Too many outbursts of anger

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Too many outbursts of anger


“It’s already too late, so it would have been better if they waited a few more days,” I thought. “Just until the Sochi Winter Olympics ends.” I agree that the Korea Skating Union must be investigated over the allegations of factionalism and other irregularities. I hope the investigation eventually enables Korean athletes to go higher and farther. But this conversation is starting too late.

I could not help but frown because of the timing of the probe. “I wonder if the issue of Ahn Hyun-soo was caused by the irregularities and friction in the sports community,” said President Park Geun-hye, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism immediately responded with a probe.

No matter what actually happened, the union is fighting in the Olympics by leading our skaters. When a battle is ongoing, what we can do at the rear is assist the troops and pray for their safe return. Who benefits from planning to punish the commander in a battle? What will other countries think?

The start of the controversy is Ahn, who became a naturalized citizen of Russia in protest of the Korea Skating Union and then ended up winning a gold medal. Ahn had already raised allegations about the schism in the Korean skating community before his naturalization. Criticism of the skating community has been going on for years.

I wonder why we turned a blind eye to the issues at the time. I feel pity for our young skaters. After spending four difficult years preparing for the Olympics, the young athletes faced trouble because of the adults when they should have been focusing on the Games. And yet they are still writing a new history and that makes us feel solemn.

Korea’s over-enthusiastic Internet users were involved in another embarrassment. They bombarded the Twitter page of Elise Christie, the British speed skater who crashed and took out Park Seung-hi and another skater in the 500-meter short track final, with insults and angry comments. The BBC reported the incident very seriously.

Korea is perhaps the only country where it is a part of everyday life for Internet users to launch online attacks en masse against a stranger. Christie must have been the one who was hurt the most. She deserves consolation, not curses.

The most unfortunate thing about this Olympics was not that our athletes’ performances fell short of expectations, but that the below-average standard of the Korean people was made public internationally. I wish the Olympics would create a new Games, where patience, composure and manners were rewarded. The Korean people, then, would be forced to learn the rules of the game to win a gold medal.

JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 20, Page 31

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.


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