Veteran speed skater to carry S. Korean flag at Sochi Winter Olympics

SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- Veteran speed skater Lee Kyou-hyuk will be South Korea's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, officials announced on Tuesday.

The Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) said Lee, 35, will carry the national flag when the Winter Games kicks off in Russia on Feb. 7.

Lee will be competing in his sixth Olympic Games, the most by any South Korean athlete either in Summer or Winter Olympics. He has appeared in every Winter Games competition since the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

Lee has won four gold medals at the world sprint championships and collected 14 titles in the International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup series. He is still looking for his first Olympic medal.

Lee is also the former world record holder in the 1,000 meters and in the 1,500 meters.

Earlier on Tuesday, the KOC said five more South Korean athletes have qualified for Sochi, adding to the record number of athletes to compete at a Winter Games.

The KOC said two snowboarders and three freestyle skiers have been added to the delegation, which will now have 71 athletes and 49 officials for the Feb. 7-23 Winter Olympics.

The previous record for the largest number of athletes at a Winter Games was 48 at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

According to the KOC, Shin Bong-sik and Kim Sang-kyum will compete in alpine events in snowboard.

In freestyle skiing, Kim Kwang-jin and Park Hee-jin will enter the men's and the women's halfpipe events, respectively. Seo Jee-won will compete in the women's moguls.

South Korea will be represented in every sport except for ice hockey. It will have 20 athletes in skiing events, in disciplines such as alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, ski jumping, snowboard and cross-country, followed by 15 in speed skating, and 10 athletes each in short track and bobsleigh.

South Korea tied its all-time record of six gold medals in Vancouver four years ago, and it has set out to win at least four gold medals this year to finish in the top 10 for the sixth time in the past seven Winter Games.

The first batch of the athletes will fly to Sochi on Saturday.

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