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Short track gold medalist joins #MeToo movement

Former short track speedskating champion Choi Min-kyung has pressed charges against her boss for sexual assault.

Choi, who won a gold medal in the 3,000-meter short track relay at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, now works at the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee.

In a complaint filed with police on Tuesday, Choi said her boss at KSOC had wrapped her arms around Choi’s neck and kissed her in a karaoke room during a get-together with colleagues in July last year.

Choi said it was extremely unpleasant, and she was baffled when the perpetrator told her she could thrive at the committee if she gained her favor.

Former short track speedskating champion Choi Min-kyung (Korean Sport & Olympic Committee)
Former short track speedskating champion Choi Min-kyung (Korean Sport & Olympic Committee)

The KSOC removed the accused woman from her post in February.

The KSOC had a panel of outside experts look into the matter and reviewed statements from other staff members who said they had been sexually abused by the same person.

The committee concluded last week that it was a case of sexual harassment, not assault.

Choi also said that a senior KSOC official who oversees a department for the prevention of sexual harassment tried to cover up the incident by telling her that a woman kissing another woman was not a big deal.

According to Choi, he added: “What are you going to do about your promotion?” and “Things like this must have happened a lot when you were an athlete.”

The KSOC said it had completed an investigation of the senior official and perpetrator, and would decide soon whether and how to punish them.

The Seoul Songpa Police Station said it has questioned Choi, who insists she was assaulted, not harassed.

Choi is the second sports figure to join the #MeToo movement here by going public with an experience of sexual violence.

Retired North Korean rhythmic gymnast Li Gyong-hui, who defected to the South and now coaches, revealed last month that she was sexually abused by a former senior official of the Korea Gymnastics Association.

By Kim So-hyun (