Speedskating-Olympian Cho banned two years for skate tampering

Simon Cho

LOS ANGELES - United States skater Simon Cho has been banned for two years by the International Skating Union (ISU) after confessing he had tampered with a Canadian rival's skates at the 2011 world team short-track championships in Poland.

The suspension, announced by the ISU in Lausanne on Monday, started retroactively on Oct. 5, 2012 and will end on Oct. 4 next year, ruling Cho out of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Cho, who won a bronze medal in the 5,000 metres relay at the 2010 Vancouver Games, said last October he had been ordered by his coach Chun Jae-su to tamper with Olivier Jean's skate.

Chun, who has since resigned as US short track speedskating coach, was also found "guilty of misconduct and of violation" of the ISU's code of ethics and given a two-year ban that will end on Aug. 25, 2015.

Chun and assistant coach Yeo Jun-hyung denied ordering Cho to damage the Canadian's skate but admitted to knowing about tampering and failing to report the incident.

Jean was unable to compete in the 5,000 metres relay final at the 2011 world championships because the blade had been bent out of shape and Canada, with only three skaters instead of the permissible four, finished last.

"I am deeply embarrassed and sad to confirm certain allegations that have been made in the arbitration demand brought by a group of my fellow speed skaters against US Speedskating and the coaches," Cho said last October.

"It was the biggest mistake of my life and one that I regret with all my heart."