After five months, an investigation into the alleged abuse of U.S. Speedskating team members has finally come to an end.
In August of last year the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Safe Sport program directed the law firm of White & Case to look into allegations that members of the U.S. Speedskating’s coaching staff not only physically and emotionally abused athletes but also directed a member of the team to tamper with the skate of a Canadian athlete at a competition in 2011. Those allegations eventually led to the dismissal of head coach Jae Su Chun and his assistant coach Jun Hyung Yeo. But after several interviews with the parties involved and a multiple trips to U.S. Speedskating’s headquarters at the Olympic Oval in Kearns White & Case say the incidents in question never reached a level that could be considered abuse. They also concluded that Chun knew about the skate tampering incident but that he did not order it to happen. U.S. Speedskating spokesperson Tamara Castellano says while they are glad the allegations proved to be false they are doing their best to put the past behind them and move forward.
“We need to work to create an atmosphere where they feel supported and they can trust the organization and trust the coaches and feel like they are in a great training environment,” she says.
U.S. Speedskating has sanctioned Chun for not reporting the skate tampering incident. He can’t be an official part of U.S. Speedskating until May of 2014.
Report of Special Investigative Counsel Regarding an Allegation of Tampering with a Competitor’s Skate at the 2011 World Short-Track Speedskating Team Championships in Warsaw, Poland and Allegations of Abuse by Coaches at U.S. Speedskating by Brian Grimmett