French figure skating scares: assault, intimidation and mistreatment

The French ministry speaks of an “unparalleled scandal“. Research has shown that more than twenty French figure skating coaches have been guilty of assault, intimidation or maltreatment.

The case got rolling in February when former French champion Sarah Abitbol revealed in her book that she was raped between 1990 and 1992 by her coach Gilles Beyer. She was a teenager at the time

All eyes on Gailhaguet

The head of the French skating federation, Didier Gailhaguet, stepped up after the unveiling of Abitbol. He denied that he had held her coach’s hand over her head.

Gailhaguet’s position at the French Olympic Committee is now also under pressure, but for the time being he doesn’t want to give up. “I’d like to ask the people who are calling for my departure for a little more decency.”

In the wake of Abitbol, more skaters testified about sexual violence by coaches over a period of thirty years. Three coaches were already sentenced to imprisonment, but the scandal now appears to be even bigger.