US speedskater Simon Cho allegedly tampered with the skates of a Canadian rival at last year’s world short track team speedskating championships in Poland on the orders of his coach, according to an arbitration filing.
The charge is contained in the filing on behalf of 13 US short track skaters seeking to have South Korea’s Chun Jae-su dismissed from his job as head coach of the national team.
They allege that Chun allegedly asked Cho to sabotage a Canadian skater. Chun has yet to respond to the allegations in the request for arbitration document filed on Tuesday.
US Speedskating suspended Chun last weekend, pending the results of an investigation by a law firm into charges of abuse against the coach filed last week by more than a dozen skaters.
The arbitration document alleges Chun asked Cho to tamper with the skates of Canadian Oliver Jean before the final of the 5,000m relay.
Canada was only able to field three skaters in the relay because of a problem with Jean’s blades.
Speed Skating Canada said on Thursday that it was aware of the tampering allegation and it would have no comment until the issue has been resolved in court.
According to the arbitration document, on the plane trip home from the world meet in March last year in Warsaw, Poland, Cho told a fellow US skater he had tampered with the blades.
In July this year, Cho told a fellow US skater: “I know I have done [expletive] up things. I wish I could take them back, but I can’t ... and I’m preparing myself for the consequences to come.”
Two days earlier, Cho had said to a fellow skater: “Everyone knew Jae Su was the mastermind behind the situation at the World Teams.”
Cho has not commented publicly on the details mentioned in the documents.
Chun issued a statement on Sunday denying that he abused athletes in any way, while expressing confidence he would be found innocent. He has not commented publicly on the tampering allegations.
Seven members of the US short track team, including Olympic bronze medalist Lana Gehring, have signed a statement supporting Chun, claiming abuse allegations against their coach are “baseless” and a “false attack on his character.”