The US Speedskating scandal has taken a darker turn when an Olympian who already admitted to tampering with an opponent’s skates said it was actually his coach who asked him to do it.
Simon Cho admitted in late 2012 that he tampered with the skates of Canadian Olivier Jean at the 2011 world team championship in Poland, and late last week he said it was actually his coach Jae Su Chun who demanded it. Though the speedskater said he ignored the coach’s requests the first two times, the coach delivered the demand again in Korean and Cho complied.
“When he spoke in Korean, I knew he was serious,” Cho said Friday at a news conference at his lawyer’s Salt Lake City office. “The repetitiveness and aggressiveness of how he came at me was very intimidating. … I knew he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.”
The US Speedskating scandal has found its way into court where 13 skaters have filed a motion to have Jae Su Chn fired.
The act of sabotage Cho said Chun demanded wouldn’t have helped the US Speedskating team at the competition. The Americans had already been eliminated from the competition, and the sabotage prevented the Canadian team from contending for the gold or silver medal at the event. Su Chun believed that the Canadians conspired to have the American team eliminated, Cho claims.
Cho called the sabotage his biggest career regret and added that he apologized to Jean. He was also shown leniency by the Canadian team.
“Simon Cho showed respect and humility today in admitting to his mistake, and Speed Skating Canada appreciates that he has come forward and that he apologized to Olivier last night in a phone call,” Speed Skating Canada chief executive officer Ian Moss said in a statement. “It’s a very unfortunate incident. It’s not something that has ever happened in our sport. As Olivier said earlier: ‘You can’t change the past.’ ”
The US Speedskating scandal also brought an official apology from the US Olympic Committee.
“The conduct at issue is repugnant and antithetical to the values of the Olympic Movement and inconsistent with Team USA’s commitment to fair play,” committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky wrote in a statement to The Associated Press. “We regret that an American athlete was involved, and intend to actively engage with US Speedskating to ensure that appropriate action is taken.”
The lawsuit claims that the US Speedskating scandal went deeper than that one incident. Chun is accused of repeated verbal, psychological, and physical abuse against the team’s members.