Complete investigation report for U.S. speed skater Simon Cho

Published: Friday, Oct. 5 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Only two people know what really happened. Absent a further confession by one or both of them, we offer our best judgment, mindful that an adversarial proceeding under oath could


generate a different conclusion. Based upon our investigation and the facts available to us, we do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Coach Chun directed Simon Cho to tamper with the skate.

The Allegations of Physical and Emotional Abuse

In an investigation where there were often inconsistent and contradictory recollections of certain events, it should be noted at the outset that all of the USS athletes and those who coach and support them are extraordinarily committed and passionate about their sport. Many of the athletes and administrators have been involved in speed skating since childhood and have essentially dedicated their lives to it.

A combination of factors resulted in a number of issues at USS during the 2011-2012 season that gave rise to significant dissatisfaction among a number of the skaters. They include the following:

* A significant increase in the volume and intensity of training as part of the four- year Olympic preparation cycle;

* The absence, for a variety of reasons, of consistent athletic trainer support. Those short-term trainers who were present often did not know the athletes' bodies well;

* The departure of two English-speaking assistant coaches from Canada; * An overall decrease in the number of full-time coaches in the program to two,

both non-native speakers of English;

* The invitation of a greater number of skaters to join the National Team. One skater suggested that the team should have fewer than ten skaters and with the additional invitations it included more than twenty;

* A number of injuries and disappointing performances by the men's team during the season;

* The reduced allocation of funding to certain skaters - as required under the relevant rules - in part on the basis of their poor performances during the season;

* A general perception among the skaters that no one at USS would listen to them about their concerns, much less act on them.


This spring a group of skaters was expressing dissatisfaction to USS with virtually all aspects of USS - including its administration of the short-track program, athlete-funding decisions, marketing, general management, Board behavior, and oversight. These skaters also began to advance allegations of physical and emotional abuse by Coach Chun. This group ultimately decided not to accept invitations from USS to rejoin the National Team for the coming season, although there was a difference of opinion as to how much of that decision was driven by their views on Coach Chun and how much was driven by dissatisfaction with the administration of USS.

Coach Chun and his coaching methods have, however, generated increasingly extreme reactions in those who train under him. The skaters we interviewed who remained on the National Team are enthusiastically supportive of Coach Chun and are deeply committed to his practices and the results they yield. Those in the pro-Chun camp are uniformly of the view that his leadership will allow them to reach their full potential as speed skaters and will greatly increase their chances of becoming Olympic medalists in 2014. They report that team camaraderie and morale have never been higher and that they are routinely setting personal bests. They have supported Coach Chun recently in a public letter.

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