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Thursday, February 28, 2002
Besieged Kim offers to resign post

Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea -- Kim Un-yong, a South Korean IOC member plagued by scandals and a speed skating controversy at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, offered Thursday to resign as head of the country's sports governing body.

Kim abruptly offered to resign during a meeting of delegates of the Korea Sports Council, said Park Pil-soon, a council spokesman.

Kim also offered to resign as head of South Korea's Olympic Committee, then left the conference room, Park said.

The delegates met without Kim and "unanimously" decided to ask Kim to complete his five-year term that ends in February 2005, Park said.

Kim has yet to decide whether to accept, Park said. The spokesman said earlier that Kim accepted the request.

"Chairman Kim returned to the meeting and thanked delegates for the request, which made us believe that he was accepting the request. But as the situation stands now, his offer to resign still stands," Park said. "He will make his final position known in a day or so."

There was no comment from Kim on the episode.

The 70-year-old Kim has been plagued by scandals involving him and his family.

Prosecutors are investigating a case in which Kim's son, John, reportedly received bribes from a jailed taekwondo official accused of fixing taekwondo tournaments.

Before the scandal surfaced, Kim resigned as head of the South Korean Taekwondo Association in November. Kim still heads the World Taekwondo Federation.

Kim is also under public criticism for failing to take a firmer stand on the controversial disqualification of South Korean short track skater Kim Dong-sung in an Olympic race in Salt Lake City.

Kim Dong-sung crossed the line first in the 1,500 meters, but was disqualified for impeding the course of American Apolo Anton Ohno, who was awarded the gold.

South Korea's Olympic delegation first threatened to boycott the Olympics' closing ceremony in protest. But Kim Un-yong reversed that decision.

Kim Un-yong was reprimanded by the International Olympic Committee in 2000 for his involvement in the Salt Lake City bribery scandal.

His son was accused of getting a sham job funded by the Salt Lake City's Olympic bid committee. The senior Kim disavowed any knowledge of the affair.

The son was indicted in the United States on charges of immigration, fraud and lying to the FBI. He fled to South Korea before charges were filed.