Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Speedskater Simon Cho admits at a press conference in Salt Lake City Friday October 5 that he tampered with a rival’s skate at the world championships last year. He said that he was pressured into the act by short-track coach Jae Sun Chun. His legal representative John Wunderli, is at right.
Ex-short-track coach says he covered up sabotage to help skater
Speedskating » Jae Su Chun admits he made a mistake in aiding Simon Cho.
First Published Oct 12 2012 02:02 pm • Last Updated Oct 13 2012 12:02 am

The short-track coach who resigned from U.S. Speedskating amid scandalous allegations of abuse and sabotage said Friday he made a mistake by covering up skate-tampering in a misguided effort to help one of his skaters.

Jae Su Chun implied in a statement that he did not order skater Simon Cho to tamper with the skate of a Canadian rival at the world championships last year in Warsaw, Poland, as Cho and others had alleged.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Instead, Chun said he was "shocked" to learn about the incident after it took place, and chose not to report it because of Cho’s "difficult family circumstances."

"I wanted to protect him and his family," Chun said. "I was wrong. ... I know I chose Simon Cho over my own principles. As a coach and role model, I know what is required of me, but sometimes as a human being, it is not so easy to follow what is cold and hard and written on paper, when there is a living, breathing, very confused young man in front of you."

It’s not clear to what family circumstances Chun was referring. U.S. Speedskating said it has begun a process or disciplining Cho, who has said he expects to be suspended or banned.

An independent investigation by law firm White & Case did not conclude whether Chun actually ordered the tampering, according to the summary presented by attorneys last week. But the coach did acknowledge not reporting it, leading to his resignation on Thursday along with former assistant coach Jun Hyung Yeo, who also knew of the incident but did not report it. In so doing, both men violated the federation’s code of conduct, and could have been fired if they had not resigned.

Both men also accepted suspensions from U.S. Speedskating that bar them from coaching in any clubs or events sanctioned by the federation until the end of February, 2014 — beyond the conclusion of the Sochi Olympics in Russia. They could conceivably work for other countries, though.

An attorney for Cho did not respond directly to questions about the "family circumstances." But John Wunderli said that when the full investigative report is released, "we expect it will contain statements by many skaters about coach Chun’s behavior in Warsaw that are consistent with what Simon has said and inconsistent with coach Chun’s statement."

Chun said in his statement that he would not dignify the allegations of abuse with a response.

A dozen skaters had charged him with physical and emotional abuse during his reign as coach, but investigators said they could not conclude that there was a "pattern of abuse."

story continues below
story continues below

"I find abuse repugnant," Chun said. "Anyone who speaks with my athletes in America, Canada and Korea in detail, even some of the complainants, and reads any of the articles about me in the Korean press over the last decade will know why I say this."

Chun also wrote passionately about his love for the sport, and about letting down Olivier Jean — the skater whom he once coached, whose skate Cho sabotaged in order to keep him from skating a relay final at the world championships.

"During my time coaching him, I came to love him and the dynamic way he skates on the ice," Chun said. "I hope after I visit with him, that I may be close to him again. I apologize to him for not saying anything during this difficult period. It was at the advice of my attorneys who worried for my legal liability and also my good friends who said that the larger apology must be made in person. They said I had to trust to our prior relationship to preserve whatever goodwill Olivier Jean may have for me. I hope they are right."

Short-track speedskating is a "marvelous thing to do," Chun concluded. "It is a marvelous thing to watch. It is marvelous to hear the blades on the ice when the skaters go by. If you first started following short-track speedskating because of my misfortune, I would urge you to go watch a meet in person and to bring your son or daughter. They may perhaps fall in love with the sport the way I and all the athletes I have trained over the years have."


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.