South Korea's Team Kim curlers speak at a press conference at Seoul Olympic Parktel, accusing their former coach and curling officials of verbal and emotional abuse on Nov. 15. (Yonhap)
South Korean curling officials and coaches who abused the national women's team members for years have been slapped with lifetime bans.
The Korean Curling Federation (KCF) announced Monday that its former Vice President Kim Kyung-doo, his daughter Kim Min-jung and her husband Jang Ban-seok will no longer be allowed to set foot in the sport.
The Kims were once considered the royal family in South Korean curling. Kim Kyung-doo was a founding member of the KCF in 1994.
Kim Min-jung was the head coach of the women's team when South Korea won silver at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Jang coached the mixed doubles team at the same Olympics.
South Korea's surprise silver medal, led by skip Kim Eun-jung, was one of the feel-good stories at the 2018 Winter Games. But later in that same year, Kim and her teammates claimed that they had endured years of verbal and emotional abuse by Kim Kyung-doo and his family. The sports ministry launched a probe into the athletes' charges, and the ministry concluded in February 2019 that those allegations turned out to be true. The Kim family also owed the athletes millions in prize money won at international competitions.
The ministry rejected the Kim family's appeal and ordered the KCF to mete out an appropriate punishment.
The KCF said Kim Kyung-doo and his family have all admitted to their abusive behavior and embezzlement of prize money. (Yonhap)