The sports ministry said on Wednesday that there was no premeditated bullying during a controversial speed skating race at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
During the quarterfinals of the women's team pursuit on February 19th, South Korean skaters Kim Bo-reum and Park Ji-woo left their teammate Noh Seon-yeong behind as they skated across the finish line.
As a team’s time is based on when the last skater finishes the race, Kim and Park were criticized for failing to stay with Noh.
However, the sports ministry conducted an investigation into the incident and concluded that Kim and Park had no intention of leaving Noh behind.
According to the ministry, Kim and Park weren't noticeably faster over their final laps than they had been earlier in the race, and claimed that Noh merely failed to maintain her pace in the final stages.
The ministry added that the decision to place Noh as the last racer on the team was down to a lack of communication about the order of the skaters, rather than due to bullying.
President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that the PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Games, with North Korea's participation, conveyed a message of peace around the world.
He said the sports event led to summit talks agreed to between the two Koreas and the U.S. and North Korea, and a new path is opening for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Chairing a Cabinet meeting, the president said the PyeongChang Olympics and Paralympics ended successfully, citing reviews assessing that Olympic facilities such as stadiums, athletes’ villages and the media center were near perfection.
He mentioned success in all areas of volunteers' dedication, South Korea's cultural capacity, its advanced information and communications technology and mature citizenship.
He said the nation received the greatest compliment from the world which said that the games having no flaw, was the flaw.
President Moon said the success of PyeongChang should now serve to further develop Korean society.
He asked officials to review measures to build a society where the disabled and non-disabled all live together without discrimination.
The PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games finished its run with a closing ceremony Sunday evening at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium in Gangwon Province.
A record 567 athletes from 49 nations competed in the ten-day tournament where 80 gold medals were up for grabs.
Host country South Korea also had its largest ever Paralympic delegation consisting of 47 officials and 36 athletes who competed in all six sporting events.
North Korea also sent a 24-member delegation including 20 athletes. Nordic skiers Ma You-chul and Kim Jung-hyun competed through their wild card bids.
The two Koreas did not march together during the Paralympics opening ceremony as they did in the Olympics last month.
But Ma You-chul and South Korean para nordic skier Choi Bo-gyu took part in the torch relay together at the opening ceremony, displaying the spirit of a peaceful Olympics and inter-Korean reconciliation.
South Korea last hosted the Summer Paralympics in Seoul in 1988.
South Korea's para ice hockey team has won the bronze medal at the PyeongChang Paralympics.
Korea beat Italy 1-0 in the match to determine the third place winner held at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangwon Province Saturday.
The game’s only goal was netted by Jang Dong-shin past the eleventh minute in the third period.
Team U.S.A. and Canada will compete for the gold medal at the final tomorrow at noon.
The Korean team made it Paralympic debut in the 2010 Vancouver Games where it finished sixth.
The Koreans finished seventh place in the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia, and this year, it has made history with a bronze medal.
Against Italy, South Korea has a record of eight wins and nine losses to date.
South Korea's wheelchair curling team has failed to advance to the final at the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics.
The national team lost to Norway 8-6 in the semifinal at the Gangneung Curling Center on Friday.
It will vie for a bronze medal against Canada Saturday morning.
Team Korea finished first in the round-robin stage among the 12 countries competing at PyeongChang with nine victories and two losses.
It was Norway’s second consecutive victory against South Korea following a 9-2 win in their round-robin matchup.
The South Korean wheelchair curling team has advanced to the semifinals at the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games.
Team Korea beat Great Britain 5-4 in their tenth round at the Gangneung Curling Center on Thursday, securing a semifinal berth regardless of the result of their last round-robin game.
In their second game of the day, South Korea beat China 7-6.
With nine victories and two losses, the South Korean curling team had the best record among the 12 nations competing at the Paralympics.
Team Korea's semifinal match against Norway will take place on Friday afternoon.
North Korean athletes and officials for the PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games returned home on Thursday.
The 24-member delegation returned via the inter-Korean transit office on the western border after leaving the athletes' village at around 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
In the North’s first-ever participation in a winter Paralympics, two North Korean para Nordic skiers, Ma Yu-chol and Kim Jong-hyon, competed while four other athletes came as observers.
The delegation returned home early without staying for the closing ceremony on Sunday.
North Korean athletes and officials visiting the South for the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics will return to the North on Thursday.
An official of Seoul’s Unification Ministry said on Wednesday that the 24-member North Korean delegation will return via the inter-Korean transit office on the western border on Thursday afternoon.
The delegation, including four Pyongyang officials, arrived in the South through the same route on Wednesday of last week, two days ahead of the opening of the Paralympic Games.
In the North’s first-ever participation in the Paralympics, two North Korean para-Nordic skiers competed, Ma Yu-chol and Kim Jong-hyon, while four other North Korean athletes watched from the sidelines. The PyeongChang Paralympics will wrap up its ten-day run on Sunday.
President Moon Jae-in offered encouragement to North Korean athletes and officials participating in the PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games.
After watching a cross-country skiing sprint from the Alpensia Biathlon Center in PyeongChang on Wednesday, Moon met with two North Korean para Nordic skiers competing in the event, Ma Yu-chol and Kim Jong-hyon.
According to presidential spokeswoman Ko Min-jung, the president greeted them and thanked them for doing their best, adding his belief that they will continuously excel in the sport.
Moon also asked them their thoughts on competing in the event hosted by South Korea and expressed hope that South Korean athletes will also be able to participate in sporting events to be held in the North in the future.
The North Korean officials thanked Moon for his hospitality toward them. In return, Moon said he wishes the two Koreas will further their sports exchanges.
North Korea has sent a 24-member delegation, including the two athletes, to compete at the PyeongChang Paralympics.
South Korea's para ice hockey team lost to the United States on Tuesday at the PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games.
The South Korean team lost 8-0, after having beaten Japan and the Czech Republic.
Despite Tuesday's loss, South Korea reached second place in the rankings, qualifying to compete in the semi-finals, a record achievement for the country.
Team Korea will play against Canada, which ranks number one in Group A, on Thursday.