US speedskater Simon Cho is facing a disciplinary hearing after he confessed to sabotaging a Canadian rival’s skate during the 2011 World Team Championship.
Cho, who is the reigning national short-track champion, confessed to the tampering on Friday as a part of a coaching scandal that is steadily getting messier, reports Fox Sports.
The coaching scandal involves US short track interim coach Jun Hyung Yeo, who was suspended on Friday by the federation after failing to report the tampering.
Head coach Jae Su Chun is at the center of the scandal; he remains suspended and could also be disciplined for not reporting the tampering either.
Investigators who were commissioned by US Speedskating to investigate the situation stated that they haven’t found evidence that Chun engaged in “a pattern of physical and emotional abuse” that is alleged by skaters. They have also not been able to substantiate claims that Chun ordered Cho to tamper with his rival’s skates.
US Speedskating officials called Simon Cho’s sabotage of his rival’s skates an “Egregious breach of our code of conduct.” They announced that Cho could face discipline for the confession and that they will determine what punishment they will dole out against the 2010 Olympic short-track bronze medalist, notes The Washington Post.
Friday’s actions by US Speedskating essentially leaves the country’s short-track speedskating without a coach just weeks before the World Cup season begins, and also 16 months before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi begin.
Friday’s confession by Simon Cho is part of a legal effort by current and former skaters to remove Chun and his assistants from their posts. The skaters cited 22 instances of physical and emotional abuse by Chun in a complaint to the US OlympicCommittee and also to US Speedskating.
Chun allegedly threw chairs and water bottles at athletes, over-trained them to the point of injury, and also called female skaters “fat” and “worthless.” The law firm currently investigating the claims has yet to find evidence that constituted physical or emotional abuse, or even “a pattern of abuse.”
Greg Little of White & Case, held a news conference to talk about the executive summary of the investigation into Chun’s allegations, stating:
“Coach Jae Sue generated a very strong emotional reaction. [There are] a large number of skaters who still strongly support Coach Jae Su and his methods, [and] a large number who are equally disappointed about his methods and feel they do not benefit them. There are two polarized groups with respect to Coach Jae Su Chun.”
Despite this, Chun’s return to his post is far from guaranteed, because the investigation revealed that the coach was aware of Simon Cho sabotaging his rival’s skate. An arbitration hearing will be held on November 1.