Choi Sun-sil Incident Having Influence on Sports
Choi Sun-sil Incident Having Influence on Sports
  • Reporter Jeong Yoon-han
  • 승인 2016.12.07 10:57
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Corruptions related to the Choi Sun-sil incident are continuously being revealed. One of the most significant events brought up to the surface recently was athletes getting caught up into the Choi Sun-sil incident. Turned out, not even the world’s greatest athletes can get past politicians.
Yuna Kim, former figure skater and Olympic champion, was reported to have fallen into disfavor with the government by refusing to participate in Neulpum calisthenics demonstration, which Cha Eun-taek took lead in. Yuna Kim refused the “invitation” since she was very busy at the time promoting PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and Youth Olympic Games.
Coincidence or not, Yuna Kim was exempted from 2015 Sports Stars selected by the Korean Sports & Olympic Committee select. Yuna Kim received 83.2% support among 12 candidates on the internet survey but was rejected at the final selection due to being “too young.” They explained that the committee accepted the opinion to choose between sport stars older than 50.
A short video clip of Yuna Kim standing aside President Park Geun-hye once again became an issue. The video was taken in August 2016, during a ceremony to celebrate South Korea’s 70th National Liberation Day. During the clip, Yuna Kim looks very uncomfortable standing aside President Park. The president holds Yuna Kim’s hand, but shortly afterwards, she gently let go of the president’s hand. Yuna Kim was criticized for being rude to the president on public at the moment, but she is now regaining her reputation, in accordance with the revelation of uncomfortable truth related to President Park.
Yuna Kim was not the only “athlete victim.” Park Tae-hwan, swimmer and also an Olympic gold medalist, had some trouble with politicians. Chong Kim, the former undersecretary of Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, “offered” Park Tae-hwan personal sponsorship and professorship if he gave up participating in Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, threatening with disadvantages if he refused. Eventually, Park Tae-hwan refused the offer and headed out to the Olympics. Park Tae-hwan reported that he felt lots of responsibilities and fear on his shoulders, but made a remark that participating in the Olympics as an athlete was the most important factor to consider. However, Park Tae-hwan also said he had a lot more to think of other than the race itself during Rio Olympics and showed some regret.
The biggest issue that emerged from this incident was that sports stars were no longer free from the government. They might have been called to show up at events or ceremonies they did not want to participate in. People are showing concerns that the reputation and image of athletes who represent South Korea are being damaged through politicians’ abuse of power for political purposes.