Senior skating official resigns while under gov’t probe

April 11, 2018
In this file photo from Feb. 17, 2014, Jun Myung-kyu, then vice president of the Korea Skating Union, watches the national speed skating team's practice during the Sochi Winter Olympics at Adler Arena in Sochi, Russia. (Yonhap)

In this file photo from Feb. 17, 2014, Jun Myung-kyu, then vice president of the Korea Skating Union, watches the national speed skating team’s practice during the Sochi Winter Olympics at Adler Arena in Sochi, Russia. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, April 11 (Yonhap) — A senior South Korean skating official resigned from his post on Wednesday as the national skating federation faces a government probe over a series of controversies.

Jun Myung-kyu said he has stepped down as vice president of the Korea Skating Union (KSU). The 55-year-old had been considered the most powerful figure in South Korean short track. He previously served as the national team head coach and developed such Olympic champions as Ahn Hyun-soo, Kim Dong-sung and Chun Lee-kyung. Jun later became an influential administrator.

He had his first stint as KSU vice president from 2009 to 2014, but in March 2014, he quit while facing allegations of encouraging factional feuds within the national short track team.

Jun returned to the post in February last year, a year before the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. But weeks prior to the Olympics, the KSU came under fire for mishandling qualifying procedures in women’s speed skating and almost costing Noh Seon-yeong a spot in the team pursuit race. In January, a national short track coach was fired after physically assaulting star skater Shim Suk-hee during practice.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee have been investigating these incidents since March 26, in addition to other allegations of corruption within the KSU.

In a recent investigative reporting TV program, Jun was depicted as a strongman in South Korean skating who has abused his power over the years to give favors to athletes with personal connections with him.

“I decided I could no longer carry on as an executive of the KSU, and it was only right for me to step down,” Jun said in a statement. “Whether the allegations that have surfaced recently are true or not, I’d like to apologize to skating fans for the trouble this has caused. I will not take on any position within the KSU, and will fully cooperate with the ongoing probe.”

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