Speed skating: S. Korean Olympic short track champion Lim guilty of sexual harassment but avoids jail time

SEOUL (AFP) – South Korean Olympic short track speed skating gold medallist Lim Hyo-jun was convicted on Thursday (May 7) of sexually harassing a fellow male athlete by pulling down his trousers, a Seoul court said.

The 23-year-old won the 1,500m on home ice at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang and also took bronze in the 500m.

But last year he was charged for forcibly pulling down the victim’s clothing in front of teammates at the national training centre, and in August was banned from competition for a year.

He was fined three million won (S$3,473) and ordered to undergo 40 hours of therapy for sex offenders, a spokesman for the Seoul Central District Court told AFP.

Reports said prosecutors had requested a prison sentence.

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

But in an already intensely competitive society, winning is virtually everything in its sports community – and physical and verbal abuse are rife.

The nation’s short track speed skating community in particular has faced several serious abuse scandals in recent years.

Last year, double Olympic gold medallist Shim Suk-hee went public with accusations her former coach molested and physically abused her multiple times.

The coach was jailed for a year and a half.

Also in 2019, a male skater was suspended for a month after secretly getting into the female dorm at the national training centre.

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