US Figure Skating Coach Banned for Life After Disturbing Allegations

US Figure Skating Coach Banned for Life After Disturbing Allegations
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Dalilah Sap­pen­field, a promi­nent US Olympic pairs fig­ure skat­ing coach, has been banned for life by the US Cen­ter for Safe­S­port after a two-and-a-half-year inves­ti­ga­tion into alle­ga­tions of misconduct.

The life­time ban comes after Safe­S­port found Sap­pen­field cul­pa­ble of phys­i­cal and emo­tion­al mis­con­duct, retal­i­a­tion, abuse of process, and fail­ure to report a poten­tial Safe­S­port vio­la­tion. Sap­pen­field was pre­vi­ous­ly tem­porar­i­ly barred from coach­ing dur­ing the investigation.

The alle­ga­tions include ver­bal abuse that led one of Sap­pen­field­’s for­mer skaters, 2016 US pairs cham­pi­on Tarah Kayne, to cut her own wrist with a razor blade in 2019. Kayne report­ed that Sap­pen­field con­stant­ly spoke inap­pro­pri­ate­ly about sex and made fun of Kayne’s men­tal health struggles.

There were also alle­ga­tions of Sap­pen­field hous­ing a 16-year-old female Russ­ian pairs skater at her Col­orado Springs home in 2020, which vio­lates Safe­S­port rules pro­hibit­ing coach­es from hous­ing minor athletes.

Safe¬≠S¬≠port CEO Ju‚ÄôRiese Colon stat¬≠ed that the life¬≠time ban rep¬≠re¬≠sents progress in ‚Äúcre¬≠at¬≠ing long-term cul¬≠ture change‚ÄĚ in the sport, hold¬≠ing those who engage in ‚Äútox¬≠ic tac¬≠tics‚ÄĚ account¬≠able. The deci¬≠sion under¬≠scores the orga¬≠ni¬≠za¬≠tion‚Äôs com¬≠mit¬≠ment to fos¬≠ter¬≠ing safe envi¬≠ron¬≠ments for athletes.

Sap­pen­field has the right to appeal the life­time ban, but the rul­ing sends a strong mes­sage about the need for account­abil­i­ty and pro­tect­ing ath­letes from abu­sive coach­ing prac­tices in fig­ure skat­ing and oth­er sports.

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