The John Coughlin story, tragic for all involved, should lead to empathy and understanding instead of finger-pointing

The John Coughlin story, tragic for all involved, should lead to empathy and understanding instead of finger-pointing

Let’s start with the simple fact that John Coughlin’s death is a tragedy.

Whatever the circumstances and reasons that led the 33-year-old pairs figure skating national champion to take his own life Friday, as his sister’s Facebook post confirmed, they do not mitigate the pain Coughlin’s passing has brought to his family and friends.

And the desire of those people to express their love and support for Coughlin does not mitigate the pain of those who have reported being victimized by him.

Coughlin’s death leaves many questions specific to his case that likely will never be answered and other, broader questions that should continue to be asked.

Yet too many people have felt compelled to draw conclusions based on assumptions, misinformation and misunderstanding.

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Damning report on USOC leadership in Nassar abuse scandal should lead nearly entire USOC board to resign

Damning report on USOC leadership in Nassar abuse scandal should lead nearly entire USOC board to resign

All but one member of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Board of Directors must resign.

A new board must separate the position of athlete ombudsman from the USOC paid staff, so athletes can feel their grievances, large and small, get an independent hearing.

USOC sponsors, not Congress, should lead the drive for those changes in the aftermath of a damning report about the way USOC leadership mishandled the horrific Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

But the board could start the process of replacing itself at its meeting today in California.

Nassar was sentenced Jan. 24 to 40-to-175 years in prison for multiple sex crimes after some 200 of his victims courageously testified against him in court. But that testimony did not fill in all the blanks about the case.

In the months that have followed, there remained many critical and unanswered questions about how the USOC leadership had handled - and is handling - the worst and most gruesome events in the history of Olympic sports in the United States.

The answers, searingly critical of the USOC, came this week in the report issued by Ropes & Gray, the Boston-based international law firm whom the USOC Board of Directors hired to conduct an independent investigation.

The report’s evidence that USA Gymnastics and its former chief executive, Steve Penny, acted unconscionably already had been well documented.  Its evidence about the USOC’s utter failure to act was new – and even more awful than many suspected.

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Adding more seats to its gravy train costs the IOC way more than it seems

Adding more seats to its gravy train costs the IOC way more than it seems

Sometimes things are hidden in plain sight.

And sometimes you find them deep in a publicly available document.

And sometimes they come to your attention because the keen eye of a colleague points them out, as, in this case, David Owen did for a recent blog on insidethegames.biz.

And the case in question is just another example of how International Olympic Committee members and those non-members who serve on IOC commissions live off the fat of the land.

And all these people are volunteers, ostensibly inclined to get involved with what is pretentiously called the Olympic Movement (capital “M” in IOC documents) out of an altruistic desire to help athletes in Olympic sports.

Altruism, it turns out, has its financial rewards, shared by an ever-growing number of people, as Owen detailed.

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For USOC, silence wrong road to follow after Coulter slur of Muslim Olympian

For USOC, silence wrong road to follow after Coulter slur of Muslim Olympian

The United States Olympic Committee is deservedly proud for having been named last week as one of this year’s business diversity leaders by Profiles in Diversity Journal, honoring the USOC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as “a means to achieve business success.”

For the USOC, that commitment can refer to both the athletes who represent the United States at the Olympics, their coaches and the organizational staff hired to support them - in the case of this award, specifically Jason Thompson,  the USOC director for diversity and inclusion.  Athletes, coaches and staff combine to help create the success measured in medals and other noteworthy performances at the Olympics and Paralympics.

That’s why I wish the USOC had done itself even prouder by calling out Ann Coulter for her hateful, racist tweet related to Ibtihaj Muhammad, a black, Muslim woman emblematic of the rich diversity on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.

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On the defensive, IOC president plays alternative facts trump card

On the defensive, IOC president plays alternative facts trump card

Funny what you will find while looking for something else.

I was searching the International Olympic Committee’s web site to check a reported fact about how much the IOC charges cities to bid for the Olympic Games when I came across the headlines pictured above on a story posted the day after the Sept. 15, 2015 deadline for 2024 Summer Games bids to be submitted.

Eighteen months later, that headline looks like an IOC version of something Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway would have explained away as “alternative facts.”

A rejection in a public referendum (Hamburg), fiscal priorities (Rome) and the threat of a referendum (Budapest) have reduced the competition to just two world-class cities (Los Angeles and Paris) and made a mockery of the IOC’s self-congratulatory headlines.

In an interview last week with the German magazine Stuttgarter Nachrichten, IOC President Thomas Bach blamed the dropouts on the “anti-establishment movements we have in many European countries.”

Or, alt facts.

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