Shim Suk-hee loses legal challenge, will miss Beijing Games
Short track speed skater Shim Suk-hee has lost her legal challenge against a two-month suspension from the Korean short track team, ruling her out of the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
According to reports Tuesday, Shim's legal bid for an injunction against a two-month suspension handed down by the Korea Skating Union in December was rejected by a Seoul court.
Shim was suspended from the national team for two months on Dec. 21 for insulting her teammates during the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics and effectively excluded from the Korean national team entry. She applied for an injunction against the disciplinary action on Jan. 6.
Text messages that showed Shim insulting her teammates during the PyeongChang Games 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. The text messages also sparked an investigation into whether Shim was involved in race fixing, although she has subsequently been cleared.
Shim's attorneys attempted to argue that she was facing "double punishment" because she had already been suspended from World Cup events while the Korea Skating Union investigated the text messages. The bid for an injunction also highlighted that the text messages were illegally leaked and she shouldn't be penalized for them.
The Korea Skating Union's lawyers refuted both arguments on the basis that the World Cup suspension wasn't punishment, just part of the investigation process, and the legality of the text messages as evidence was immaterial as Shim had already acknowledged her wrongdoing and apologized.
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.
Korea will be competing in all nine short track events at the Beijing Olympics — the mixed team pursuit, the women’s 500-meter, 1000-meter, 1500-meter, the women’s team pursuit, men’s 500-meter, 1000-meter, 1500-meter and team pursuit.
Shim's absence could come as a blow to the short track team's medal chances. In PyeongChang, Korea won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals in short track. Shim was involved in one of those gold medals, the women's 3,000-meter relay.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]