ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) - Speedskater Dong Sung Kim, who won a gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, says U.S. Speedskating unfairly barred him from coaching his team at the Nationals because of false allegations of "corporal punishment of children." The Nationals begin today (Friday).
Kim and his DS Speedskating team - 15 junior speedskaters ranging in age from 8 to 15, and one 50-year old skater - are all listed as plaintiffs in the Federal Complaint against Utah-based U.S. Speedskating, which regulates the sport in the United States.
Kim says U.S. Speedskating barred him "from participating in any way in the US Speedskating Nationals," in a letter and email. "The allegations or [sic] corporal punishment of children upon which this letter and email are based are, upon information and belief, without basis in fact," according to the complaint.
In fact, Kim says, barring kids' coach from competition puts the children at greater risk of getting hurt.
"Particularly for juvenile skaters, the presence at the event and direct participation of their coach is critical to ensure physical safety," Kim says. His 8-page complaint cites the inherent dangers of speedskating - the ice, the sharp skates, the speed and intense competition. He says his team needs his expertise at the competition, for their safety as well as their competitive success.
He seeks an injunction allowing him to coach his team at the Nationals, and damages for breach of contract, negligence, defamation, interference and other charges - including Sherman Act violations.
Kim and his team are represented by Barry Coburn with Coburn Greenbaum of Washington, D.C.