The fact that former long track coach Guy Thibault will is taking the reins of the U.S. short track team following Octobers resignation of Jae Su Chun has caused yet another rift among U.S. athletes.
Vancouver bronze medalist Lana Gehrig, world team member Jessica Smith, and up-and-coming teen skater John-Henry Krueger will all continue to skate with Chun and his assistant Jun Hyung Yeo, but will be forced to pay for the instruction out-of-pocket.
Chun’s team, which will go by the name Salt Lake International, is now the second group to break from the U.S. program following the creation of FAST coached by Anthony Barthell and Alex Izykowski.
Chun resigned two months ago amid allegations of physical and verbal abuse, and an admission from 2010 bronze medalist Simon Cho, who said he tampered with a rival’s skates at Chun’s request last year.
While Gehrig, who told the Chicago Tribune that Chun is the one who made her the skater she is, seems excited by the prospect, U.S. Speedskating executive director Mark Greenwald is less enthused.
“We have an obligation to manage and lead the sport appropriately and encourage people to follow rules and standards, and we have tried to do that,” Greenwald said. “We are not going to act to support [SLI] in any way. We are in the process of putting back into place the National Racing Program with top-level coaches.”
It certainly doesn’t help that no U.S. female team member has made a world cup final this season, a run that Gehrig and her teammates hope to end at the Samsung ISU Short Track this weekend in Shanghai.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian soccer star Neymar says the problems at the athletes’ village could harm the preparations of some Olympic competitors at the Rio Games.
“If this is all true, we have to lament it. We had so much time to get everything ready, but some things didn’t work out,” he said as Brazil’s men’s team prepares for the Olympic tournament.
“I hope they fix all the problems,” he said. “It’s complicated for athletes to come from abroad and realize that their accommodation is not in good condition. You prepare three years of your life to be in the Olympics and then something like this ends up hurting you. It’s not nice. I hope they can fix everything and that everybody can be happy”
Brazil’s men’s team is preparing for the games at a training camp in the mountain city of Teresopolis on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
In other news, Brazil’s starting goalkeeper injured his right elbow and could miss the team’s final warmup match ahead of the games.
Fernando Prass did not practice on Tuesday after complaining of pain in his elbow and it remains unclear whether he will be fit to play the friendly against Japan on Saturday. The 38-year-old Palmeiras player will be re-evaluated daily.
Prass was one of the players older than 23 selected for Brazil’s squad, under Olympic soccer rules.
Brazil’s opening game at the Olympics is against South Africa on Aug. 4 in Brasilia.
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A documentary telling the story of 18 African-American Olympians who took part in the 1936 Berlin Games is set to be released Aug. 5, in conjunction with the 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony in Rio.
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice” highlights the black athletes, headlined by Jesse Owens, who competed in the face of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler on the brink of World War II.
The independent film was written, directed and executive produced by Deborah Riley Draper, who was recently named one of 10 “Documakers to Watch” by Variety. The film is narrated by Grammy award winner and two-time Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, who also was an executive producer.
Draper and Underwood are hoping to share the stories of all the athletes, not just Owens. They recently had a screening in Brazil, and will show the documentary at the Monica Film Center in Los Angeles and Cinema Village in New York City before rolling it out across the U.S.
You can watch trailers for the film here and here.
From the film’s website:
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice is a feature length documentary exploring the trials and triumphs of 18 African American Olympians in 1936. Set against the strained and turbulent atmosphere of a racially divided America, which was torn between boycotting Hitler’s Olympics or participating in the Third Reich’s grandest affair, the film follows 16 men and two women before, during and after their heroic turn at the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. They represented a country that considered them second class citizens and competed in a country that rolled out the red carpet in spite of an undercurrent of Aryan superiority and anti-Semitism. They carried the weight of a race on their shoulders and did the unexpected with grace and dignity.
The athletes experienced things that they were not expecting—applause, warm welcomes, integrated Olympic villages and the respect of their competitors. They were world heroes yet returned home to a short-lived glory. This story is complicated. This story is triumphant but unheralded.”
MORE: Jesse Owens’ daughter cried watching ‘Race’ film ending