Tom Smart, Deseret News
U.S. Speedskating announced the hiring of three new coaches Monday morning.
Two former Olympians and another with 30 years of coaching experience will take over the national program's coaching duties until a disciplinary investigation involving head coach Jae Su Chun and his assistant Jun Hyung Yeo is completed.
Stephen Gough and Pat Wentland will take over coaching the short track athletes in the national racing program who qualified for the fall World Cup team. Gough was a short track skater who competed in the 1994 Olympics and was a national coach for Team Canada from 2007 to 2010.
Wentland has coached for more than 30 years and has worked with short track athletes like Apolo Anton Ohno and Caroline Hallisey. Most recently he was the technical director and talent identification manger for the Academy of Skating Excellence.
Those in the national racing program who did not make the World Cup team will train with Tony Goskowicz, a 1994 Olympian. Since his retirement from competition, he's worked with top athletes in Salt Lake City and Milwaukee.
The three coaches take over a program deeply divided after 14 athletes filed a complaint against Chun, Yeo and another coach who no longer works with U.S. Speedskating, in late August. Another nine athletes released a statement in support of Chun and Yeo. Two days later, 13 of the 14 athletes from the original complaint filed a demand for arbitration, which is now set for Nov. 1. In that document there were allegations that Chun ordered 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Simon Cho to tamper with the skate of a Canadian athlete during the 2011 World Championships in Warsaw, Poland.
Cho admitted on Friday that he bent the blade of a skate belonging to Canadian Olivier Jean.
"I tampered with the skate that belonged to a Canadian team skater after being pressured to do so by my coach Jae Su Chun," the 20-year-old told a room full of reporters last week. "It was the biggest mistake of my life, and one I regret with all of my heart."
Three hours later, U.S. Speedskating held a press conference at the Utah Olympic Oval to release the findings of the independent investigation by White and Case. That investigation found no pattern of abuse — physical or emotional — by Chun or Yeo.
But Chun, who was placed on leave shortly after the allegations were made public, remains on leave pending the outcome of the disciplinary investigation. Yeo was the interim head coach for the national program until Friday, when he was placed on leave after it was learned he knew of the tampering incident involving Cho and didn't report it.
Cho is also the subject of a disciplinary investigation.
The new coaches have the daunting task of uniting a team deeply divided over the allegations and coaching methods of Chun and Yeo. Four of the five men are parties to the complaint and said they would not skate for Yeo. However, most of the women were supporters of the embattled coaches.
The U.S. team is preparing for its first World Cup of the season, which is in Calgary, Canada, on Oct. 19.
- Ranking the best fits for the Utah Jazz in...
- Ranking the best free agents in the NBA
- Morning links: Reviewing BYU's case to be...
- Brad Rock: Hatfield, Natson incidents may...
- Class of 2015: Utah high school athletes with...
- U. cornerback Hatfield arrested for...
- Wasatch Academy basketball coach Geno Morgan...
- Utah football player Dominique Hatfield...
- U. cornerback Hatfield arrested for... 90
- Morning links: Reviewing BYU's case to... 66
- Morning links: Fox Sports discusses why... 56
- Amy Donaldson: Former BYU QB Jake... 52
- Morning links: New BYU commit's late... 31
- Mendenhall's coaching tenure at BYU: A... 28
- Morning links: Damian Lillard, Paul... 28
- Brad Rock: Hatfield, Natson incidents... 27