US snowboard coach, rider being investigated for misconduct
ZHANGJIAKOU, China (AP) — U.S. Ski & Snowboard is investigating allegations that longtime Olympic coach Peter Foley took naked pictures of female athletes and that Olympic snowboard racer Hagen Kearney used racist language to provoke a teammate.
Former snowboardcross rider Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, a member of the 2010 Olympic team, wrote in an Instagram post that in addition to taking the photos, Foley had made inappropriate comments, and that Kearney repeatedly used the N-word to “intentionally get under my skin.”
Chythlook-Sifsof is from Alaska and describes herself as Yupik and Inupiaq.
Both Foley and Kearney were in China this week for the Beijing Games.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard released a statement that said it “takes all allegations seriously. Peter Foley remains as U.S. Snowboardcross team head coach while all recent allegations are being investigated.”
Foley said he was surprised by the allegations in a text to The Associated Press.
“I vehemently deny the allegations,” he continued. “I’m doing my best to concentrate on supporting the athletes at the Olympics.”
Kearney, who finished 17th in Thursday’s men’s snowboardcross contest, posted on Instagram that he faced expulsion from the team after the episode with Chythlook-Sifsof, and apologized shortly after.
“I did not have the same head on my shoulders back then as I do now and Callan was a huge part of me changing and growing as a human,” Kearney said.
Lindsey Jacobellis, who won her second gold medal of the Beijing Games by teaming with Nick Baumgartner in Saturday’s mixed snowboardcross event, said she never had an issue with Foley.
“I can speak very highly of his character and he’s always been supporting me through everything that I’ve gone through,” Jacobellis said.
In her Instagram post, Chythlook-Sifsof described events that happened in 2014.
“I cannot watch another Olympic Games without saying this publicly,” she wrote.
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee said in a statement: “We take all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and follow protocols to ensure it is reported and managed properly.”
Cases are investigated by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which opened in 2017 to handle harassment and other abuse allegations inside U.S. sports.
More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports