by Irvin Muchnick
In what sources say could be the first in a series of coordinated actions on systematic sexual abuse in amateur sports, the Women’s Sports Foundation today publicly petitioned the U.S. Olympic Speedskating Board of Director to “remove Andy Gabel from the Hall of Fame and revoke his lifetime membership in U.S. Speedskating.”
An initial 66 speedskaters signed on to the petition, and according to information at the website, the proposal now has more than 250 signatories. The petition states in part:
Last year, Bridie Farrell accused Andy Gabel of molesting her when she was just 15 years old and Gabel was 33, on NPR radio. Within days, Gabel resigned from his positions within U.S. Speedskating and the International Skating Union, and publicly confessed to “inappropriate” relationships with young female athletes. Less than a week later, another skater-victim, Nikki Meyer, shared similar allegations; that Gabel forced her to have sex with him in 1991 when she was 15 years old. Additionally, since Farrell and Meyer have come forward, documents of another investigation for possible inappropriate sexual contact with another skater who was a minor surfaced.
US Speedskating conducted a year-long investigation into Andy Gabel’s conduct, but refuses to make the results public. At last year’s Speedskating Board of Directors meeting, an almost identical proposal was submitted, but was ignored.