[Writer's Choice] South Korean Speed Skating Olympic Champion Banned Over Sexual Harassment

Jay Yim, Aug. 9, 2019, 4:40 p.m.

Lim Hyo Jun, Olympic short-track speed skating champion, has been banned for a year from competing after sexually harassing a fellow male athelete, officials said Friday.

Lim, 23, at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, won the gold medal for the 1500m and bronze for the 500m.

In June, however, according to a Korea Skating Union official, Lim pulled down the victim's trousers in front of the other teammates at the national training centre.

"Lim will be banned from competing in any sporting event until August 7 next year," the official told AFP.

In addiiton to Lim, the KSU suspended four other short-track speed skaters from the national training centre for two months on Friday for "misbehaviour involving drinking". Two of the skaters were Olympic medallists.

These cases are the latest in a series of other embarassing off-field incidents in South Korean sports.

South Korea is a regional sporting power and regularly in the top 10 medal-table places at the summer and winter Olympics.

However, winning is virtually everything in the South's sports community, especially with its intensly competitive society. The physical and verbal abuse in the South is a common occurence, unfortunately.

In particular, the short-track speed skating community has faced several serious scandals involving abuse in recent years.

In January of this year, two-time Olympic gold medallist Shim Suk Hee's incident went viral after her former coach received accusations of sexually molesting and physicalling abusing her multiple times.

In another case earlier this year, a male skater was suspended for a month after he snuck into the female dorm at the national training centre.

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