WATCH — How an Olympic medal can earn South Korean athletes military exemptions

CBC Kids News • Published 2021-07-30 11:49

South Korean law requires men to serve in military unless exempted

What could be better than earning an Olympic medal for your country?

How about earning an Olympic medal and getting an exemption from mandatory military service?

For some male athletes representing the Republic of Korea, landing on an Olympic podium can mean just that.

Abigail and Arjun explain

Two athletes who are competing for a medal that could earn them an exemption are South Korean golfers Si Woo Kim, 26, and Sungjae Im, 23.

Abigail Dove and Arjun Ram explain why the military exemption exists, and what could be on the line for the two golfers if they don’t earn a spot on the podium.

In this video:

South Korea’s Olympians winning medals and military exemptions

Kim and Im have both said on the record that they are thinking about their golf game and not worrying about “the military problem.”

Some South Korean athletes have already earned medals that equal military exemptions at this year’s Games.

For example, both the men’s archery team and men’s sabre team have earned gold medals in Tokyo.

Those gold medals secure a military exemption going forward.

South Korea’s An Baul takes down Georgia's Vazha Margvelashvili during their judo men's 66-kg semifinal match. (Image credit: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

For Judo bronze medallist An Baul, his Olympic medal is just the icing on the cake.

The 25-year-old’s win at the 2018 Asian Games would have already earned him a pass on military service.

Day 7 highlight: Canadian women row to gold 

The Canadian women’s eight rowing team may not have had military service to worry about, but they still had something to celebrate.

They added to Canada’s gold medal count by winning their final on Friday.

The last time Canadian women won the event was at the 1992 Barcelona Games — 29 years ago.

It’s a tradition in rowing to throw the coxswain into the water after a win. The Canadian women’s eight team tossed Kristen Kit into the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo after receiving their gold medals. (Image credit: Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters)

China and United States battle for most medals

China is currently leading the gold medal count in Tokyo with 19 golds and 40 medals in total.

At the end of Day 7, The United States was just holding on to the top spot for total medals with 41.

1. United States / 14 gold/16 silver/11 bronze / total 41 2. China/ 19 gold/ 10 silver/ 11 bronze/ total 40 3. ROC / 10 gold/14 silver/10 bronze/ total 34 12. Canada 3 gold/3 silver/ 5 bronze/ 11 total

⭐️More Day 7 highlights⭐️

Day 7 in pictures

Czech Republic's Jiri Prskavec’s reaction after winning the gold medal in the men's slalom kayak final. Prskavec’s winning run was 3.22 seconds ahead of silver medallist Jakub Grigar of Slovakia. That might not seem like a big difference, but it is a massive time gap for the event. (Image credit: Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)

Great Britain’s cyclist Bethany Shriever, pictured at the front of the pack, won the women’s BMX racing final. The 22-year-old collapsed after passing the finish line, later telling the media that she ‘gave it [her] all.’ She was carried off the course by fellow British BMX racer Kye Whyte, who won silver in the men’s event. (Image credit: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty)

Italian runner Nadia Battocletti catches her breath after taking third place in a 5,000-metre heats race. Track and field competitions officially began on Day 7 in Tokyo. (Image credit: Antonin Thuillier/AFP/Getty Images)

New Kids News Olympics content every day

CBC Kids News will be covering the Olympics every day until the closing ceremony on Aug. 8.

On July 31, there will be tons of track and field events to watch for.

Tune in tomorrow to hear more from Abigail Dove and Arjun Ram as Kids News Olympics coverage continues.


With files from Zack Smart, Christine Rankin, Nick Murray/CBC, The Associated Press
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Chris Trottman/Getty Images, design by Philip Stre

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