Footballer Park Jong-woo finally gets his Olympic bronze
Published : 2013-02-15 13:27
Updated : 2013-02-15 15:05
South Korean football player Park Jong-woo received his Olympic bronze medal on Friday, six months after he was denied the prize following his controversial celebration at the London Games, officials said.
The Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) said Park was handed the medal by the KOC President Park Yong-sung at the KOC's headquarters in Seoul. Following a disciplinary hearing earlier this week in Switzerland, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to award the player his medal, and Park Yong-sung returned home with the medal on Thursday.
The athlete was barred from attending the medal ceremony in London after South Korea defeated Japan to win the bronze in men's football. After that game, Park received a sign from a fan that read "Dokdo Is Our Territory" in Korean and held it up in celebration. The words were in support of Seoul's sovereignty over its easternmost islets, to which Japan has also laid claims. Dokdo has been a source of diplomatic tension between the two countries for decades.
The IOC's Olympic Charter prohibits any display of political statements by participating athletes, coaches and fans during the Olympics.
The athlete, accompanied by attorneys and KOC officials, made his case before the three-member IOC Disciplinary Commission in Switzerland on Monday this week, arguing that his actions hadn't been intentional or premeditated.
Without handing out any penalty, the IOC warned Park for his "inappropriate behavior" and ordered the KOC to better educate its athletes at future Olympic Games.
The KOC said it followed the order from the IOC to deliver the medal to Park "without any ceremony, celebration or publicity whatsoever." (Yonhap News)