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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Speed Skating Coach Accused Of Verbal And Physical Abuse, "Inappropriate Sexual Behavior"

Illustration for article titled Speed Skating Coach Accused Of Verbal And Physical Abuse, Inappropriate Sexual Behavior

The accusations are leveled against Jae Su Chun, the head coach for U.S. short-track speed skating, and his assistant coaches Jun Hyung Yeo and Jimmy Jang. Fourteen skaters have filed a complaint against Chun and have boycotted training with the team and coaches for fear of further abuse, having done so at their own cost.

The skaters allege Chun screamed insults at them in front of federation staff members and other athletes. He also threw chairs and sports equipment in anger, they say, forced athletes to train despite verifiable injuries, humiliated athletes in public and denigrated women by calling them "fat" and "disgusting," and telling them they should "stop eating."

"You are worthless," Chun allegedly told one skater.

One of the specific allegations involves a team dinner, paid for by Chun, to a pizza restaurant and when the team finished eating he criticized the women only for eating too much and made them walk for an hour to burn it off. The women claim they complied out of fear.

Chun is also accused of throwing things at skaters, throwing a skater against a wall and hitting him and other bizarrely aggressive conduct. The skaters have requested that Chun and his assistants be banned from the program because his continued presence as head coach serves as a de facto end to their career. World Cup season begins at the end of September and Chun is set to be the coach for those qualifying races.

Athletes need to skate those races to qualify for World Cup races, where they earn points to qualify for federation funding and major international meets such as the Olympics and World Championships. "Under these circumstances, it is unthinkable that the claimants would have to agree to again be subjected to this abuse as a condition of representing the United States" in the upcoming season, [attorney for the skaters, Edward] Williams wrote in his letter to the USOC.


Chun has denied the allegations in a letter translated from Korean and said he had "not abused athletes in any way."

Speedskaters: Coach abused athletes, officials failed to react [Salt Lake Tribune]


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