Former South Korean short-track speed skater Lim Hyo-jun has officially found a new team to compete with at the next Olympics.
In an announcement on Monday, Lim, who also goes by his Chinese name Lin Xiaojun, will officially compete for China as part of the country’s national team in the next Olympics. The news came months after the International Skating Union cleared the speed skater to compete in July.
The 26-year-old athlete was announced as one of the nine men and eight women that would make up the Chinese national team. They are expected to compete in several international events this year, including the World Cup in Canada next month and the Four Continents Championships in Salt Lake City in November, according to The Chosun Ilbo.
Lim was involved in a controversy after the Korea Skating Union banned him from competing and practicing for a year for pulling down the pants of another younger athlete at Jincheon National Training Center in Jincheon, South Korea, on June 17, 2019.
Lim reportedly took his case to court to file an injunction in December 2019.
While the Seoul Central District Public Prosecutors’ Office charged him with sexual harassment and ordered him to pay a fine of 3 million won (approximately $2,660) in May 2020, the appellate court found him not guilty in November.
The court later found that the victim had allegedly acted aggressively in front of the women present when his pants were pulled down. It stated that it was difficult to determine if what Lim did could be considered sexual harassment.
Lim left for China in March 2021 after completing the Chinese special naturalization process. It was also reported that the former South Korean speed skater had already received his Chinese passport and renounced his Korean citizenship.
“As the trial and the Skating Union’s disciplinary period have been prolonged, it has become difficult for Lim to continue his dream of going to the Olympics with the Taegeuk mark,” Lim’s agency said.
“Lim wanted to win his second straight Olympic gold medal in Beijing as a Korean representative, but he hasn’t been able to train anywhere in Korea for the past two years. He just wanted to find ways to put his skates back on as an ice skater.”
Although Lim acquired his Chinese citizenship months before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, he was still barred from representing China at the competition. The International Olympics Committee’s rules state that athletes who want to represent another country must wait three years after their last competition.
Under South Korea’s national team, Lim won the country a gold medal in the men’s 1,500-meter short-track speed skating and a bronze medal in the 500 meters during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
He also won world titles in the 1,000-meter, 1,500-meter, 3,000-meter and 5,0000-meter relays in March 2019.
Featured Image via maxime st-jules