The Korea expert
#tkgoesPyeongChang | Engineering | People at thyssenkrupp | thyssenkrupp has been collaborating with luge world champions Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken since 2014. The goal is clear: Gold in South Korea. This time in our series about the team behind the world champions we introduce our Korea expert Sora An.
February 6 marks the big day: The luge team consisting of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken along with two colleagues of their pit stop crew will be setting off for PyeongChang in South Korea. Just 150 kilometers away in Seoul, Sora An – Finance and Accounting Manager in the thyssenkrupp Materials Services business area in Korea – works at one of five thyssenkrupp locations in the country. She is the ideal local contact for the luge double as she knows what the athletes can expect and will support them with insider tips – one of the advantages of a global company.
A familiar logo
Sora An has already been working for thyssenkrupp for ten years and is responsible for the regular analysis and documentation of financial data in the accounting department. The German company has had operations in South Korea for several decades, and Elevator is the business area Koreans are most familiar with as the logo can be seen on numerous installations across the country. thyssenkrupp Materials Korea produces and distributes mainly aluminum products. “Many Koreans know the logo from elevators and that’s how they know thyssenkrupp.” Sora An says with a smile.
Sora An has been working for thyssenkrupp for ten years as Finance and Accounting Manager in the Materials Services business area in Korea. Now she also supports luge world champions Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken during their time in PyeongChang.
Tradition and the West
A victory would no doubt also make the luge double better known. However, to deliver a perfect performance on the day of the race they ideally need to have familiarized themselves well with this unique country’s culture. Sora An knows that the cultural differences are often a major obstacle for Europeans. South Korea is a country where Confucianism has strongly influenced development and where education and manners are accorded great importance. “It is not a melting pot of cultures like Europe. Above all in the past it was very difficult for foreigners to get used to being in Korea,” says Sora An.
But globalization has made many things easier now. People in South Korea have become more open to western ideas and behavior making it easier for the luge double should be able to familiarize themselves quickly. “In the event of any uncertainties, I will of course be happy to help,” says Sora An. She also has clear recommendations when it comes to South Korean food: Galbi, Bibimbap and Samgyupsal. Galbi is marinated, grilled ribs also known as Korean BBQ. Bibimbap is a mixed dish comprising rice, vegetables, meat and egg, garnished with Gochujang chili paste. Samgyupsal is grilled pork belly. “Toni and Sascha should definitely try these dishes before they leave.”
Work and competition
When we asked Sora An a few weeks ago whether she could support the thyssenkrupp luge project she was enthusiastic about it straightaway. She quickly familiarized herself with the topic – and was impressed with the athletes’ successes – in particular since they have been working with the pit stop crew. “The project has turned me into a luge fan. The first ever winter games in South Korea are a special event as it is – and now I will be involved personally,” she says happily.
Reporting about the competitions right on-site, the team around Carola will also visit these temples near the 700 meters high winter sports paradise PyeongChang.
One goal, two parties
Even though the Korea expert has only been following the current World Cup winners’ story for a short period, she believes they can win in South Korea. To achieve that she wishes the two athletes the best of health, but also hopes they enjoy the competition and the Games. Sora An also has another tip away from the track: From February 15 to 18 Koreans celebrate “Seollal”, the Korean Lunar New Year – one of the biggest traditional celebrations. If Toni and Sascha win and manage to find time, they could experience two big parties.
The thyssenkrupp pit stop crew
thyssenkrupp has been collaborating with luge world champions Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken since 2014. Three engineers from the Group are contributing their expertise to make the sled quicker and better every year. The carbon shell has been enhanced, the chassis optimized and the heart of the sled – the runners – have been made even quicker. Two communications experts are also supporting the sportsmen in their work. The goal is clear: Gold in South Korea.
You can find out more about the longstanding collaboration between the luge pair and thyssenkrupp here – along with a profile of our “Head of Sled Construction”. In the article “The steel man” we introduce our expert for the heart of the sled. And you can learn about what carbon has to do with sled construction in the article “Taking the light route to the top”.