I'm sorry for being late, but excuse me; it`s New Year's Day and I have rights to enjoy it.
Flash (23, former player of KT Rolster) is one of the greatest players of SC. He started his career at the age of 14, then became the youngest winner in the Starleague next year. He won every tournaments that held in 2010, remaining a new milestone of esports. That Flash announced his retirement and had retire ceremony, saying that he needs a rest.
We met Flash, who`s enjoying his new freedom to sleep and drink as much he wants.
Is there any change in your life?
"Not really. However, I often get up at noon these days; I used to get up at nine. Occasionally I skip meals for my sleeping. Sometimes uncertain future makes me nervous, but I`m fine; I`m taking a rest."
What are you doing these days?
"Meeting mates that I have not seen for a while. I`m drinking all the alcohol that I could not drunken. I was dry when I was in esport scene; not now, of course. I can drink Soju up to 1 and half bottles. My capacity of Beer is limitless. Love Makgeolli, too."
Are you seeing anyone lately?
"No. I`ve met one or two when I was in esprots but it didn`t last long because I could not reply their texts. I`m not a guy who can do love and work both; my APM isn`t that high. At the time I was just focused on my work.
Let me hear your Miss. Right.
"I prefer mild-tempered woman, whose appearance is quite Korean-traditional with tin makeup. I want to meet one who knows how to relax, not interrupted by works. I`m not thinking about meeting someone, though."
What did your parents say when you told them your retirement?
"I told them in the middle of this season. They just said, "You've done well. Do what you want." They are really proud of my career. Maybe, I suppose they`re thinking "Our son went trough arm-operation. We should understand the hardship that he feels."
What makes you to decide your retirement?
"I was exhausted. Kespa Teams have tight schedule; there`s no freedom. Though no one would say anything if I was late for that schedule, it was quite tough because I tried to keep it straight. That`s why."
You could be a coaching staff.
"KT offered me a playing coach. They said the team will care enough about me. However I want to do something unhelped. I want to challenge coaching squarely after my service. Anyway, I want to be a coach in the long run."
Or you could be in a foreign team.
"I`m afraid of height. 2 years ago, on the return flight from American tournament, the plain shaked due to turbulence. After that, I do not go overseas that takes more than two hours."
What was the most memorable match?
"Ever Starleague Ro.8. It was 2009, I was playing against JD. It was Christmas eve. I was very suprised that there were so many people out there. After that, JD and I frequently met at the match."
What`s your happiest moment?
"The first winning at major tournament. I won first at the 'Bacchus Starleague 2008'. It felt unrealistic, because It's only been a little over a year since my debut. "It`s good choice to be a progamer" this is what I thought. I got more fame, more money. My parents stop opposing my progaming and start supporting my passion."
When was your toughest moment?
"The time when I went surgery. It was 2011. It was very hard time for me, because I wasn`t sure whether I could play games again. Also I was worrying about other players clawing their way up. Moreover, I was the first player who went surgery while progaming. That`s why I worked hard at my rehab; I took rehab for 4 months at Pyeongchang, which is scheduled for football players. It was hellish, because I had to excercies 6 hours per day.
Is there any regrets that you have?
"It`s a shame that the transition from BW to SC2 was happened suddenly; BW was loved my many fans, and all of sudden it was gone. If the transition was a bit more smooth, SC2 would got more popularity. I had no regrets at that time, because I`m a person who enjoys changes. I thought that I could win the championship again if I did my best. I assumed that BW fans will love SC2 too, but it wasn`t. It made me started."
Tell me which record you cherish most.
"I won Starleague, MSL, Proleague, WCG in 2010; it was a Grandslam. It was my prime time. I had to play 4-5 days for tournaments for every week. I repeatedly practiced and played; I don't think I could've been that attainable again if I go back then.
Your biggest rival was JD.
"He was the motivation that made me the best. He prevented me from being soft and lazy. We used to compete fiercely; However, now we`re having fun, talking about glory days. It seems that JD is enjoying his life, not tied to the competetion. I envy him."
It is known that you`ve earned quite a lot.
"No.1 in BW. I think I can afford my marriage, house and future business (he said restraurant for instance.) without my parent`s help.
Flash in 2016
What`s your future plan?
"I took a rest in December and gonna do something in January. I was supposed to go family trips, but somehow I couldn`t. There`re some offers; most of`em are about streaming BW. Some offers are quite specific. However, I don`t wanna be tied to the things. I`m planning to try new things. For instance, I`m gonna get my drivers license."
How about playing LOL?
"I considered it, but there are tons of people who wants me to play BW. I think I can play LOL good as well, but my arm hurts. I can practice SC by watching VODs, but I cannot when it comes to LOL. I`m not sure about LOL."
Isn`t it a bit tedious to play games?
"As a player, it was. It was rather working than playing. Funny thing is, after I quit my progaming, my hands itch to play games; it`s something like retired people want to work. Even now I wanna play computer games; It`s really fun to compete with others.
"In a year or two, maybe three at most. Of course I can do my service earlier, but it feels a bit sorry. I wanna do everything that I want to do before joining army. You know, road trip or going abroad, etc."
Say a word to your fans.
"I'd not said to my fans 'thank you' frequently; your support made me responsible for my job. I hope I can give back all the love that you gave me. I`ll see you next year in a better shape, with my keyboard and mouse."
Say a word to your team, KT Rolster.
"KT was a fence that protected me for nine years. KT enabled me to play with confidence. Thank you. I believe we're meant to meet again."
▶ Who's Flash?
Lee Young-ho(23), a former progamer from Daejeon, started his career in 2007 with KTF MagicNs after being a practice partner of PANTECH & CURITEL in 2006.
In 2008, he made a spectacular debut; he claimed the youngest winner of the Starleague at the age of 15. Since then, he has never left championships without winning trophies and MVP. In 2010, he reached his height by winning all competitions that were held in the season.
In 2012, though transition from BW to SC2 stopped him from winning tournaments, he led his team to victory and proved his skills were not rusted yet.
He has received many outstanding awards such as Rookie of the year, Best Terran of the year and The best player of the year.
Also, he`s the money leader of BW; he got $430K for prize from 2008 to 2014. Considering this excludes his salary,[Around $200K per year] it is estimated that his income would be much larger that that.