Olympic Speed Skater Claims Years of Abuse by Coach

Yuri Lee, Dec. 18, 2018, 9:27 a.m.

Olympic short track speed skater Shim Suk-hee on Monday accused her former coach of vicious assault ahead of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

"I was kicked and punched and thought I could die like this with just 20 days left before the Winter Olympics," she told a court in coach Cho Jae-beom's appeals trial. "As a result I suffered a concussion and lost consciousness while competing in the Olympics," she added.

Cho is serving a prison term for assault. 

Shim said she felt unable to appear in court in Cho's first trial because she was afraid of facing the defendant, "but I mustered the courage because I felt I needed to tell the truth."

Reading from a written memo, she added, "I was assaulted by the defendant with a hockey stick when I was in fourth grade and my finger broke. The intensity of the assaults increased after I went to junior high school."

Shim had been coached by Cho since she was in first grade.

Cho's history of assault came to light when Shim bolted from athletes' training camp with just three weeks left until the Winter Olympics. She claimed the reason she fell during her 1,500-meter preliminary round was the concussion she sustained during the assault.

"The defendant told me not to tell anyone about the assault. I hope he receives a stern punishment so that such violence is not repeated."

In September, a lower court sentenced Cho to just 10 months behind bars.

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