GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian short track speed skater Lucas Koo still felt honored despite a lackluster performance at Gangwon 2024.
"I want to make a new name for Brazil, and countries that aren't as well represented in ice sports," Koo told Olympics.com following his Youth Olympic competition.
Koo started his campaign by finishing 21st in the men's 1,500m, before taking two top ten results in the 1,000m and 500m events. In his final competition in 500m, he suffered a crash in the B final.
"I kind of left off on a hard note, but it's part of the sport. It's what happens," Koo explained. "I really loved to represent Brazil. I wish I did better, made a little bit better name for Brazil. I did my best, that's what matters".
"I met so many great people, and it's great to see all my teammates here from my club in America. I think it was really fun, one of the best experiences of my life."
The 17-year-old has a true multicultural heritage. He was born and raised in the United States with a Brazilian father and a mother from South Korea.
"Most of my family are from Brazil. They're ethnically Korean, but from Brazil. And I thought it could be amazing if I could compete for my father's country."
Koo's passion for short track speed skating began in the Washington DC of the United States, where he grew up. When he turned four years old, Koo had his first experience on the ice. "I just didn't want to get off," he said.
Koo disclosed his mother thought ice skating was really expensive before she noticed that there were ten free lessons and signed him up for that.
"So, I got on to that, and I just loved it. I stuck with that ever since."
He later became the first Brazilian to compete in short track speed skating World Cup events since Felipe de Souza over 15 years ago. And now, he is the first Brazilian to compete in the discipline at any Olympic winter sports event by taking to the ice at Gangwon 2024.
As for the future, the teenager representing Brazil hopes that Gangwon 2024 won't be his last Olympic event.
"I want to go to the 2026 Olympics. That's one of my lifelong dreams. Other than that, I definitely want to be more competitive at World Cups and hopefully clinch medal there, try and make up for what I did here," Koo said. ■