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U.S. short track coaches resign amid controversy

Simon Cho

FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2011, file photo, winner Simon Cho, of the United States, competes during the men’s 500-meter final race at the Short Track Speedskating World Cup in Dresden, Germany. Fourteen current members of the national team, including 2010 Olympic medalists Allison Baver, J.R. Celski, Travis Jayner and Jordan Malone, initially signed a grievance alleging they were abused verbally, physically and psychologically by head coach Jae Su Chun. The demand for arbitration also claims Chun was the mastermind of an incident at the 2011 world championships in which Cho was accused of tampering with the skate of a Canadian athlete. Cho has declined comment about the incident but is competing with the U.S. National racing program at the U.S. Single Distance Short Track Speedskating Championships beginning Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

AP

U.S. short track coach Jae Su Chun and lead assistant Jun Hyung Yeo resigned Thursday amid allegations of physical and verbal abuse, and an admission from Vancouver bronze medalist Simon Cho who said he tampered with a Canadian rival’s skates at Chun’s request during a meet last year.

Chun and Yeo have also been suspended by U.S. Speedskating and have given up their coaching licenses and opportunity to work with skaters until after the 2014 Sochi Games, according to the USA Today.

News of what will happen to Cho, the team’s youngest skater, is yet to come, but he failed to make the 2012-2013 U.S. World Cup team and said he expects to be suspended.

Nineteen current and former skaters accused Chun of “unchecked” abuse, including incidents of him throwing a skater against the walls, throwing equipment, bottles, and binders, and calling his female athletes “fat” and “disgusting.”

Twelve of those members filed arbitration to expedite Chun’s dismissal before the beginning of the World Cup season, now less than two weeks away, but seven skaters, including Vancouver medalists Lana Gehring and Kimberly Derrick, came out in signed a letter in support of Chun.

The accusing skaters’ lawyer, Edward G. Williams, said his group was disappointed they won’t have their day in court, but added that they’ll now seek costs, expenses, and legal fees from U.S. Speedskating, after Williams claims the governing body was “sleeping at the switch” when the incidents occurred.