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Dec 4, 2012 10:01pm
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

MONTREAL —Canadian speedskater Olivier Jean expressed satisfaction with a
personal apology from American rival Simon Cho, who said Friday that he agreed
to a coachs demand to tamper with the Quebecers skates. Patrick Peterson Red Jersey . Jean said that
Cho contacted him via a message on Facebook to arrange a phone call on Thursday
in which the American skater personally apologized for his actions, a day before
talking about the allegations publicly. “He wanted me to hear it from him
first,” Jean said after practice Friday evening at Maurice Richard Arena. “I
really liked that honesty and that respect, and I was happy that he called and
apologized.” “I always had a good relationship with Simon,” Jean added.”Ive
known him for many years.” Cho told a news conference in Salt Lake City, Utah
that he agreed to coach Jae Su Chuns demand to tamper with Jeans stakes after
the command was made a third time and in Korean by Jae Su Chun. “When he spoke
in Korean, I knew he was serious,” Cho, a fellow South Korean, said Friday. “The
repetitiveness and aggressiveness of how he came at me was very intimidating.
... I knew he wasnt going to take no for an answer.” Cho said fellow skater Jeff
Simon witnessed the first request in English. Cho also said he would not skate
again for Chun, whom he said he personally witnessed douse a skater with water
and hit with a notebook. Chos comments confirmed several allegations made in the
arbitration demand that seeks to permanently remove U.S. coach Chun. Chun has
denied any wrongdoing but is suspended. Cho said the tampering occurred at the
2011 World Team Championships in Poland after he had already been eliminated
from the competition. The sabotage prevented the Canadian team from contending
for the gold or silver medal at the competition. It finished with a bronze. Cho
said he was embarrassed by his actions and called his decision to comply the
“biggest mistake of my life” and one he regrets, which Jean said he believes was
a sincere sentiment. “I think he truly regrets it,” Jean said. “We dont know yet
why he did it but he took full responsibility for what he did, and he told me he
was ready to have some consequences.” Ian Moss, the chief executive of Speed
Skating Canada, said in a statement that Cho showed “respect and humility” by
admitting his mistake. “Its a very unfortunate incident. Its not something that
has ever happened in our sport. As Oliver said earlier: You cant change the
past,” Moss said. Cho maintained Chun was angry at the Canadians and convinced
they had aided another team to ensure the U.S. had been eliminated. Cho said the
tampering took just a few seconds, and was done with a blade bender normally
used to ensure a skaters blade follows the proper radius in short track. “I
always knew it was wrong that day,” Cho said. “I was very scared. I was
frightened. And I was intimidated.” He said Chun at the time said he would take
full responsibility if the tampering were ever discovered. But when Cho spoke
with him about it a month ago, he said Chun denied any involvement. “The conduct
at issue is repugnant and antithetical to the values of the Olympic Movement and
inconsistent with Team USAs commitment to fair play,” Patrick Sandusky, a
spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee, said in a statement emailed to The
Associated Press on Friday morning. “We regret that an American athlete was
involved, and intend to actively engage with US Speedskating to ensure that
appropriate action is taken.” The allegations are part of a scandal involving
Chun, also accused by a dozen national team members of “unchecked” verbal,
psychological and physical abuse. Cho has not signed the complaint and continues
to skate with the National Racing Program under interim coach Jun Hyung Yeo. But
said he would not skate for Chun. Cho, who turns 21 in a few days, couldnt say
what would happen with Chun or the other coaches but said he has been “honest
and forthright” with all investigations. “I hope that I can make up for my
mistake and continue to skate in the future,” said Cho, a 2010 Olympic relay
bronze medallist and 2011 individual world champion. On Sunday, after failing to
qualify for the U.S. fall World Cup team, Cho said he expected to be banned or
suspended because of the charges. Chuns lawyer, Russell Fericks, did not
immediately return an email seeking comment Friday. But on Thursday he said it
was his personal opinion that Cho is “young and impressionable.” “It is sad that
he feels compelled to support the irresponsible canard that coach Chun
instructed him to tamper with another skaters skate,” Fericks said. Chos lawyer
reiterated Friday that his client acted under great pressure. “He had nothing
personally to gain from doing it, and it was an isolated incident completely
inconsistent with who Simon is as a person. Simon is admitting his mistake,
apologizing to those affected by his actions, and taking responsibility for what
he did,” lawyer John Wunderli said. ———With files from The Associated Press.
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