"I think everyone saw [the allegations against Chun] took a toll on the team as a whole,," Smith said. "Finally, everybody realized that what's working for each person, that's what you need to do."
Emily Scott, one of the skaters who filed the initial grievance and later returned to the national team, said the skaters have come together as best they can while training with different coaches.
"We wish the best for each other," said Scott, who will compete in Sochi. "The past year we have come a long way."
Gough said that once World Cup competition began in the fall, the skaters relaxed among themselves. "It was a nice feeling," he said. "They're all good kids, they all want the same thing."
Olympic gold medalist Derek Parra, program director at the Utah Olympic Oval, where the federation has its offices, said working with U.S. Speedskating has become a more collaborative process. He said that dealing with federation employees previously was difficult, particularly when organizing competitions at the rink.
"They communicate with us" now, he said. "We aren't in the dark about things."
Despite the progress, there are unresolved issues — including who will be coaching the short-track program long-term.
Gough said he hasn't had a conversation with anyone about whether he will remain coach after the Olympics. He said the Games are the focus and other issues will be addressed later on.
Chun, who continues to coach at competitions from the stands, will have his suspension lifted in August.
"He's still coaching, showing up to races," said Jordan Malone, a 2010 Olympic bronze medalist who was among those who filed the grievance against Chun and will compete in Sochi. "He just needs to move along."
Plant oversaw the federation's first-ever strategic plan, which includes benchmarks measuring progress. The organization just began the election of a new 10-member board, a drawn-out process that won't end until April.
The federation continues to struggle with getting alumni involved in events. For the trials, the federation invited former speedskaters to purchase a VIP package in a fundraising effort attempting to collaborate with skating alumni. How many bought the package?
"Hardly anybody," Plant said.
Meanwhile there has been no resolution to the allegations of the two female skaters against Gabel. Nearly a year ago the federation hired a Chicago law firm to investigate. It said the inquiry remains ongoing. Gabel told the Tribune he apologized for "mistakes" he made.