American figure skating champion John Coughlin commits suicide
Updated 12:42, 22-Jan-2019
Li Xiang
["north america"]
Two-time U.S. pairs skating champion, 33-year-old John Coughlin committed suicide in Kansas City, Missouri on Friday, according to his sister Angela Laune, and figure skating groups and personalities.
"My wonderful strong, amazingly compassionate brother John Coughlin took his own life earlier today. I have no words. I love you John..." wrote Angela Laune on Facebook late Friday.
Meanwhile, The U.S. Figure Skating posted on Twitter: "We are stunned at the news of the death of two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin. Our heartfelt and deepest sympathies are with his father Mike, sister Angela and the rest of his family. Out of respect to the family, we will have no further comment until a later time."
John Coughlin (R) and his partner performing in figure skating /Reuters Photo

John Coughlin (R) and his partner performing in figure skating /Reuters Photo

One day before Coughlin's death, the US Center for SafeSport, an oversight agency of the US Olympic Committee for sexual misconduct and other abuse allegations in sports, put Coughlin in temporary suspension from figure skating, meaning that he could not attend any event or competition held or authorized by the U.S. Figure Skating and the US Olympic Committee.
SafeSport put Coughlin under restriction for unspecified conduct on December 17, 2018 before the restriction was upgraded to suspension. YouTube channel "The Skating Lesson" posted a screenshot of the notice on January 4, drawing public attention to the issue.
Speculations began soon, including some very offensive ones that compared Coughlin to disgraced serial abuser gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. However, there's absolutely no evidence of any specific wrongdoings by Coughlin except the vague "Allegation of misconduct".
Coughlin faced rumors and accusations on the Internet. /VCG Photo

Coughlin faced rumors and accusations on the Internet. /VCG Photo

Rumors and speculations started to hurt Coughlin who, according to people close to him, felt that he "lost everything". A friend of his wrote on Facebook: "Words can be just as powerful as a bullet. To John, they were just that-bullets straight to his heart."
In a statement to USA Today on January 7, Coughlin said: "While I wish I could speak freely about the unfounded allegations levied against me, the SafeSport rules prevent me from doing so since the case remains pending. I note only that the SafeSport notice of allegation itself stated that an allegation in no way constitutes a finding by SafeSport or that there is any merit to the allegation."