South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun
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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Suzanne Schulting, top short track speed skater, to miss worlds due to COVID-19

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Dutch short track speed skater Suzanne Schulting, who won individual gold, silver and bronze at the Olympics, will miss the world championships that start Friday after testing positive for COVID-19.

“Mentally, I’m broken,” was posted on the social media of Schulting, who swept all five events at the 2021 Worlds. “It is and was a long season. I reloaded myself and I felt so ready to defend my 5 titles.. I did everything in my power to stay negative, but unfortunately it didn’t work out.”

Schulting was due to be one of the biggest stars of worlds in Montreal (airing live on Peacock). South Korean Choi Min-Jeong and Hungarian Shaoang Liu are the remaining individual gold medalists from the Olympics who are entered.

China sent no skaters to worlds, as it did for figure skating worlds last month. Other stars passing on the event include the top American, Kristen Santos, Italian Arianna Fontana and South Korean Hwang Dae-Heon.

The U.S. roster is led by two-time Olympian Maame Biney, looking to become the first American to earn a world medal since J.R. Celski in 2014.

Canadian Charles Hamelin, a medalist at the last five Olympics, is expected to retire after competing at a home worlds.

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Short track speed skating world championships postponed to April

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The world short track speed skating championships have been postponed three weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

The International Skating Union and Speed Skating Canada, which hosts worlds in Montreal, moved the competition from March 18-20 to April 8-10.

The ISU’s other world championships in Olympic disciplines — in speed skating and figure skating — remain as scheduled this month. Speed skating worlds began Thursday in Hamar, Norway. Figure skating worlds are in Montpellier, France, in three weeks.

The 2020 World Short Track Championships were among the first major sports events canceled due to the pandemic. The 2021 Worlds in the Netherlands were also affected, with no skaters competing from powerhouses China and South Korea.

Entries for this year’s worlds have not been posted. Skaters from Russia and Belarus are barred from international competition until further notice.

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