South Korean speed skater Hwang Dae-heon won two Olympic medals, but the one prize on his mind on the way home is a promised “fried-chicken pension.”
Hwang was apparently promised a lifetime supply of fried chicken by Yoon Hong-geun, the chairman of the Genesis BBQ delivery franchise, if he won the gold medal, reported the Associated Press.
“The first thing I want to do is confirm that my fried chicken pension is real,” Hwang reportedly told reporters on Thursday. “We worked hard, so we will take a break before preparing for the world championships.”
The speed skater won the gold medal in the men’s 1,500-meter and the silver medal in the 5,000-meter relay.
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Yoon, who is also the chairman of South Korea’s Skating Union, also served as the chief of South Korea’s athletic mission at the Olympic Games. He has been criticized for purportedly using the 22-year-old athlete to promote Genesis BBQ, with one critic calling his move a “cheap shot” that reduces sportsmanship, according to The Korea Times.
“I want to eat chicken. I really like BBQ Chicken. I had BBQ Chicken before coming to Beijing. I really like BBQ’s Golden Olive Chicken Legs,” the gold medalist said about the brand’s most popular menu items to reporters.
“He is clever, knowing exactly when to seize the opportunity when it presents itself,” office worker Lee Yeo-jin said about Hwang. “I suspect BBQ was probably behind having him be specific about mentioning its brand name and hit menu item.”
In response to the suspicions, a Genesis BBQ spokesperson stated: “Athletes say they like our products, because they do like them. We have no ulterior motives.”
It is not clear whether Hwang will be the new Genesis BBQ advertising model or if he will be provided with a lifetime supply of chicken; however, Yoon was promised cash prizes of 100 million won (approximately $83,500) for winning gold medals, 50 million won (approximately $41,800) for silver and 30 million won (approximately $25,100) for bronze.