By Michael C. Lewis
| The Salt Lake Tribune
Speedskater Simon Cho is expected to acknowledge at a news conference Friday that he tampered with a rival’s skate at the world championships last year, potentially hastening the removal of embattled short-track coach Jae Sun Chun.
Neither Cho nor his attorney could immediately be reached for comment.
Chun has been accused by a dozen skaters of abusing them in his role as national-team coach within U.S. Speedskating. The skaters also alleged that he ordered Cho to tamper with Canadian Olivier Jean’s skates, and Cho all but admitted the act last weekend at the U.S. Short-Track Championships at the Utah Olympic Oval.
"I expect to be penalized for something, you know, whether it’s a suspension, or a ban," Cho said. "I have to prepare myself for the consequences and take responsibility."
U.S. Speedskating has called its own news conference for three hours later Friday, where it could take action against Chun if an investigation by international law firm White & Case reveals that he ordered the tampering or covered it up. Chun has been suspended during the investigation.
The federation said earlier this week that the investigation was almost finished.
An arbitration hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 1, in case the dispute is not resolved before then. The aggrieved skaters want Chun and assistant coach Jun Hyung Yeo banned from coaching or traveling to World Cup races because of the alleged abuse. Yeo was put in charge of the national training program when Chun was suspended.
Attorneys for Chun and for the aggrieved skaters could not be reached for comment.
Last weekend, Cho failed to qualify for a spot on the U.S. team for four upcoming World Cup races in Canada, China and Japan.