“I used to like Ironman, but now I like Thor better.”
Shot put athlete Park Si-hoon (16, Geum-Ogo 1) said with a wide smile. He is in his first year of high school and is 1.90 meters tall and weighs 113 kilograms. His solid physique and limb muscles stood out. At first glance, I felt that he was a ‘mastermind’. The hammer-wielding god of thunder in “The Avengers” was not nicknamed “Thor” for nothing.
Park has emerged as one of the top prospects in track and field shot put. He broke the Korean record in both primary and secondary school. Last month, he won the 5th Asian Under-18 Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Once known as “Kid Thor” and “Middle School Thor,” Park has now earned the nickname “K-Thor.
True to his nickname, Thor is all about strength. He can lift 200 kilograms in a bench press and 230 kilograms in a squat with his feet apart. He once demonstrated his strength by cracking an egg vertically. “My father is 1 meter 90 centimeters tall and my mother is 1 meter 68 centimeters tall. When I entered middle school, I was already over 1.80 meters tall. I always sat in the back of the class since I was a kid.” Because of his physique, he was encouraged to play sports such as handball, baseball, and basketball from a young age.
But Park chose track and field. In the fourth grade, his physical education teacher encouraged him to participate in the Gumi City Athletics Meet. The following year, he met Coach Kim Hyun-woo. He was a shot put and discus thrower at the Korea Gymnastics and Daejeon City Hall. “He had a good physique and bright eyes,” says Coach Kim. He understood quickly when explained, and even though he was an elementary school student, he was able to articulate his thoughts clearly.” Park said, “Unlike team sports, track and field is a record game. It was good to see the results of my hard work.”
Once he started throwing the shot put in earnest, he set a new record. In 2019, he threw 19.17 meters, surpassing Bae Joon-seok’s primary school record of 17.24 meters set in 2000 (with a weight of 3 kilograms). In June last year, he recorded 21.56 meters, breaking the 23-year-old secondary school record (4 kilograms). A month later, he broke his own record with a throw of 22.53 meters at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
His next goal is to break the high school record (19.90 meters) using a 6-kilogram shot put. Coach Kim Hyun-woo said, “Shi Hoon-i is light for a shot putter. That’s why he’s been gaining weight lately.” Park, who threw 18.52 meters when he won the high school freshman competition in April, said, “My goal for the next competition is 19 meters. I want to go over 20 meters before the year ends.”
The adult world record in the 7.26-kilogram shot put is 23.37 meters, set by Ryan Krauser of the United States. The Asian record is 21.49 meters (Tajinderpal Singh Thur of India) and the Korean record is 19.49 meters (Ilwoo Jung). So far, Park has only been practicing with a 6-kilogram shot put, but he is gaining strength.
He didn’t always intend to be an athlete; he was a good student, so his parents were happy for him to play sports. “I thought I’d try it for one year,” he says, “but in sixth grade, I started getting good grades. It was fun to break my own records, so I kept going,” he says. He didn’t give up on his studies either. He graduated from middle school in the top 7% of his class. He trained in track and field after class and studied for two hours every day. He was also a past church president.
As he moved on to high school, it became more difficult to juggle academics and sports, but he still reads in his spare time. He loves Korean and English, and says, “When I’m competing, I read when I have time. I mostly read novels, but I also like humanities books. Recently, I read ‘The Origin of Species’.” Like many of his peers, he also enjoys playing games. Instead of strategy games like LoL or shooters, he prefers to play sports games (basketball and soccer).토토사이트
Another hobby is watching professional baseball. Born in Busan, South Korea, Park is a Lotte Giants fan. His favorite player is Han Dong-hee, an infielder who, like Park, is a power hitter. After hearing Park’s story, Han said, “I hope to meet him at Sajik Stadium. I’m a shot putter, so maybe I can throw a pitch.” She laughed.
Park’s future aspiration, which he wrote during career counseling, is to become a physical education teacher. But he has bigger ambitions. After winning a gold medal in his first international competition last month, Park said, “I was more nervous than usual because I was wearing the Korean flag. “I won the gold medal, but I didn’t like my performance,” he said, adding, “It was really nice to stand on the podium and listen to the national anthem. I want to become a national athlete.”
The athletics world has high hopes for Park. Not only does he want to become the first male shot putter to win an Asian Games medal, but he also wants to compete in the Olympics. “I saw a Chinese woman (Gong Lijiao) win a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. I thought that Asian athletes were at a disadvantage, but I changed my mind after watching Woo Sang-hyuk in the high jump and the Chinese-Japanese sprinters. I realized that being an Asian athlete doesn’t have to be a disadvantage.”