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U.S. Speedskating considering punishment for Simon Cho

Published January 16, 2013 8:49 am

Speedskating • Final report on scandal released.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Officials at U.S. Speedskating have started to convene a disciplinary committee to decide sanctions against short-track speedskater and confessed saboteur Simon Cho, now that they have received the full report on a skate-tampering incident and allegations of coaching abuse that have rocked the federation.

The entire 84-page report from international law firm White & Case was released last week, explaining in greater detail the conclusions that had been reached earlier ­— that Cho tampered with a rival's skate at the world championships in Poland two years ago and that it was unclear whether former national short-track coach Jae Su Chun ordered him to do it.

Investigators also said they were unable to establish a "pattern" of abuse by Chun, who nevertheless resigned in October along with assistant coach Jun Hyung Yeo. Both acknowledged knowing about the skate-tampering but failing to report it.

Cho publicly admitted the sabotage, and said Chun told him to do it.

Chun denied the charge.

Former U.S. Speedskating high-performance director Guy Thibault has taken over as coach for Chun, but he's still coping with a fractured group of athletes barely a year ahead of the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia.

The dozen skaters who accused Chun of abuse continue to train with the FAST club, also based at the Utah Olympic Oval, while others who supported Chun also have broken away from U.S. Speedskating to train with him at a new independent skating club in Salt Lake City. A third group of mostly younger and less-experienced skaters remain in the federation's national racing program.

Federation spokeswoman Tamara Castellano said there is no timetable for deciding a punishment for Cho, who has said he expects to be banned or suspended.