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South Korean Olympic gold medalist claims assault by coach

By
Wooyoung Lee
Two-time Olympic short track speed skating champion Shim Suk-hee attends an appeals trial at the Suwon District Court on Monday to give her testimony on former South Korean national short track coach Cho Jae-beom's habitual assaults of multiple short track skaters, including her. Cho was sentenced to 10 months in prison at the first trial. Photo by Yonhap
Two-time Olympic short track speed skating champion Shim Suk-hee attends an appeals trial at the Suwon District Court on Monday to give her testimony on former South Korean national short track coach Cho Jae-beom's habitual assaults of multiple short track skaters, including her. Cho was sentenced to 10 months in prison at the first trial. Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- A short track Olympic gold medalist Shim Suk-hee said she has been assaulted by her coach for many years, in a court testimony on Monday, South Korean media reported.

Shim, who emerged as a star in speed skating after winning three medals at the 2014 Winter Games, also claimed that she sustained a concussion after her coach Cho Jae-beom hit her head just 20 days before Pyeongchang Winter Games earlier this year.

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Shim appeared at Suwon District Court on Monday to speak as a witness in an appeal. Cho was indicted for assaulting four short track speed skating athletes, including Shim, since 2011. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison in the first trial in September but appealed against the sentence.

Shim testified against him to reveal his assaults and called for a heavier punishment.

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Shim, who started short track speed skating at the age of 6, said Cho started assaulting her since she was 8 and the abuse continued until right before Pyeongchang Winter Games in February, Sports Kyunghyang reported.

Ahead of the Winter Olympics, Cho hit her with fists and feet until she felt "she would die," Shim said. Another assault on her head caused her to suffer a concussion, a major reason Shim said she didn't perform well at the recent Winter Olympic Games.

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According to Shim's testimony, Shim broke her finger when she was 11 after Cho hit her with an ice hockey stick and his violence grew worse as she became older.

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"Cho took me to a closed place and assaulted me brutally. His assaults also caused an eardrum rupture of another athlete," she said at the court, Seoul Shinmun reported.

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