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.
Steve Langton, who was described by driver Steven Holcomb as the “best push athlete in the world,” announced his retirement today.
A collegiate sprinter and jumper at Northeastern University, Langton decided to try bobsledding after watching the 2006 Winter Olympics. He filled out an online athlete resume, and, by the 2010 Games, he was an Olympian.
At the Sochi 2014 Games, Langton teamed with Holcomb to win a bronze medal in the two-man race. It was the first Olympic medal in the event by American sled since 1952. He claimed another bronze medal as a member of Holcomb’s four-man “Night Train.”
“In Sochi I competed on the world’s biggest stage, I won two medals for my country and I did so along not only the best teammates but best friends anyone could ever ask for,” Langton told USA Bobsled.
Langton, who has a 62-inch standing box jump and can squat more than 500 pounds, was described by Men’s Health as “the most powerful winter Olympian” in the lead-up to 2014 Games.
“[Langton’s] work ethic and discipline rubbed off on the other athletes and made everyone better,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Darrin Steele. “I have no doubt that he’ll find success in the next chapter of his life as well.”
Langton appeared on “The Amazing Race” in 2015 with his girlfriend, Aly Dudek, an Olympic short track speedskater.
None of the push athletes on the current U.S. roster have Olympic experience. Holcomb will compete in the World Cup opener this Saturday with Sam McGuffie, a former University of Michigan football player. The race will be McGuffie’s World Cup debut.