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A Family Reunion: First Lunar New Year for Toby Dawson Updated: 2012-01-24 12:00:00 KST

A Family Reunion: First Lunar New Year for Toby Dawson
Toby Dawson, who was born in Korea as Kim Bong-seok, and adopted by an American family, is an Olympic medallist and the coach of Korea's freestyle ski team.
But it's not the slopes he's headed to during the Lunar New Year holiday.
It's the city of his birth -- Busan -- where his biological family is anxiously waiting to spend the country's biggest holiday with him.

[INTERVIEW : Kim Jae-soo, Dawson's biological father] ''His aunts are excited to see him, they spent the whole day preparing New Year's dishes for him.''

And it's not a pair of skis he's carrying.
It's a snowboard in his hands that Dawson prepared for his younger biological brother as a New Year's gift.
The brothers exchange greetings in Korean - a language Dawson is quickly getting to grips with.

It's four a.m. the next morning but Dawson is already suited up in traditional hanbok to bow to his forefathers something he never had a chance to do,until now.

[INTERVIEW : Kim Jae-soo, Dawson's biological father] ''It's great to finally have all of our sons gathered together for a New Year's memorial service. I always felt indebted to my ancestors and to my family.''

Dawson was lost at a crowded market here in Busan -- when he was just three.
He was then adopted to a ski-instructor couple in Colorado -- with whom he grew up to become a bronze medallist for freestyle skiing at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy.
And a year later, he met his biological father in Korea.
Today, he get to bow and say Happy New Year to his parents as well as his relatives for the first time in his life.

[INTERVIEW : Nam Yang-ja, Dawson's aunt] ''I never thought this day would come to have Bong-seok on a New Year's.
It's a day filled with joy and I couldn't be happier.''

His duties, as the oldest son of the family, are finally fulfilled as he visits the grave of the family's ancestors and pays his respects with a glass of rice wine.

[REPORTER : Song Ji-sun,song@arirang.co.kr] ''You've completed your tasks as the first son of your family, carrying out the traditional Seollal rituals. What's your impression on this?''

[REPORTER : Toby Dawson, Coach,Freestyle National Team] ''I didn't know I had so many grandfathers, it's a little confusing to me but I'm happy to be able to share the moment with the family and to do all the rituals.
And it's good to see more of the extended family, I haven't met a lot of them.''

After helping Korea win the bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Dawson was named head coach of Korea's freestyle ski team, a title he will hold until 2018.

[REPORTER : Toby Dawson, Coach,Freestyle National Team] ''Being part of the Pyeongchang bid and definitely doing the presentation in Durban, South Africa really connected me with the Korean people and I feel at home here and I am Korean, of course, in blood, and I'm getting more and more comfortable living here.''

Song Ji-sun, Arirang News, Busan.
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