KEARNS -- U.S. Speedskating has promoted Guy Thibault to director of its short track program, while Stephen Gough will succeed Thibault as coach of the short track national team in the lead up to the Winter Olympics in February.
Thibault and Gough will train U.S. short track Olympic hopefuls while overseeing the National Racing Program based at the Utah Olympic Oval.
U.S. Speedskating named 37 skaters considered to be top Olympic contenders to the NPR on Thursday, although 10 of them have declined to participate in the program. Among the 10 is four-time Olympic medalist Shani Davis, who was named to the long track sprint and all-around programs. For years, Davis has chosen to train outside the auspices of the national program.
The others who declined are long track skaters Brian Hansen, Jonathan Kuck and Anna Ringsred; and short trackers Jessica Smith, Lana Gehring, John-Henry Krueger, Keith Carroll, Cole Krueger, and Emery Lehman, reflecting the divisiveness that has plagued U.S. Speedskating in recent years.
Noticeably absent from the list of skaters named to the NPR was Simon Cho, who last year confessed that he tampered with a Canadian rival's skate at the 2011 World Team Championship, which he claimed was at the behest of then-short track national coach Jae Su Chun. Chun and his assistant coach Jun Hyung Cho later resigned.
Among the skaters named to the long track NPR are Brittany Bowe, Heather Richardson, Tucker Fredricks, Sugar Todd, and Maria Lamb.
The short track NPR members include Alyson Dudek, J.R. Celski, Kimberly Derrick, Travis Jayner, Alison Baver and Jordan Malone.
The Olympic long track trials will be held Dec. 27-Jan. 1, followed by the short track trials Jan. 2-5 at the Utah Olympic Oval.