal won (multi-medal)

0 0 0 0
 Alpine skiing  0 - 1 - 0 = 1    
 Curling      0 - 1 - 0 = 1  



Competitive Intelligence

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International networking

  • The ASC's principal sport information contact on the ground in Korea is 

System strengths

  • Korean Olympic Committee primary high performance organisation after Korea Sports Council was merged with it. 
  • Korean Institute of Sports Science (KISS) responsible for providing sport science services to national sports organisations.
  • Strong support from masjor Korean companies in terms of funding and employment of athletes.
  • Four supported training centres with the primary centre located in Seoul.
  • High performing athletes have strong extrinsic motivations - exemptions from, military training and special government pensions.
  • Sports themed schools overcome the lack of organised sport in the public school system.
  • South Korean city of Pyeongchang will host the 2018 Winter Olympics. Historically the host overachieves on the medal
  • South Korean city of Pyeongchang will host the Winter Games.

System weaknesses

  • Only three Olympic summer sports consistently win multiple medals - archery, shooting and taekwondo.
  • There is no network of clubs and the system is based on elite focussed sport programs in schools, universities and companies.
  • High performance system has been criticised for emphasis on intense training without proper preparation for life after sport.

Relevance to Australian Environment

  • Korea aims to be a top 10 Summer Olympic nation.
  • Targeted approach by Korea Olympic Committee to winning medals.
  • Government driven high performance system through Korea Olympic Committee.
  • Training centres managed by Korean Olympic Committee and Korean Paralympic Committee.
  • Strong commitment to sports science servicing and research through Korean Institute of Sports Science (KISS) but priority given to targeted sports.
  • Olympic medal incentive scheme available to athletes.
  • Universities assist student athletes regardless of their entry grades.
  • Formal system of coach education.
  • Foreign coaches are employed where applicable.
  • Archery program's  sustained Olympic medal performance is an example of best practice.


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