South Korean Olympic champion suspended for texting

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Two-time Olympic short track champion Shim Suk-hee has been suspended for two months for text messages which authorities say “undermine the dignity of athletes,” a move that could prevent him from attending the Beijing Winter Olympics.

The Korea Staking Union announced on Wednesday that it had decided to suspend Shim from the national team in a disciplinary meeting held on Tuesday.

Shim can appeal the decision to the Korean Olympic and Sports Committee or file an injunction with a local court. Even if one of them accepts their appeal, the Korea Staking Union is not obligated to cancel or reduce their sanction immediately and may hold another internal meeting to discuss whether to include it in the. national team, according to the skating union.

This possible lengthy process suggests that it is difficult for Shim to make it to Beijing as the Olympics are scheduled to open on February 4 and the South Korean Olympic committee plans to submit its short track entry list on January 24.

In October, Shim was kicked out of the squad after local media reported what he described as text messages exchanged between her and her coach that insulted two teammates and suggested she could have deliberately tripped the one of them, Choi Min-jeong, during the 2018 winter of Pyeongchang. Games.

After the exchange of messages, Shim and Choi did indeed fight amid a desperate late charge in the 1,000-meter race. Shim was then disqualified and Choi was placed fourth.

The Korea Staking Union said it had not found any evidence to prove that Shim intentionally tripped Choi.

Kim Seong-cheol, head of a Korean Skating Union committee that determined Shim’s two-month suspension, said she received the sanction because her posts invited public criticism and undermined the dignity of other athletes, according to the union.

Cho Hang-min, the trainer who exchanged the messages with Shim, was suspended for six months.

Shim’s agency was unable to immediately respond to a request for comment on the suspension. The 24-year-old had previously apologized to Choi, but denied having deliberately tripped him.

Choi and Shim are both South Korea’s top short track skaters. Shim won Olympic gold medals in the 3,000-meter relay in 2014 and 2018. Choi won gold in the 3,000-meter relay and 1,500-meter race in Pyeongchang.

After the 2018 Olympics, Shim grabbed the headlines by accusing another former coach of raping her amid a growing #MeToo movement in South Korea. Her revelation encouraged other female athletes to speak out about the alleged abuse they allegedly suffered from their coaches.


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