Our recent article at Salon questioned the procedures and efficacy of the latest effort to examine the shortcomings of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee in the area of policing sexual abuse.
Concussion Inc. now turns to former speedskater Eva Rodansky, a long-time friend of this site, who has shared her own horror story of U.S. Speedskating politics – including sexual politics – in numerous ways. Below is the full text of Eva’s new submission to the congressional commission.
Dear Members of the Commission,
I would like to share information with you about ongoing and past issues with the US Olympic movement, from my own experiences, observations, and communication with others. I emailed the AAC Task Force collecting athlete feedback at [email protected], but never heard back, so I thought I would reach out to the Commission directly.
However, I have heard that some people have tried using this email address for the Commission, as published in the recent Salon article https://www.salon.com/2023/03/26/is-the-congressional-commission-on-olympic-abuse-more-than-an-inside-job/, and have had their emails bounce back as undeliverable, so I wanted to make sure this email address works before sending more detailed feedback.
In the meantime, here is one piece of information I came across yesterday, relating to the participation of women (Area of Study # vii (I)), from my former NGB: US Speedskating.
For the 2023-24 training season, which just started, USSPEEDSKATING announced its National Training Program roster for long track (see attached), and they are only supporting 6 women on their National Team while supporting 8 men.
USSPEEDSKATING is a corrupt monopoly that has a history of unequal treatment of its elite women, including protecting sexual predators like Andy Gabel and Mike Crowe in positions of authority, and failing to take a full team of women to the Olympics in 2006 because of then-team director Crowe’s sexual favoritism.
Whereas USSPEEDSKATING’s sordid history should be revisited in the context of a review of the current state of the USOPC, and Ms. Farrell’s lawsuit against USS for its failures to protect her and others from the known predator Gabel still has the potential to bankrupt this NGB, USSPEEDSKATING’s corruption is ongoing, as evidenced by the attached Section 9, Jurak vs Speedskating, from 2022 Olympic selection in the women’s long track mass start event, which used post-hoc selection after vaguely written criteria and all the results came in, which made the mass start selection as corrupt as the entire process was for speed skating for 2006, which was also done by vaguely written criteria, post-hoc selection, and a committee plagued by sexual favoritism and national team insider coaches plus the team director making up the majority of the committee.
For someone who experienced the 2006 Olympic selection first-hand, it is extremely disheartening to see how little has changed in Speed skating, and how much the NGB still feels they can get away with. Not only that, but to see that the US National Team is only supporting 6 women vs 8 men at the National Team level, proves that USSPEEDSKATING still treats its female elite athletes unfairly. For years, I have believed that USSPEEDSKATING should get out of the business of running a centralized National Team entirely, since being a part of the National Team is the only reasonable way for an athlete to train at the world class level and get the support they need, unless their parents are paying for everything (or even if their parents are fully committed). This situation leads to athletes and families and USS staff being pressured into toeing the line and remaining silent about abuse in order to protect their status in the sport.
I am actually hoping that Bridie Farrell wins her lawsuit against USS and that this leads to USSPEEDSKATING going bankrupt, because USSPEED’s inability to run a centralized National Training Program would be the absolute best thing to happen to speed skating in the USA. It is sad for any sport to be run by a corrupt monopoly, and this needs to end. The top-performing male and female skaters from last season, Jordan Stolz and Kimi Goetz, are not listed on the National Training Program for USS, and that is telling.
There are too many people who have been marginalized by the NGB of speed skating who would have been able to contribute to the sport, whether it be coaches or athletes who were mishandled talent or pushed aside in favor of those who “fit the culture.” I have seen and experience these things for almost 30 years, ever since being blackballed from the sport by the NGB president in 1995, at age 17, for reporting problems with the coach that USSPEEDSKATING sent out to Salt Lake City to set up kids’ development programs (he was trash-passed there from the OTC in Lake Placid for beating up his male skaters). For someone who has been involved in this sport, and in attempts to reform it, for that long, to continue to see indications that the culture has not changed, is extremely disappointing.
I plan to write more about the types of discussions that I think need to happen, on the state of sports in the USA, but I wanted to share my experiences from speed skating, as well as ongoing issues in USSPEEDSKATING, in a test email first.
More on Eva Rodansky’s story:
“National Olympic Chief Blackmun Holds Up Sex Scandal-Plagued U.S. Speedskating – Like USA Swimming – As a ‘Model’ Governing Body. Some Model,” November 21, 2013, https://concussioninc.net/?p=8336
“Guest Columnist Eva Rodansky on Why the USOC Is To Blame For U.S. Speedskating’s Olympic Woes in Sochi,” March 14, 2014, https://concussioninc.net/?p=8820
“Michael Crowe, Defrocked American Team Speedskating Coach, Now Has the Same Job in Canada,” May 7, 2015, https://concussioninc.net/?p=10099
“US Speedskating Activist’s Letter to Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s Office: GAO Sex Abuse Report Stinks. Congresswoman to Activist: [nothing].,” July 8, 2015, https://concussioninc.net/?p=10174
“Speed Skating Canada, Like U.S. Speedskating Before It, Parts Ways With Michael Crowe, But Doesn’t Clarify Misconduct Allegations,” May 5, 2018, https://concussioninc.net/?p=12895