U.S. Figure Skating executives urge full investigation in John Coughlin case

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DETROIT — Two U.S. Figure Skating executives urged a full investigation into abuse allegations against former skater and coach John Coughlin, who killed himself last week.

Anne Cammett, president of the federation, and David Raith, USFS executive director, held a news conference at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Thursday. Cammett mentioned abuse allegations against Coughlin, but she and Raith did not go into detail.

“Whenever an allegation of sexual misconduct comes to light, it’s upsetting for everyone,” Raith said. “We get that. We all have emotions. Those many emotions can cause pain to those who have been abused, and I want to say at the outset, if you’ve been abused, know someone who’s been abused, or is being abused, or you suspect abuse is occurring, please come forward. You are not alone.”

Coughlin, a two-time national pairs champion, received an interim suspension from the U.S. Center for SafeSport and USFS a week ago for unspecified conduct. He was barred from any activities sanctioned by the skating body or the U.S. Olympic Committee. He then was found dead in Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday.

“John was well liked by many, from kids in his home rink in Kansas City, all the way to the leadership at ISU in Lausanne, Switzerland, and we were disheartened by the abuse allegations against him,” Cammett said. “But we take every allegation seriously, and we need to hear from those who may have suffered abuse, and we support them.”

Raith said the federation has reached out to SafeSport.

“We actually sent an additional email communication to them, specifically stating what we said today here, and we also suggested to them that they hire a third-party investigator or outside counsel,” Raith said.

Cammett said there wouldn’t be closure if the review were cut short.

“When allegations of abuse are made, we need to make sure the process is fair and carried out to the fullest extent under the circumstances,” Cammett said.

Scandals have plagued other Olympic sports, most notably gymnastics, in which hundreds of athletes have detailed being abused by imprisoned sports doctor Larry Nassar.

MORE: Remembering the attack on Nancy Kerrigan at the figure skating national championships 25 years ago

Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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