Ex-IOC Member, Korean Sports Leader Refused New Burial

(ATR) Appeals by IOC members are of no help to legacy of Un Yong Kim. 

(ATR) South Korean military officials are denying a request to bury the remains of former IOC power broker Un Yong Kim in a military cemetery.

A government appeals commission has denied an appeal by daughter Helen Kim to inter the remains in the national military ceremony. She made a formal request last year to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs which was rejected.

Kim died in 2017 at age 86 after a long career in Korean sport preceded by a stint as a military officer in the 1950's. He was a vice president of the IOC in 2003 when he was arrested on embezzlement charges involving his presidency of the Korean Olympic Committee and the World Taekwando Federation. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but served only a year before being paroled. In 2008 he received a full pardon.

His prosecution was seen as retribution for the 2003 collapse of the first bid from Pyeongchang for the Winter Olympics. After leading the field in the first round of IOC voting for a 2010 host, Vancouver won on the second round. Two days later, Kim won election as an IOC vice president, a meaningless victory. He was arrested months later and never carried outthe vice presidential mandate.

IOC member in Great Britain Craig Reedie says he supports Helen Kim’s efforts to honor her father, He says Kim was not treated fairly by political forces in Korea who tried to pin him with the blame of the Pyeongchang loss.

"Always difficult to prove who voted for who, but the VP vote was days after the 2010 City Vote. The European situation was clear. With 4 cities viewing a 2012 summer bid, Vancouver was a good choice for 2010," Reedie tells Around the Rings about the outcomes at the 2003 IOC Session in Prague.

Australia’s John Coates has also called for Kim to be honored in Korea.

"It seems to me that his great service, sacrifice and remarkable accomplishments over many years would be enough to overlook a wrongful conviction that was politically motivated and subsequently annulled," Coates wrote in a letter last year to the appeals panel in Korea. The prosecutor in the case has denied that political retribution had anything to do with Kim’s conviction.

Kim became an IOC member in 1986, ahead of the 1988 Olympics in Seoul in which he played a leading role. He served as president of the NOC and led the World Taekwondo Federation to secure a place on the Olympic program in the 2000 Olympics.

Reported by Ed Hula.