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Summer Olympics History: South Korea's Greatest Olympians

Top Ten Men and Women Since 1948

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South Korea at the Summer Olympics

South Korea sent its first team to the Summer Olympics in 1948. The country's best athletes won a total of 18 medals through the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

However, South Korea has been more competitive in a number of sports since 1984, resulting in top ten finishes in the overall medal standings at each Games to the present, with the exception of 2000 in Sydney.

South Korea has performed exceptionally well in archery, judo, wrestling, and taekwondo, as well as being among the best in badminton, shooting, and table tennis.

The following list includes brief information on the ten men and women that I consider the best at the Summer Olympics for South Korea:

Hwang Kyung-Seon: Hwang is one of South Korea's recent taekwondo stars. She started her Olympic career with a bronze in 2004, and improved upon that finish at the last two Summer Games by winning gold.

Jin Jong-Oh: Jin has led South Korea to world power status in men's shooting at the last three Olympics. He has five medals-with golds in the 10-meter air pistol and 50-meter pistol-at the recently concluded London Games.

Ki Bo-Bae: Ki led South Korea's women to the team archery title at the London Games, and then bested the field for the individual title, helping South Korea maintain its position at the top of the sport.

Kim Jae-Bum: Kim has been a top performer for South Korea's judo team in recent years. He won a silver in 2008, and then was victorious at the London Games for his first Olympic gold.

Kim Soo-Nyung: A star in women's archery for more than a decade, Kim ascended the medal podium more than any other South Korean athlete in her illustrious career. Her medal tally includes six medals, with four golds.

Park Jang-Soon: A Freestyle wrestling standout at the three Olympics from 1988 to 1996, Park earned a trio of medals on the mat, with his top accomplishment being gold in 1992.

Park Sung-Hyun: Another top competitor in women's archery, Park counts three golds among her four Olympic medals. She was an integral part of South Korea's team titles in 2004 and 2008.

Park Tae-Hwan: One of the best men's freestyle swimmers in middle and long-distance events, Park already has four Olympic medals to his credit, with his lone gold achieved in the 400-meter freestyle in 2008. At just 23 years of age, Park is a solid bet for more podium finishes in 2016.

Sim Kwon-Ho: Sim was a star in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. He won gold both times, and remains South Korea's most decorated Olympic wrestler.

Yun Mi-Jin: The individual champion in women's archery at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Yun also has two team golds among her list of accomplishments.

Related content: Olympic Flashback: A Look at South Korea's Archery Dominance

Patrick Hattman covered the London Games for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is already looking forward to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

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