Shim effectively barred from competing for Korea in Beijing
Olympic gold medalist short track speed skater Shim Suk-hee has been suspended from the national team for two months, effectively excluding her from the Korean entry for the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
The Korea Skating Union (KSU) ruled that Shim will face a two-month suspension at a disciplinary committee meeting on Tuesday for insulting her teammates during the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Shim was earlier cleared of alleged race-fixing charges on Dec. 8.
The entry for the Beijing Olympics ends on Jan. 24, 2022. The only way Shim would be permitted to compete at the Olympics is if she requests that her case is reconsidered at a committee meeting scheduled on Jan. 14 or successfully applies for an injunction against the disciplinary action. Neither option is especially likely to work.
Shim's case started with accusations of race fixing. After investigations into text messages sent by Shim that included what some believed was a reference to race fixing, the KSU reviewed video footage of a collision between Shim and Choi Min-jeong in the women’s 1000-meter final at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics and announced that there is not sufficient evidence of intentional race fixing on Dec. 8.
At the PyeongChang Games, Shim and Choi collided and fell while turning the final corner and, after a video review, Shim was disqualified while Choi missed out on a medal, taking fourth place.
What was seen as an unfortunate collision between teammates at the time started to be retroactively investigated in October under the suspicion that Shim could have intentionally skated into Choi after an online news outlet reported on text messages that Shim had 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.
Shim is one of Korea's top women's short track speed skaters, alongside Choi, 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.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]