Olympic curlers resign, citing abuse

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Olympic curlers resign, citing abuse

Four out of five players from Korea’s national women’s curling team abruptly tendered written resignations on Monday after the 2014 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship in Saint John, Canada, claiming that they had been verbally abused and harassed by a coach.

The athletes also alleged that he forced them to donate a certain amount of their prize money after the Sochi Olympics to support middle and high school curling teams.

The Gyeonggi government organized a joint investigation team with the Gyeonggi Sports Council on Thursday, questioning the four players later that day. The coach was summoned yesterday.

According to a briefing yesterday by the Gyeonggi government, the players claim that the coach used violent language during training sessions and sexually harassed another curler.

Furthermore, when Shinsegae, a Korea Curling Federation sponsor, promised the team 70 million won ($65,446) in prize money following the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia, the coach allegedly suggested that each curler donate 1 million won.

According to Hwang Jeong-eun, a spokeswoman for the Gyeonggi government, he also apparently scolded two curlers who refused to comply with his demands.

Each player is supposed to receive 7 million won. The coach reportedly admitted to most of the accusations leveled against him and said he will take responsibility. However, he told the investigators that he did not believe he was guilty of verbal abuse or sexual harassment.

“The coach admitted to most of the accusations,” Hwang said at the briefing. “He said he will take responsibility for his wrongdoings and resign.”

Meanwhile, the team’s manager has reportedly had little involvement in the case.

He returned to Korea because of a personal matter before the players filed their written resignations.

Hwang added that the Gyeonggi government does not have the authority to investigate him since he was appointed by the Korean Olympic Committee.

BY KIM BONG-MOON, LIM MYOUNG-SOO [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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