Olivier Jean accepts skate sabotage apology
Published Saturday, October 6, 2012 3:48PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 6, 2012 6:37PM EDT
MONTREAL - Montreal speed skater Olivier Jean can’t turn back the clock to prevent his skates getting sabotaged last year, but he can now at least be satisfied that the perpetrator has apologized.
American skater Simon Cho has telephoned Jean to personally apologize for damaging Jean's skate and has made his mea culpa public for his actions at the World Short Track Speed Skating Team Championships last year in Warsaw.
“It was the biggest mistake of my life and one that I regret with all my heart. I apologize to Olivier and the Canadian team,” said Simon Cho in a statement.
Cho blames his former coach Jae Su Chun for persuading him to sabotage the Canadian team by sabotaging skates.
“In the Asian culture, when an elder asks you to do something, or makes a request, it's very difficult to deny,” explained Cho.
Cho heeded the advice and furtively bent Jean’s skate blade, forcing the Olympic Gold medalist to withdraw from the final event.
“My blade was bent the other way as if I was turning right so it was impossible to achieve a good performance with a blade bent in the right direction,” said Olivier Jean.
Jean expressed appreciation that Jean called him directly to apologize.
“He wanted me to hear it from him and I really like that honesty,” said Jean.
But U.S. skating says there is not enough proof that the coach was involved.
"We do not believe there is sufficient evidence to say Coach Jae Su directed Simon Chou to tamper with the skates," said lawyer Greg Little.
Nevertheless, the Canadian team says they've learned from the experience. Now, whenever they compete, someone is always looking after their skates.