October 7, 1991 |
Seoul, South Korea
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight||153 lb (69 kg)|
|Club||Potomac Speedskating Club (Arlington County, Virginia)|
|Achievements and titles|
|Highest world ranking||8 (500m) 15 (overall)|
Simon Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea and moved to the United States as an illegal immigrant with his parents at the age of four and settled in Chicago. He remained an illegal immigrant until he reached the age of 11.
Growing up, Cho recounted that life was financially difficult as an illegal immigrant, stating, "My parents left for work before I woke up and came back home after I went to sleep. We had financial difficulties and there were times when we had no water or electricity for a few days because we weren't able to pay the bills. Other daily activities that others take for granted such as having a drivers’ license was difficult for my father". Due to a display of skill in speed skating, his parents sold their business and spent their savings to move to Salt Lake City to train Cho for the sport after he graduated from junior high school.
Cho began skating at the age of 3. He trained in Salt Lake City but moved back to Upper Marlboro, Maryland a year before the U.S. Olympic Trials, initially quit speed skating after failing to qualify for performance grants from the U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S. Speedskating which would have offset the unaffordable costs of $40,000 for training. About his chances of making the Olympic team, Cho said, "When I say nobody thought I would make the team, literally nobody thought I would make it...Not even me". However, at the age of 18, Cho qualified for the 2010 U.S. Olympic team. Apolo Ohno noted that Cho "basically made this team training on his own". Cho cites Ohno and Shani Davis as mentors who helped him face challenges as being a person of color in the sport.
In August 27, 2013, Cho received a two-year suspension from competitions after he admitted having sabotaged his Canadian rival's Oliver Jean's equipment during the 2011 World Team Championships. The suspension will run through October 4, 2014, which means Cho will miss a chance to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
- Cho, Simon (2010-05-12). "Olympic dreams, immigration hopes". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Kim, Hemi (2010-04-27). "Simon Says Support Immigration Reform". NAKASEC. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Shipley, Amy (2010-01-13). "Simon Cho's Olympic speedskating opportunity rewards his family's investment". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- LaJoie, Jim (2009-09-13). "Skater Celski injured in crash at short track Olympic trials". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- "Simon Cho – Biography". NBC Universal. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
- "U.S. Olympic skater banned for tampering with rival's skates". UPI. Retrieved 27 August 2013.