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S. Korean short track team faced with division and discord

S. Korean short track team faced with division and discord

Posted October. 11, 2021 07:22,   

Updated October. 11, 2021 07:22


The South Korea national short track team has reportedly been embroiled in internal discord among athletes, causing public concern over its preparations for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, just less than four months later.

Shim Suk-hee, a leading female athlete of South Korea, has come under controversy that she allegedly exchanged disparaging messages with a team coach against her colleagues during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Entertainment media Dispatch released a series of text messages reportedly written by Shim using foul language to ridicule Choi Min-jeong and Kim A-lang, who were then part of the national team. The messages imply content that is presumably associated with intentional disqualification. Back then, Shim, Choi and Kim teamed up to win a gold medal in the women’s 3,000-meter relay.

Although Shim put her career on hold for more than a year after it was reported that she was sexually and physically harassed by other team coach, Shim successfully came back at a selection contest in May to join the national team. As Choi and Kim were also qualified for the forthcoming Olympics, the three women athletes will go to Beijing in February next year.

If Dispatch’s report turns out to be true, it will only increase controversy. The Korea Skating Union is currently working on fact finding. “This incident is something that no one would ever imagine,” said an insider of the skating field. “If it is true, Shim is unlikely to be allowed to stay in the national team for the Beijing Olympics given how enraged the public usually gets by such a scandal.” It has been reported that Shim will explain her position soon.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com