US Speedskating has hired longtime Canadian coach Jonathon Cavar to lead its short-track skaters.
“I am honored that US Speedskating selected me to lead the U.S. short-track speedskating team, and my family and I are very excited about the move,” Cavar said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working with this talented and motivated group of athletes.”
Cavar, who spent more than 10 years with dominant Speed Skating Canada, coached the country’s Olympic teams in 2010 and 2014, as well as teams competing internationally. His skaters have earned 15 individual World Cup medals, 31 relay World Cup medals and two Olympic relay medals, according to US Speedskating.
“I'm very excited to have him onboard with us,” said Guy Thibault, the U.S. high performance director who is a former Canadian speedskating administrator. “His personality and scientific approach fits perfectly with the new direction we're taking for this coming quad.”
The decision was announced Wednesday in a newsletter emailed out to US Speedskating’s approximate 2,000 members. Stephen Gough – who became short-track coach in 2012 amidst a skate-tampering scandal – declined to return to the Salt Lake City-based federation.
Cavar, 37, will lead the rebuilding of a short-track team whose only medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics was a silver in the men’s team relay. 2010 bronze Olympic medalist JR Celski was considered to be the heir to the now-retired Apolo Ohno – the most decorated winter Olympian – but he failed to secure an individual medal at the Games.
US Speedskating – whose athletes have earned 86 medals, more than any other U.S. Winter Olympic sport – has tried to steady itself after a skate-tampering scandal in 2012 led to division among skaters and staff and saw the exit of short-track coach Jae-Su Chun.
Cavar, a former skater who was Canadian short-track champion in 1998, holds a degree in exercise science.