Leading Korea skating official resigns after Sochi flop

Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:50am EDT
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By Narae Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) - The powerful vice chairman of the Korean Skating Union (KSU), Jeon Myung-gyu, resigned on Monday as South Korea moved to put a disappointing Sochi Olympics behind it and start building for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games.

The KSU came under fire after the men's short track team failed to win a medal in Sochi, while Viktor Ahn, who won three golds for Korea in 2006 before switching allegiance to Russia, took three more titles for his adopted country.

Speculation was rife that factional infighting and favoritism was behind Ahn's switch, and President Park Geun-hye ordered an investigation into the case.

However, a KSU official told Reuters on Monday that Jeon's decision to step down was based purely on the Sochi disappointment.

"His resignation today has nothing to do with the allegation (that he is behind the factional infighting). He took the responsibility for the disappointing performance of the Korean team in Sochi," the official said by telephone.

"Since he has accomplished a lot for Korean skating, if we can seek help from him later we will."

South Korea is the traditional powerhouse of short track speed skating, topping the medal count in the sport at five of the past six Olympics.

But at Sochi, South Korea failed to win a single medal in the four men's races, while the women won two golds, a silver and two bronze medals.   Continued...