World champion speed skater Noh Jin-kyu suffered a broken elbow last week that forced him to withdraw from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but the unfortunate injury may have been a blessing for the South Korean.
Doctors discovered that the 21 year old Noh had a five-inch malignant tumor in his shoulder, which required surgery. Noh will now undergo two weeks of therapy and his career could be in jeopardy as a result.
“We also found out about the tumor through the media reports and were taken aback,” a Korea Skating Union official told Reuters, via Olympic Talk. “He bumped into a Canadian skater at the World Cup last September and fractured his left shoulder … the exact same spot where he had a tumor.
“So we thought it was something due to the fracture that was sticking out of his uniform, never a 13-centimeter-long malignant tumor.”
Two-time Olympian Lee Ho-Suk is expected to replace Noh on the South Korean Olympic team. If Lee ends up on the team, he will become the first three-time short track speed skater in South Korea history.