An arbitration hearing to resolve allegations of abuse leveled against a U.S. Speedskating coach has been pushed back again, meaning the case might not be settled before athletes compete in World Cup events later this month in Canada.
The new date is Nov. 1, when the attorney for accused national short-track coach Jae Su Chun said a vast other side of the story will be presented to the arbitrator.
"We don't want to be debating the evidence" in the news media, attorney Russell Fericks said, "but there is significant information that puts this whole controversy in a very different light."
A dozen skaters have charged Chun with abusing them, and want him and assistant Jun Hyung Yeo banned from coaching or traveling with the team during the upcoming World Cup season.
But Yeo has been put in charge of the program, with Chun suspended while U.S. Speedskating awaits the results of an investigation into the charges by international law firm White & Case. The federation said it expects to receive the investigation report by early next week, "at the latest." It said that "should the findings of the investigation warrant," it will "take immediate action to rectify any issues that may be uncovered in advance of the scheduled arbitration."
Fericks did confirm that Chun wants to keep his job, and said that one of the most explosive allegations in the complaints that Chun ordered skater Simon Cho to tamper with a Canadian rival's skates at the world championships last year is not true. Meanwhile, five of the aggrieved skaters have qualified to race at World Cup races in Calgary from Oct. 19-21 and in Montreal from Oct. 26-28.
Presumably, they would have to tolerate Yeo despite the demand in their complaints in order to travel and compete.
U.S. Speedskating said in a statement that it is "working with all parties to reach a fair and equitable solution to allow for all the athletes who qualified for the team last weekend to compete."
JR Celski has said he plans to compete at the World Cups no matter what, while fellow skaters Travis Jayner and Kyle Carr said they would wait to make a decision. Aly Dudek did not comment on her plans, and Jeff Simon said he would give up his spot on the World Cup teams if Chun and Yeo are not removed.
Those skaters are among 12 listed as claimants on the most recent demand for arbitration filed to the U.S. Olympic Committee by Edward Williams, an attorney for the skaters.
That's down from the 19 current and former skaters who were listed on the original grievance filed with U.S. Speedskating on Aug. 30, and from 14 active skaters who were listed on the so-called "Section 9" complaint that asked the USOC to ban Chun and Yeo from coaching on Sept. 11.