Canadian speedskater Olivier Jean victim of sabotage: report
Canadian Olivier Jean was a victim of sabotage during the 2011 world short-track team speedskating championships in Warsaw, the Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday.
The website reports that a U.S. speedskater allegedly followed his coach Jae Su Chun’s instructions to tamper with Jean’s skates at last year’s event in March.
The charge was made by 13 U.S. short-track skaters looking to have Chun removed from his national coaching duties because of the alleged tampering.
Chun has been suspended by U.S. Speedskating pending the results of the investigation.
Jean told Radio-Canada that he found the allegations "funny" and indicated he was largely unbothered by the result of the race in question.
"You can't change the past," he said. "I can't waste energy on something that happened two years ago."
According to an arbitration document obtained by the Tribune, Chun asked one of his skaters to tamper with Jean’s skates.
Jean, from Lachenaie, Que., was "unable to effectively skate," according to the arbitration filing. In a press release dated March 20, 2011, Speedskating Canada stated that Jean had problems with his skates prior to the start of the 5,000-metre relay and was unable to compete.
"At the start of the race, something was wrong with Olivier Jean's blades, and there was no time to fix it," the release said. "With only three skaters racing the relay, they had to settle for fourth [last] place."
Speed Skating Canada issued a fresh release Thursday saying it would have no further comment because "this is a legal matter before the courts."
Jean confirmed to Radio-Canada that he recognized a problem with his skates at the start line and suspected foul play.
"We had our [suspicions] that [the skates] were tampered with, but we had no proof," he said.
The world team championships are considered a less important competition than the regular world championships. Canada did win the world championship gold in the 5,000-metre relay at the 2011 competition in Sheffield, England, and again in 2012 in Shanghai, China.
Jean also helped guide Canada to a gold medal in the same event at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.