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Speed skaters choose not to appeal DUI-related bans

Aug. 18, 2022 - 10:06 By Yonhap
This composite photo shows four South Korean speed skaters on their way to a disciplinary hearing at the Olympic Velodrome in Seoul last Monday, following their involvement in a drunk driving accident inside the National Training Center in Jincheon, 90 kilometers south of the capital. From left: Kim Min-seok, Chung Jae-won, Chung Jae-woong and Jeong Seon-kyo. (Yonhap)

Four South Korean speed skaters, including three-time Olympic medalist Kim Min-seok, have decided not to appeal their recent suspension over a drunk driving accident, an official with the national Olympic body said Thursday.

The official from the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) said Kim and three of his fellow national team athletes did not submit appeals by Wednesday's deadline.

On Aug. 8, the Korea Skating Union (KSU) suspended Kim for 18 months for impaired driving in July. Chung Jae-woong was banned for one year for also driving under the influence of alcohol. Jeong Seon-kyo and Chung Jae-won were suspended six months and two months, respectively, for abetting drunk driving and riding in the vehicle driven by their intoxicated teammates.

On July 22, the four skaters went for dinner and drinks just outside the National Training Center in Jincheon, some 90 kilometers south of Seoul.

Chung Jae-woong, while intoxicated, got behind the wheel of Kim's car and drove his three teammates back into the training compound.

After they returned, Kim, Jeong and Chung Jae-woong joined the birthday party for a short track speed skater, Park Ji-yun, at the Welcome Center. After the party ended, Kim offered to drive Jeong, Chung and Park back to their dorm, and crashed into a structure separating the sidewalk and the driveway.

The skaters walked back to their rooms without reporting the accident, which was caught on a security camera in the area.

Kim, 23, is a rising star in speed skating. At the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, he won silver in the men's team pursuit and bronze in the men's 1,500 meters. Earlier this year at the Beijing Games, Kim grabbed his second consecutive bronze in the 1,500m. It was also South Korea's first medal in Beijing.

Chung Jae-won also won the team pursuit silver in 2018 and added silver in the mass start in Beijing this year. (Yonhap)