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Newz Forum: OLYMPICS: Scandal strikes South Korean speedskating team

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posted on Nov, 11 2004 @ 03:10 PM
SEOUL, South Korea -- Two national team coaches and several senior skating officials resigned this week amid reports of harsh training and physical punishment on the country's acclaimed short-track speedskating team.

Six top female skaters, four of them teenagers, left training camp Nov. 3 to protest alleged beatings by coaches. The six were not available for comment.

After the alleged abuse was reported, two coaches stepped down and seven board members of Korea Skating Union resigned Wednesday.

South Korea's national Yonhap news agency quoted statements from skaters. Yonhap did not identify the coaches or the athletes, who detailed their accusations in handwritten statements. Korea Skating Union denied the athletes wrote such statements but said it was investigating.

During training in October, a coach spanked a skater on her hips with a plastic cover for the skate blade and made her do push-ups until she collapsed, according to the statements. The coach later grabbed her by the neck to punch her face nonstop, they said. The beatings took place not only during training but during international competitions.

South Korea has swept most international events in short track speedskating since the 1994 Olympics, where it won four gold medals. The country also won six of 10 gold medals available at the 2003 Winter Asian Games.

National sports teams in South Korea have been criticized for harsh training. Corporal punishment was a common practice in South Korean schools until recently.




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