Less than a week after 14 current members of the U.S. short track team filed a code of conduct complaint with U.S. Speedskating the USOC that alleged abuse by head coach Jae Su Chun, nine teammates have released a statement calling the accusations “baseless” and “false.”
“We have never seen any abuse take place — physical, sexual, verbal or emotional — and we know these men are not capable of abuse,” the statement reads. “We truly believe that Jae Su is the most knowledgeable short track speedskating coach in the world and that he conducts himself ethically and with integrity in every way.”
The list of athletes who signed the statement includes Vancouver bronze medalists Lana Gehring and Kimberly Derrick, as well as Jessica Smith, John-Henry Krueger, Tamara Frederick, Cole Krueger, Eduardo Alvarez, Chris Creveling and Keith Carroll Jr.
The members who accuse Chun of abuse say he threw one skater into a wall and called female members “fat” and “disgusting.” The group is boycotting the national team and have requested arbitration so that Chun’s dismissal can be expedited before World Cup Team Trials begin Sept. 30 in Utah.
Gehring agrees that Chun pushes the team hard, but told the AP that he cares deeply about his skaters. The group concludes the statement by saying they plan on cooperating with the investigation and would like to “put this behind us and get back to focusing on what U.S. speedskaters do best — winning medals!”
We’ll see what kind of divide the outcome, whatever it happens to be, creates between teammates.