January 8 - South Korean baseball player Shin-Soo Choo has been named as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
The 31-year-old, who plays for Major League Baseball (MLB) side Texas Rangers after signing a seven-year contract worth a reported $130 million (£79 million/€96 million) last month, was officially unveiled at a ceremony attended by Pyeongchang 2018 President Kim Jin-sun in Seoul.
Choo is one of the biggest names in South Korean baseball and first came to prominence at the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Under-18 Baseball World Cup in 2000, where he helped his side to a gold medal and picked up the most valuable player (MVP) of the tournament award.
At the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, Choo was part of the South Korean side that defeated Chinese Taipei in the gold medal match.
In between then, he made the move to MLB in 2005, signing for the Seattle Mariners before spending six seasons at the Cleveland Indians.
In 2013 he signed for the Cincinnati Reds before moving to the Rangers.
"I went to the United States at a young age, and it really hurt me at the time when people said they didn't know much about my country," Choo said.
"People either didn't know about South Korea, and those that did hardly said good things about it.
"I'd like to think that I've helped change the perception by playing in the majors.
"From afar, I've been hoping to promote my home country.
"Once I return to the United States, I will try to promote the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics among people who are close to me.
"I think I can start with my Rangers teammates and go from there."
Commenting on Choo being chosen as an ambassador by Pyeongchang 2018, World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) co-President Riccardo Fraccari said: "Pyeongchang's naming of Choo speaks of his experience and culture as an international athlete and his understanding of the values that the Olympic Games can inspire and instil across boundaries.
"As a former gold medallist in the IBAF Under-18 Baseball World Cup back in 2000, we are very proud to see his path to excellence continuing and being used to promote such worthy causes."
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
October 2013: Kim Jin-sun re-elected as Pyeongchang 2018 President
May 2013: Pyeongchang 2018 launches new Olympic emblem