South Korean curling official leaves sport over abuse suspicions

South Korea's hugely popular Olympic curlers have accused their coaches of ruining the team with abusive treatment in a dispute that has spoiled one of the year's feel-good sports stories. (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — A beleaguered South Korean curling official says he and his family will leave the sport for good as the government investigates their alleged abusive treatment of the "Garlic Girls," the country’s hugely popular Olympic silver medallists .

Former Korean Curling Federation vice-president Kim Kyung-doo said Tuesday he offers a "sincere apology" to the athletes and also for causing "great disappointment" to the public. But while admitting to verbal abuse, Kim has denied more serious accusations such as holding back prize money from the team.

The five-member women’s curling team became an overnight sensation after their improbable silver medal run in February’s Winter Olympics in South Korea. Kim and his family had extensive control over the team with his daughter being the head coach and her husband the mixed doubles coach.

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