Four members of the women’s national curling team have resigned from their semi-pro club amid reports they were verbally, sexually and financially abused by their coach. Assistant coach Choi Min-suk has been fired from the Gyeonggi Provincial Government affiliated semi-pro curling club after an investigation concluded that the coach forced the four women to pay him part of their winnings from the Sochi Olympics.
The team received seven million won each from their sponsor Shinsegae Group, and were strong armed into giving the coach one million each for what he said was to ‘encourage the young curlers’. The coach also verbally abused the four young women, aged 23 to 27 which he also claimed was to ‘encourage them to perform better.’
The team of Um Min-ji, Lee Seul-bee, Kim Ji-sun and Gim Un-ji became household names in Korea during the Winter Olympics and finished fourth last month at the curling world championships in Saint John, New Brunswick. The eldest member of the team, 36-year-old Shin Mi-sung, did not implicate the coach.
The Korean Curling Federation plans to impose harsh sanctions against Choi.