A national short track team coach has been expelled after allegations of sexual harassment of an athlete emerged, officials said Friday.
The Korea Skating Union said the coach, whose identity was being withheld, was kicked off the team Thursday after the national skating governing body belatedly learned of his past allegations.
The national short track team is gearing up for the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia just under a month away.
According to skating officials, the coach had apparently tried to touch a female short tracker against her will in 2012. The coach didn’t face any investigation or discipline at the time.
A local television station first reported on these accusations earlier Friday, saying a high-ranking KSU official had also tried to cover up the incident.
The KSU is also on the hot seat for naming the coach to the national team for the Olympics despite his history. An official with the governing body claimed the KSU wasn’t aware of past allegations at the time of the coaching selection.
“We will launch a thorough investigation and sternly deal with the situation,” the official said, adding that a disciplinary committee meeting will also convene in the coming days to hold other related figures responsible.
The national short trackers are scheduled to depart for Europe later this month to set up a training camp ahead of the Winter Olympics and will likely have to do so with one fewer coach.
“It isn’t easy to name someone new so close to the Olympics,” another KSU official said. “No matter what, we will try to ensure our athletes are not distracted.”
South Korea leads all countries with 19 gold medals in Olympic short track competitions. The country has won 45 medals in Winter Olympics, and 37 of them have come from the short track. (Yonhap News)