Lee "Flash" Young Ho is one of the most iconic professional gamers of all-time, dominating the StarCraft scene over his nine-year career. Flash was widely considered to be the best StarCraft: Brood War player and a consistent contender and fan favorite in StarCraft 2. His most recent victory was his brilliant run at IEM Toronto in 2014.
Soon after his retirement announcement, theScore eSports was able to talk to Flash about the circumstances of his retirement as well as his plans for the future.
Many fans were saddened by your retirement announcement. What made you decide that now was the time to stop playing competitively?
I decided to retire because I thought that I should move on to new challenges.
You’ve left a legacy as one of, if not the greatest, StarCraft players of all time. What’s next for you?
I’m not too sure. For December I will rest and then slowly begin to make some plans.
How much do you know about new players starting to play SC2 in Korea? Are you confident that SC2 will be getting new talent?
If the players work hard then it is definitely possible, but it will take a lot of work.
How do you feel about Legacy of the Void? Many people are saying it is the closest to Brood War SC2 has ever been.
It’s a bit similar but to be honest. I haven’t played Legacy of the Void that much so I’m not too sure [laughs].
Over the past few years, we’ve seen that some retirements (like MC or Stephano) are not as absolute as they seem. Is there a chance that we will see you in a tournament or two in the future?
I don’t think you will see me. Honestly, I think that I think a bit differently about retirement than they did.
Your last major win was at IEM: Toronto over a year ago in 2014, but since then you haven’t been able to claim a title. What would you attribute that to?
There are many reasons, but I think I was lacking individually. I wasn’t able to put in a lot of effort and issues like that.
What is the one thing you will miss most about being an active pro gamer?
I think I will miss the love from the fans a lot.
Over the years, who have you looked to for inspiration as a pro gamer? Are there any younger players you want to see succeed?
I don’t think I’ve really looked up to any other pro gamer. As for who I want to see succeed, hmm... Jang Hyun-Woo [Creator] or Jung Ji-Hoon [jjakji]? They transferred recently and are two younger players who like me quite a bit so I hope they do well.
Over the past nine years, what was your favorite memory from your pro gaming career?
It’s always the wins that you remember but right now it’s the retirement ceremony. I don’t think I’ll be able to forget it.
What advice do you have to pass on to current players, both Foreigners and Koreans?
No matter what the situation, I hope that each player tries their best with a sense of duty.
Throughout your career, you have travelled to many places to compete at. Which tournament destination has been your favorite?
IEM Toronto is one that comes to mind. It was my first SC2 win so it’s unforgettable.
Do you have any final thoughts for your fans?
For nine years I have received so much love and I will try to live my life without ever forgetting that love. Thank you for always having supported me.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.