After an American speedskater owned up to an act of sabotage on the skates of Canada’s Olivier Jean during the 2011 World Team Championships, Jean said he and his teammates are now taking extra steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Jean talked about that act of sabotage, perpetrated by U.S. team member Simon Cho, with CBC Sports anchor Steve Armitage on Wednesday.
"It felt like the blades were not responding [as] usual, I couldn’t put pressure on it." Jean said. "I had to stop skating, push my teammate and they finished the relay with just three skaters."
"I waited for four and a half minutes in the middle of the ice wondering what happened to my blades."
Examining his equipment after the 5000-metre relay race finished, the shorthanded Canadians placing last, Jean said that there were only two possible ways the skate blade ended up in the shape it was.
"Someone would have sabotaged the blade on purpose or stepped on the blade. It was obvious looking at the blade that something happened with it."
Cho revealed that he was the culprit during a news conference earlier this month, alleging he did it under the orders from his coach Jae Su Chun, who has since resigned without admitting any wrongdoing. Now that the Canadians know that tampering with equipment is a real possibility, Jean said the team is mindful of who has access to their equipment, and that it is protected from would-be saboteurs.
"I think the positive side of that story is that we’ve learned that [sabotage] could happen," he said. "We always have someone looking after our skates in between races … when our skates are alone in the room, the technician is always there to make sure no one will have fun with our skates."
Canadian short track director Yves Hamelin told The Canadian Press the security of equipment will be a focus as the World Cup season opens in in Calgary on Friday.
"We ensure the locker room is always secured," Hamelin said. "We don't have to get too crazy about it, but we keep an eye out to ensure nothing like that would happen in a critical moment like at a world championship."