Shim text messages raise questions about 2018 collision

Home > Sports > More

print dictionary print

Shim text messages raise questions about 2018 collision

Shim Suk-hee, center, and Choi Min-jeong collide during the women's 1000-meter final at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung, Gangwon on Feb. 22, 2018. [JOONGANG ILBO]

Shim Suk-hee, center, and Choi Min-jeong collide during the women's 1000-meter final at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung, Gangwon on Feb. 22, 2018. [JOONGANG ILBO]

 
Olympic gold medalist short track speed skater Shim Suk-hee is caught up in controversy over a series of text messages she sent to a coach during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics that include insults directed at teammates and what some believe is a reference to race fixing.
 
Shim is one of Korea's top women’s short track speed skaters, alongside Choi Min-jeong, Kim Ji-yoo, Lee Yu-bin and Kim A-lang. Shim and Choi are two of the top athletes in the world. Shim has two Olympic gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze, while Choi has two golds.
 
Last week, an online news outlet reported on the text messages that Shim exchanged with a coach during the PyeongChang Olympics. The text messages were released as part of the written opinion of lawyers for former national team coach Cho Jae-beom, who is currently in prison for sexually and physically assaulting Shim.
 
Shim’s text message contained insults toward teammates Choi and Kim, including a mention of making Choi a "female Steven Bradbury."
 
The last remark was a reference to Australian short track Olympian Steven Bradbury, who won gold after all of his opponents crashed in a pileup and fell at the last minute during the men's 1000 meters at the 2002 Winter Games.

 
While reports differ over whether it was Choi or the coach that originally brought up Bradbury, the conversation has been interpreted as possibly eluding to the idea of causing Choi to fall during a race, perhaps to allow Shim to win. Whether that was actually what the message meant or not remains unclear, as Steven Bradbury was the person who won the race in 2002, not the person who fell.
 
Whether the comments were serious or not, Shim and Choi did fall while turning on the final corner of the women’s 1000-meter final at the 2018 PyeongChang Games. After a video review, Shim was disqualified and Choi missed out on a medal, taking fourth place. What was seen as an unfortunate collision between teammates at the time is now retroactively being investigated under the suspicion that Shim could have intentionally skated into Choi.  
 
“I sincerely apologize for disappointing and hurting others with my immature attitude and choice of words," said Shim in an official statement on Monday. "I would like to express my deep apologies to Kim, Choi and coaches."
 
Shim denied that the collision was intentional. 
 
"It was my dream to compete at the Olympic Games at home. I have never thought of intentionally tripping or tripping over someone else at the Olympic finals. I have never done anything of the sort. Choi and I both like put on a spurt from the outside. We collided and fell in that process. I hope investigations will reveal that this is a misunderstanding.”
 
According to the Korea Skating Union, an investigation into the race is ongoing. Meanwhile, Shim will no longer be staying with the other team members at the Jincheon National Training Center and will be excluded from next week’s World Cup series roster.
 
With the Beijing Winter Olympics just around the corner, the Korean national team is on high alert. Regardless of whether the allegations against Shim are true or not, it seems unlikely that the team will be able to return to its usual form as teamwork is as important as individual skill in short track speed skating.

BY YUN SO-HYANG [yun.sohyang@joongang.co.kr]
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
s
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now