Olympic short track medalist Simon Cho of the United States will be suspended from the international Skating Union for two years. This is his punishment for tampering with the skates of a Canadian rival using a blade bender. The issue was closed upon his own admission. The decision for suspension was handed out on Sunday by U.S. Speedskating. The suspension will begin on Oct 4, 2014, effectively barring Simon Cho from playing in the Sochi Olympics.
Cho gave his confession back in Oct 5, 2012. According to him, he sabotaged Olivier Jean's skates, his then Canadian rival during the 2011 World Team Championship. Cho dragged former short track national coach Jae Su Chun's name in the controversy, claiming his actions were the product of the coach's direction. According to Cho, Chun was angry at the Canadians and believed strongly they have helped another team to eliminate the Americans.
While Chun had denied any participation in Cho's actions, he was suspended for two years until Aug 25, 2015, because the international Skating Union deemed that he had also violated the sports' code of ethics.
U.S. Speedskating claimed that it "respects the findings of the ISU" and will refer the matter to its disciplinary panel for a final decision. The ruling was revealed on the same day as the U.S. short track team was picked for the upcoming World Cup season. Cho was not present and not part of the selection meet.
"As an organization, we are focused on supporting our athletes as they begin the season and work toward competing on the international stage the 2014 Olympic Winter Games," U.S. Speedskating also stated.
Cho was supposed to have a great sports career in front of him without this controversy. After Apolo Anton Ohno retired, Cho was one of the rising stars in the U.S. programme. He was being noticed for winning a relay bronze medal at the Vancouver Games as well as winning in an individual world championship in 2011.
As such, Cho touted this tampering incident as the "biggest mistake" of his life. "I always knew it was wrong that day," Cho had asserted in his confession in October. "I hope that I can make up for my mistake and continue to skate in the future."
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