by Irvin Muchnick
Speed Skating Canada recently terminated for good its head coach, Michael Crowe. The sport body had suspended Crowe virtually on the eve of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics amidst allegations that he had conducted himself inappropriately with the athletes he supervised.
As Concussion Inc. has chronicled, Crowe started with the U.S. program in 1983 and was US Speedskating’s national sprint coach at the 1992 Games in Albertville, France. He had various coaching stints from 1983 to 1991, and again from 1999 to 2006. Insiders say Crowe’s promotion to team director in 2002, moving him out of the line of direct coaching supervision, was largely a move to blunt general complaints about by male skaters.
In 2006 Crowe was fired due to the efforts of whistleblower Eva Rodansky, an American speedskater and Olympic hopeful. Rodansky told the national sport governing body about Crowe’s favoritism toward another female athlete, a direct competitor for a speedskating event slot in world competitions, with whom Crowe was in a relationship. Later, to Congressional investigators, Rodansky also would reveal that Crowe had had affairs with two other skaters.
After his termination in the U.S., Crowe moved to Canada.
According to the Calgary Herald, the Speed Skating Canada investigation was completed last month and CEO Susan Auch concluded that Crowe should be fired “as a result of concerns for our athletes and coaches in our program.” Left unclear is whether there were new incidents in Canada or just new awareness of charges by Rodansky and other Americans. The Herald news account is at http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/speed-skating-canada-fires-coach-following-investigation.
Rodansky told us, “While I realize that Speed Skating Canada has some legal obligations of confidentiality, I wish they were able to be more forthcoming about the specific results of their investigation, But give Susan Auch credit for at least acting on the allegations against Crowe and initiating an investigation, to get to the bottom of them, instead of just trying to bury the allegations like US Speedskating did, in the 1990s and early 2000s.”
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