The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well." So, in founding the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin set forth the Olympic Creed.
At Squaw Valley no one brought more honor to that creed than 30-year-old Kyung Soon Yim, who ordinarily works for a travel agency in Seoul—but extraordinarily represented Korea as its only Alpinist at the Winter Games.
A pilot during the Korean war, Yim took up skiing seriously some time after it. The advanced techniques of skiing are still fairly unfamiliar in his native land and qualified instructors rare. Yim had little hope of ever making an Olympic team.
But he turned to foreign journals, Austrian and Finnish, and to one from the U.S.—SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Here he found what he thought he wanted most, the detailed instructions and tips of Willy Schaeffler, which a friend translated for him. Yim had to imagine how these would work. The light 1959 snows in South Korea gave no chance for practice. Last July, on dry land, he began the Schaeffler conditioning exercises. Although he had no international record, Olympic officials certified his eligibility to compete. Yim was coming to the Olympics.
Arriving on February 2, he saw a slalom course for the first time in his life and put skis to snow for the first time in a year. Hardly more than two weeks later he was participating—in the giant slalom, the slalom and the downhill.
Correspondent Guy Shipler Jr. wrote: "It's clear that most of Yim's finer points of skiing derived from Schaeffler in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. They made him the best Alpinist in Korea. Outclassed in Olympic competition he certainly was, but in courage and Olympic spirit nobody finished ahead of him."
Said Kyung Soon Yim: "My country is sure this will be of great value in teaching our younger generation. We thought if we couldn't win, why should we relax in Korea? What good would that do for the future?"
It sounds like what de Coubertin had in mind.