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Synopsis

Seoul Sisters

An astounding 145 of the top 500 female golfers in the world are from South Korea, including four in the top ten.  The tiny mountainous country, which is home to 50 million people, has little room for golf courses, but no other country in the world has more women in the top ranks of female professional golfers than the small Eastern Asian republic.  While South Korean men are big fans of the sport and a handful of Korean men are currently on the PGA Tour, it is the women who strive to make it their career far more than their male counterparts.  Many sacrifice traditional schooling, on the advice of their parents, to dedicate themselves to a craft that by their standards requires over 40 hours per week. The financial incentives are there for them too, as South Koreans are the most represented among the top 50 LPGA earners thus far in 2012.  REAL SPORTS host Bryant Gumbel travels to Korea to find out how a country roughly the size of Indiana and making up less than one percent of the worlds population has come to thoroughly dominate a sport.

Lolo Jones

Entering the Womens 100M Hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Lori Lolo Jones was the favorite to capture gold, but while attempting to clear the penultimate hurdle, she tripped and finished seventh.  Prior to the 2008 Games, Jones won three NCAA titles, earned 11 All-American honors at LSU and captured her first of two gold medals at the World Indoor Championship.  All these accomplishments followed a childhood that was often difficult, including stretches of homelessness due to her father being in and out of prison and her mother struggling financially.  Therefore, her stumble during the Summer Games was a huge blow to her career but just another adversity she would be forced to overcome.  In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, correspondent Mary Carillo sits down with the 29-year-old to talk about then and now, as she prepares for what could be her last shot at Olympic gold.

Ray Greenhalge

At birth, doctors said that Ray Greenhalge would never walk or talk as a result of being born seven weeks premature with the debilitating muscle disorder known as cerebral palsy. Twenty-six years later, Ray is probably more talkative and physically active than most people his age  an age that many feared he wouldnt reach.  As the nephew and godson of retired boxer Micky Ward, who is best known for his historic triology with Arturo Gatti earlier this decade, he has a unique passion for boxing and it provides him a sense of direction.  He also proves to be every bit as tough as his uncle and to substantiate it, they spar ten rounds every Saturday and his daily workouts in the gym typically last two to three hours.  REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg goes to Massachusetts to learn more about Ray and his inspirational story.

Micky Wards autobiography A Warriors Heart is available on May 29, 2012.

Matt Long

On a frigid winter morning in midtown Manhattan, New York City fireman, marathoner and Ironman triathlete, Matt Long, rode his bike to work amid the 2005 transit strike, when a private bus made an illegal turn into him and literally ran him over.  The bus had to be lifted off of him, and he was rushed to the hospital where he was given a one-percent chance of survival.  He spent five months in the hospital and underwent 40 surgeries to repair his completely crushed right leg and impaled organs, but he lived to tell the tale.  The 46-year-old credits his great physical condition for being able to stave off infection and survive the ordeal.  And despite the tragedy, the 9/11 veteran persevered and trained passionately for two years to regain his life as a top-notch athlete.  In 2008, Long completed the New York City marathon in just over seven hours and then eight months later he did what even he thought was nearly impossible and completed an Ironman Competition inside the 17-hour time limit.  Since our first story aired, the Ironman wed and is expecting a child in June.  He was also involved in another car accident, this time during a charity bike ride in Florida, but luckily he was able to escape with only a broken wrist. The injury derailed his hopes to qualify for this summers London Paralympics, but as REAL SPORTS correspondent Mary Carillo finds out, Long is doing better than ever.

182: May 22, 2012