Who is Shim Suk-Hee?
Shim Suk-Hee is one of the biggest stars of the South Korean Olympic short track team, which will be cheered on by their dedicated fans in PyeongChang. Shim has long been focused on the upcoming Olympics, which will take place in the city where she grew up; she reportedly changed the last four digits of her cell phone number to 2018 to prove her dedication.
Short track beginnings
Shim Suk-Hee was born on January 30, 1997 in Gangneung, South Korea—the city which will host the Olympic short track competition at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.
Shim was inspired by her older brother to try short track, and started skating at 6 years old. As Shim’s potential became apparent, her family realized that Gangneung didn’t have enough resources to nurture her talent. Shim moved away from home to Seoul, with her family eventually moving to join her.
Around her fifteenth birthday, Shim turned in two dominant performances that made the short track world take notice. First, she won two gold medals, in the 500m and 1000m, at the inaugural Youth Winter Olympics, held in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012. She followed up those victories by claiming overall gold at the 2012 World Junior Championships.
Shim made her Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Then 17 years old, Shim earned a medal of every color: gold with the Korean women in the 3000m relay, silver in the 1500m and bronze in the 1000m.
Shim followed up her three-medal performance in Sochi with a near-sweep of the individual gold medals at the 2014 World Championships. She finished first in the 1000m, 1500m and 3000m (which is not an Olympic event) races and earned the overall world title—as well as a new nickname, the Queen of Short Track.
Shim has made podium appearances at every world championships since, and earned overall bronze medals at the 2015 and 2017 Worlds.
During the 2017-18 World Cup season, Shim won five individual medals, including gold medals in the 1000m and 1500m, and three relay medals over the four competitions.
In 2012, Shim broke the world record in the 1000m with a time of 1:26.661. The record, which was set at a World Cup event in Calgary, Canada, still stands.
Four years later, Shim claimed another record with her South Korean teammates when they recorded the fastest-ever time in the women's 3000m relay. The record was set in Salt Lake City, Utah in Nov. 2016.
Shim can often be distinguished on the ice by her height—at 5’8”, she’s taller than most of her competitors—and her ever-present glasses.
"I am learning every day and preparing every day to get ready for the Olympic Games and to win gold." -- Shim Suk-Hee to Inside the Games