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Archive for January 20, 2019

Jan. 20, 2019 — A tragic turn in what could become a very tawdry tale

It was first reported two weeks ago that former U.S. pairs figure skating champion John Coughlin had his eligibility restricted by the SafeSport Committee for the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Coughlin had won the pairs title in 2011 with Caitlin Yankowskas and in 2012 with Caydee Denney. He parlayed his on-ice success to private coaching, the head of the Athletes Commission within the International Skating Union, television broadcasting, and the endorsement of a skate blade company.

This morning, it was reported that he had committed suicide.

And it didn’t take long for not just one, but multiple reports of abuse on the part of Coughlin to be reported, including allegations from minors.

It seems as though the abuses, first touched on by sportswriter Molly Ryan back in 1995 in the book “Little Girls In Pretty Boxes,” are now roiling figure skating just a year after the world of women’s gymnastics was rent asunder by the Larry Nassar investigation and conviction.

The thing is, Ryan’s book has been around for nearly a quarter-century, and it had even spurred a reform and wellness program which was put together by former gymnast Nancy Thies Marshall. But due to opposition within the gymnastics community, Marshall’s plan was abandoned in 2001.

Somehow, I wonder if that opposition would be allowed to stand today, given what we know about the predators already identified by SafeSport in such a short period of time.

 

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