Simon Cho fails to make U.S. team; expects ban

Simon Cho

Vancouver bronze-medalist Simon Cho failed to make the U.S. World Cup team Sunday and says he expects to be suspended after allegations of him tampering with a rival’s skates at the 2011 world speed skating championships were made public.

“I went from being Simon Cho, Olympic medalist and world champion to the guy that supposedly tampered with somebody’s skates,” Cho, 20, told the AP. “That was very damaging to me and my family. Now I have to be a class act about it and do the best I can to portray how my family raised me.”

Cho’s admission comes amid controversy involving U.S. short track coach Jae Su Chun, who Cho says ordered him to tamper with Canadian Oliver Jean’s skates before the 5000m relay final in Poland last year. Chun has been accused by 14 members of team of verbal and physical abuse against his skaters, with seven other members of the team coming out in support of Chun.

Ten skaters secured a spot on the team Sunday, but many have threatened to boycott if Chun is retained as the head coach and will wait until they hear final word before accepting positions. They have until Oct. 7.

As for Cho, the 2011 500m world champ, he’ll hope he can get one of two discretionary team spots handed out later this month. In the meantime he’s retained council to deal with the tampering allegations and is willing to testify if called on during an Oct. 8 hearing regarding Chun’s dismissal as coach.