Lim will need Korea's permission to race for China in Beijing
Short-track speed skater Lim Hyo-jun, who recently took Chinese citizenship because he had been prevented from competing in Korea under a sexual harassment charge, may not actually be permitted to compete for China at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Lim, the men's 1,500-meter short track gold medalist at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, falls foul of Olympic Charter Rule 41.
"A competitor who has represented one country in the Olympic Games, in continental or regional games or in world or regional championships," the charter says, "and who has changed his nationality or acquired a new nationality, may participate in the Olympic Games to represent his new country provided that at least three years have passed since the competitor last represented his former country."
Lim last represented Korea on March 10, 2019 at the ISU Short Track World Championships, a recognized international event. Under IOC rules, that means that Lim is not eligible to compete for China until March 10, 2022, more than one month after the Beijing Winter Games are set to begin.
There is an exception to the clause, which permits the athlete to compete with the permission of the national Olympic committees and international federations concerned, in this case China, Korea and the International Skating Union.
The Korean Sports & Olympic Committee (KSOC), Korea's national Olympic committee, has not made a public announcement on whether Lim will be allowed to compete or not. Considering the impact Lim competing could have on Team Korea's chances, it seems likely KSOC will not allow it.
Lim was the ace of the Korean men's short track team, winning gold and bronze at the 2018 Olympics. In June 2019, Lim allegedly pulled down the pants of a fellow skater during a rock climbing training session at Jincheon National Training Center, exposing the male teammate while female skaters were present.
The Korea Skating Union banned Lim for one year, but he filed for an injunction with the court in December 2019. The one-year punishment was frozen at that point.
BY JIM BULLEY, SEO JI-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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