|Shim Suk-hee / Yonhap|
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Olympic gold medalist in short track speed skating Shim Suk-hee has claimed that she had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by former national team coach Cho Jae-bum since 2014.
According to SBS News, Tuesday, Shim filed a lawsuit against Cho, Dec. 17 last year, months after he was sentenced to a 10-month jail term for physically assaulting Shim and abusing his power. Cho was put behind bars while he appealed to the high court.
Shim claimed that she had been sexually abused and harassed by Cho since the summer of 2014 while preparing for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. She was 17, a second-year high school student, at the time.
The Olympic gold medalist said Cho's sexual assaults were chronic alongside his indiscriminate physical assaults over the last four years.
"I was encouraged to disclose what I had gone through to ensure that there will be no more victims like me in sports in the future," Shim said.
She said she didn't disclose Cho's sexual assaults earlier because he had threatened to ruin her career if she did so.
Shim decided to take the courage to break her silence after receiving a letter from one of her fans who wrote that Shim had inspired her to confront others' wrongdoings.
Her legal team filed the additional charge against Cho with the police and also submitted evidence to the high court to ask for harsher punishment of the former coach.
"She has been gripped by the traumatic experiences because she was sexually abused by the coach since she was a teenager," said Im Sang-hyuk, her lawyer.
Shim won a gold medal in the women's 300-meter short track relay at the PyeongChang Olympics. She also won gold, silver and bronze medals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.