Shim Suk-hee to rejoin Korean short track team on Wednesday
Short track speed skater Shim Suk-hee will return to the national short track team starting Wednesday to prepare for the ISU World Championships now that her two-month suspension has been lifted.
Shim had been serving a two-month suspension from the Korean short track team that ended last week, a day after the 2022 Beijing Olympics finished.
On Dec. 21, two months before the Beijing Games, Shim was suspended from the national team for two months for insulting her teammates during the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics and effectively excluded from the Korean national team entry.
Shim not only missed out on the Games, but also had to skip the National Winter Sports Festival that ran from Friday to Monday because athletes were not allowed to apply to compete while suspended.
Shim will now join the national team for the first time since October last year, when she was removed from the Jincheon National Training Center. Shim will join Choi Min-jeong to train for the ISU World Championships starting March 18 in Montreal, Canada. Shim and Choi are both qualified to compete in the 500 meters, 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters and team relay.
However, the nature of Shim's suspension — for insulting other athletes — raises questions over whether she will actually be able to compete in the team relay or whether Choi will choose to compete at the Championships at all, let alone team up with Shim.
The controversy surrounds text messages that show Shim insulting her teammates during the PyeongChang Games. The 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. The text messages also sparked an investigation into whether Shim was involved in race fixing, although she has subsequently been cleared.
The alleged race fixing accusations date back to the collision between Shim and Choi during the women's 1,000-meter final at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, when the two fell while turning the final corner. After a video review, Shim was disqualified and Choi missed out on a medal, taking fourth place.
On Feb. 18, Choi returned from Beijing as the Korean athlete with the most medals from the 2022 Winter Olympics. Choi won the women's 1,500-meter gold medal, the 3,000-meter relay silver and women's 1,000-meter silver at the Games.
The ISU World Championships will run from March 18 to 20 in Montreal, Canada.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [email@example.com]