The Republic of Korea has always been a powerhouse in short-track speed skating, while Yuna Kim won the country's first figure skating gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, spurring more local interest in winter sports.
"A home ground advantage is strong in this sport", Yun said.
Yun, who won the hosts' second gold of the Games, finished 1.63 seconds ahead of Nikita Tregubov, an Olympic Athlete from Russian Federation, while Briton Dom Parsons took bronze after five-time world champion and Olympic silver medallist Martins Dukurs of Latvia made mistakes in his final run.
He is now 1.02 seconds faster than two-time Olympic silver medalist Martins Dukurs of Latvia.
The 23-year-old was by far the most consistent performer throughout the competition and headed into the decisive fourth and final run with a virtually unassailable lead of more than a second.
Prior to the PyeongChang Games, only nine countries had won medals in skeleton, but Yun re-wrote history on Friday.
On what was already a day of celebration in the Korean calendar, as they country marked the Lunar New Year, Yun's performance on the sliding track had the nation glued to their TV sets.
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Americans Matt Antoine, who won bronze in Sochi, and John Daly, finished Day 1 in 11th and 13, respectively. Michela Moioli won the snowboard cross to give Italy its second gold medal of the Games.
Yun smashed that. South Korea has its first Olympic sliding gold, and got it emphatically.
"He doesn't speak very good English, so I was kind of turning to him like 'did that really just happen?"
For the US, 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Matt Antoine was 11th and three-time Olympian John Daly was 16th.
Dom Parsons of Britain was third. He came back to the sport after retiring to rewrite his Olympic history, but his first run left him wanting more.
"But this is just the beginning for me". "I don't know if I'm ever going to get another run in the Olympics again".