‘Korean Monster’ pitcher, ‘Son-shine’ striker share similar traits
June 13, 2019
Global Korean Post
By Lee Kyoung Mi and Lee Hana
Pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers of the U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB) and striker Son Heung-min of the English Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur are united by more than nationality alone, with both sports stars sharing several traits.
The first is courage. Ryu steps on the mound without twitching a muscle on his face, while Son always plays with a smile. Both have nerves of steel, and their composure on the field have garnered the admiration of their Korean fans.
This kind of ice-in-their-veins demeanor can also be seen in other famous Korean athletes such as golfer Lee Jeong-eun (aka Jeongeun Lee6 since five others on the LPGA Tour have the same name), winner of the 2019 LPGA U.S. Women’s Open, and midfielder Lee Kang-in of Spain’s Valencia CF.
Ryu and Son were also raised by devoted parents, with their fathers both being former athletes who recognized their sons’ talents early on and pushed them hard as mentors and supporters. To this day, Son’s father is known to lift weights with his son in the early morning hours.
The two athletes have both secured exemptions from military service, Ryu by winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and Son doing the same at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. Thanks to their medals, they can continue down their career paths and perhaps earn greater glory without pause.
Son finished his pro season on June 1 with a 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the Champions League final, while Ryu as of June 10 is off to a great start with a 9-1 record and a 1.35 earned-run average, the lowest in MLB among qualifying pitchers.