South Korea’s soccer players won bronze with a 2-0 win over Japan, but many admitted they were also celebrating an even greater prize: the chance to skip military service.
Medal winners in South Korea are exempted from the 21-months of duty that their fellow countrymen must do before they are 29 because their endeavors are seen as benefiting the country.
The victory and military service exemption removes a major hurdle faced by many other top Korean footballers to pursuing a career in European leagues.
‘‘I’m very happy to win the bronze medal and everybody here will now get a new chance by being exempted from military service,” said striker Park Chu-young, who scored a stunning first goal.
The bronze was South Korea’s first soccer medal. Japan has also won just one medal — also a bronze — in 1968, the last time an Asian team got an Olympic award.
via South Korea beats Japan for bronze in soccer – The Boston Globe.