Kim Dong-sung

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Kim Dong-sung
Personal information
Born (1980-02-09) February 9, 1980 (age 38)
Seoul, South Korea
Height 175 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 74 kg (163 lb)
Country  South Korea
Sport Short track speed skating
Retired 2005
Achievements and titles
World finals World Championship
2002 Overall
1997 Overall
World Cup
2001–02 Overall
1998–99 Overall
Personal best(s) 500 m: 41.527 (2001)
1000 m: 1:27.307 (1999)
1500 m: 2:15.685 (2000)
3000 m: 4:46.727 (1998)

Kim Dong-Sung (Hangul: 김동성, Hanja: 金東聖, born 9 February 1980) is a South Korean former short track speed skater. He won a gold medal in 1000m race and silver medal in 5000m relay at the 1998 Winter Olympics. He has been a two-time Overall World Champion in 1997 and in 2002 and two-time Overall World Cup Champion (1999-2000, 2001-2002).

Early life[edit]

Kim Dong-sung was born in Seoul, the third of three children of Kim Tae-young and his wife Yoo Young-hee.[1] Kim started skating and competing in long track when he was seven years old, but switched to short track two years later.[2]


Early career[edit]

In February 1996, Kim was first called up to the South Korean national team and made his senior debut at the Asian Winter Games in Harbin, China at the age of 16, where he won the gold medal in the men's 5000 metre relay together with Olympic champions Chae Ji-hoon and Song Jae-kun, and three medals in the individual events. In March 1996, Kim also made his first appearance at the World Championships in The Hague, where he won bronze as a member of the 5000 metre relay team.

1996–1997 season[edit]

World Junior Championships[edit]

In January 1997, Kim competed in the World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships held in Marquette, Michigan. In the tourney, Kim won all five events (overall, 500 m, 1000 m, 1500 m, 1500 m super final), easily dominating all other competitors including Rusty Smith, François-Louis Tremblay and Dan Weinstein every race. Kim set two world junior records at the championships. On January 11, he broke the 500 m world junior record, recording a time of 43.491 seconds.[3] Next day, Kim would set another world junior record in the 1500 m super final, skating the 1500 m in 2:19.828.[4]

World Championships[edit]

Two months after winning the overall world junior championship title, Kim competed in the World Championships in Nagano as a member of the South Korean senior national team. Kim then won his first overall world championship title clinching gold in the 1000 metres, 3000 metres and 5000 metre relay. Kim became the first short track speed skater to win the overall world championship titles both at junior and senior levels in the same year. A week after the World Championships in Nagano, Kim added another world championship gold medal at the World Short Track Speed Skating Team Championships in Seoul as a key member of the South Korean national squad.

1997–1998 season[edit]

Winter Olympics[edit]

Kim began to be hampered with knee problems after the 1997 World Championships, which caused him to miss most of the 1997–1998 season. In February 1998, a year after winning the overall world championship title, Kim competed in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano as a favorite. While he met disappointment in the 500 metres, he won the gold medal in the 1000 metres. After trailing Li Jiajun of China at the final corner of the last lap in the 1000 m final race, Kim stuck out his foot to get his blade to cross the line first, catching Li off-guard by 0.053 seconds.[5] He also helped the Korean team to win the silver medal in the 5000 metre relay.[6]

1998–1999 season[edit]

After the Nagano Olympics, Kim underwent his first arthroscopic surgery and was sidelined for the better half of a year. Kim came back from injury for the third race of the 1998–1999 World Cup in Zoetermeer, where he finished first overall winning gold in the 500 metres, 1500 metres and 5000 metre relay. Kim continued to dominate at the fourth race in Székesfehérvár and fifth race in Nobeyama, placing first overall in both with five individual gold medals (one in 1000 m, two in 1500 m, two in 3000 m). Kim, however, had controversial disqualifications in the quarterfinals of the 500 metres and 1000 metres at the final World Cup race in Beijing, China. Since Kim earned 75 points and Li Jiajun was 2 points behind Kim in the overall standings before the Beijing race, Korean media said the disqualification decisions were completely biased toward the Chinese skater for his overall title. Li eventually won the overall 1998–1999 World Cup title and Kim would have to settle for third spot on the overall podium. Ironically, a month after the Beijing World Cup, Li Jiajun did not make any individual medal at the 1999 Winter Asian Games in Gangwon, South Korea, controversially disqualified as well in the 500 metres and 1500 metres.

1999–2000 season[edit]

World Cup[edit]

At the first race of the 1999–2000 World Cup in Montreal, Kim won the 500 metres and 1000 metres, ranked first in the overall competition. Kim continued his successful run at the second 1999–2000 World Cup race in Salt Lake City, where he won the overall competition again with five gold medals and one silver finishing on podium in all disciplines. At the third race in Nobeyama, Kim finished second in the overall standings winning the 3000 metres and 5000 meter relay. On December 5, 1999, Kim set two world records on the same day at the fourth World Cup race in Changchun. Kim first set a world record time of 1:27.307 when he finished first in the 1000 m final, and then broke another world record in the 5000 m relay with a time of 6:49.618 as a member of the South Korean relay team. He added one 5000 metre relay gold and one 1000 m bronze at the fifth World Cup race in Gothenburg as well. Thus, Kim won his first overall World Cup title edging out two-time overall champion Li Jiajun.

-The 3000 metres event at the World Cup was not officially awarded overall.

World Championships[edit]

On March 11, 2000, during the 500 metre semifinals at the 2000 World Championships in Sheffield, Kim and Li Jiajun crashed at the corner and Kim's right shoulder was severely cut by Li's skating blade. With blood spurting from Kim's shoulder onto the ice, he left the ice rink on a stretcher. Kim was subsequently taken to hospital and operated on, which ruled him out for the rest of the tournament.

2000–2001 season[edit]

After recovering from a shoulder injury the prior season, Kim returned to compete in the 2000–2001 World Cup Series. Kim, however, re-injured his knee during a race and decided to sit out the rest of the season after the third World Cup race in Nobeyama. He then underwent his second arthroscopic surgery since 1998.

2001–2002 season[edit]

World Cup[edit]

Kim bounced back from injury in the 2001–2002 season. At the first race of the 2001–2002 World Cup in Changchun, he won gold in the 1000 metres, 1500 metres and 5000 metre relay, finishing first in the overall competition. At the second race in Nobeyama, he archived podium finishes in all six disciplines accumulating gold in the 3000 metres and 5000 metre relays. At the third race of the World Cup in Calgary, He placed first overall and won three gold medals. At the fourth race in Sofia, He won gold in all three individual disciplines of the Olympics (500 m, 1000 m, 1500 m), finishing first in the overall competition again. Kim eventually secured his second overall World Cup title at the last race of the season in Amsterdam, where he finished second overall with the 1500 metre gold.

-The 3000 metres event at the World Cup was not officially awarded overall.

Winter Olympics[edit]

Kim made a good recovery through the 2001–02 World Cup Series and was highly expected to win multiple medals at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Despite being ranked first in the world for all three Olympic disciplines, Kim ended up being shut out of medals at the Olympics. Controversy surrounded his disqualification at the 1500 metre race, where it was originally thought that he won the 1500 metre gold medal after crossing the line first in the final but was disqualified for blocking Apolo Ohno.[7] Many skating pundits and fans refused to accept the DQ saying that Ohno just made an exaggeration just like Kim hit him and then he was saying he deserved the gold medal.[8] Ohno's gesture (throwing up his hands) was widely mocked by Korean media as "Hollywood action" at that time.[9] Italian skater Fabio Carta, who finished fourth in the five-person 1500 m final with Kim and Ohno, also objected to the referee's ruling to disqualify Kim. "We should use a rifle on Ohno," Carta said. "It's absurd that the Korean was disqualified. I don't know what happened."[10] The Korean Olympic Committee took the protest to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after an initial appeal to the International Skating Union had been rejected, but the arbitration panel finally dismissed South Korea's appeal of the disqualification of Kim.[11][12] The South Korean delegation threatened to boycott the Olympic closing ceremony to protest what they believed was biased refereeing. The incident provoked anti-American sentiment among South Koreans.[13] When the South Korean national soccer team scored an equalizer against the United States in the group stage at the 2002 FIFA World Cup that June, the players celebrated with a speed skating motion that mocked Ohno.[14]

In Ohno's autobiography, Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday, he wrote, "Kim came up to me after one of the races and said, in English, 'You're number one. You are the best.'" Kim claimed on a 2012 episode of the South Korean TV talk show Golden Fishery that he had never said such a thing to Ohno.[15]

World Championships[edit]

A month later, Kim won all possible six gold medals in the men's category at the 2002 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships (overall, 500 m, 1000 m, 1500 m, 3000 m, 5000 m relay), a feat achieved by no other man in the history of the competition. Though Canada's Sylvie Daigle achieved the same feat in the women's sport at the 1983 World Championships in Tokyo,[16] no World Championship title was awarded for relays that year. In particular, he astounded spectators and competitors alike when he sprinted ahead during the 1500 m final race and retained his speed throughout, eventually winning the gold by finishing one and a half lap before his competitors. He also showed a remarkable comeback in the 5000 metre relay, after Ahn Hyun-soo fell over with four laps to go, by regaining a 20-metre gap between the Canadian team and the Korean team to seize the gold medal by 0.005 seconds.


Upon graduation from Korea University in early 2002, Kim signed a contract with the Dongducheon City Sports Club. However, he was continually hampered by knee problems and did not race for another year as a result of the third arthroscopic surgery. Kim competed in domestic competitions sporadically in 2003 and 2004, but finally announced his retirement in 2005 due to a chronic knee injury.


After retiring, Kim moved to the U.S. and started his coaching career in Virginia and Maryland. In February 2011, The Washington Post reported that six skaters said Kim abused them or they saw Kim inflict corporal punishment on other skaters.[17] U.S. Speedskating investigated Kim and the board concluded it did not have enough evidence to take legal action; the alleged victims never called the police. Kim strongly denied hitting or abusing any skater through local media, and 32 parents at his club defended him,[18] saying the charges had been manufactured by parents and coaches motivated by financial disputes or jealous of Kim's success in the local area.[17] "I have never physically punished my students," Kim said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency. "If that had happened over here, it should've been a matter of police investigation, not suspension."[19] In the meantime, Kim started a private club not sanctioned by U.S. Speedskating in Washington D.C..[20] Despite the lack of concrete evidence, however, U.S. Speedskating subsequently suspended his coaching credentials and membership.[21] Kim was reinstated in August 2011 when the Maryland Child Protective Services in Montgomery County finally turned down the legal charges against Kim that U.S. Speedskating brought.[22] A series of exhausting confrontations and unfavorable local media reports left him frustrated and he finally came back to South Korea in November 2011. However, U.S. Speedskating continued to investigate and imposed a lifetime ban on Kim, but the American Arbitration Association reduced the ban to six years in May 2012.[23]

Kim is currently serving as a short track speed skating commentator for KBS.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Park, Jeong-hun (1998-02-18), "Who is Kim Dong-sung", The Hankyoreh (in Korean), p. 18
  2. ^ "Athlete profile: Kim Dong-Sung". CNN Sports Illustrated. 1998-02-03. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  3. ^ "1997 World Junior Short Track Championships, Marquette, MI". Southern California Speed Skating Association. 1997. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  4. ^ 短道速滑世界纪录历史资料(截止到1999年10月1日) (in Chinese). State General Administration of Sports. 2004-02-27. Retrieved 2014-03-11.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Double gold for South Korea". BBC. 1998-02-17. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  6. ^ "1998 Olympic Results – Speedskating". The Washington Post. 1998. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  7. ^ "South Korean DQ'd; officials promise protest". The Associated Press. 2002-02-20. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  8. ^ "Winter Olympics reactions". BBC. 2002-02-12. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  9. ^ "Ohno slammed by Koreans in bitter echo of 2002". Agence France-Presse. 2002-02-16. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  10. ^ "FBI is told of threats to Ohno". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 2002-02-22. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  11. ^ "Koreans lose speed skating appeal". BBC. 2002-02-23. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  12. ^ "OLYMPICS: ROUNDUP; Russia Captures Hockey Bronze". The New York Times. 2002-02-24. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  13. ^ "'Ohno ceremony'". CNN Sports Illustrated. 2002-06-10. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  14. ^ Cazeneuve, Brian (2004-12-13). "Korean Hostility". CNN Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  15. ^ 김동성 "오노에게 두 번 당했다" 토로 (in Korean). SBS Sports. 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  16. ^ "Kim Dong-sung Sweeps World Short Track". The Chosun Ilbo. 2002-04-08. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  17. ^ a b Shipley, Amy (2011-02-19). "Local coach accused of corporal punishment against youth speedskaters". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  18. ^ "Parents' letter in support of speedskating coach Kim Dong-Sung". The Washington Post. 2011-02-18. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  19. ^ "S. Korean short track coach claims innocence after being suspended for abuse allegations". The Korea Herald. 2011-03-04. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  20. ^ "Coach accused of hitting students". The Associated Press. 2011-02-19. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  21. ^ Shipley, Amy (2011-03-03). "U.S. Speedskating suspends Kim Dong-Sung from coaching in wake of corporal punishment accusations". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  22. ^ [단독 인터뷰] 김동성, "나는 제자들을 때리지 않았다" (in Korean). Chosun Ilbo. 2011-09-02. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  23. ^ Berkes, Howard (2012-09-17). "Short Track Speedskating Coach Put On Leave Amid Abuse Allegations". NPR. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  24. ^ Jung, Min-ho (2014-02-13). "Park wins bronze in short-track skating". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-03-11.

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