U.S. pairs ice skater John Coughlin, who won national pairs championships with two different partners, has taken his own life, according to his sister. His death occurred one day after the U.S. Olympic Committee suspended him and barred him from the national skating championship just days before the event.
Radar Online says that Coughlin’s sister, Angela Laune, posted on Facebook that her brother had killed himself.
“My wonderful strong, amazingly compassionate brother John Coughlin took his own life earlier today. I have no words. I love you, John,” she wrote.
The day before his death at his Kansas City, Missouri, home, Coughlin learned that he had been suspended from U.S. Center for SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating for “unspecified conduct.”
The center is a U.S. Olympic Committee agency that oversees sexual misconduct and any abuse allegations in sports.
U.S. Figure Skating also released a statement in relation to the death of John Coughlin, expressing shock.
“We are stunned at the news of the death of two-time US 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.”
U.S. Figure Skater John Coughlin Dies of Apparent Suicide at 33 After Being Suspended from Sport https://t.co/gBTQpYJbYa— People (@people) January 20, 2019
Coughlin won national championships with Caitlin Yankowskas in 2011 and with Caydee Denney in 2012, and represented the United States both years in international competition.
Coughlin’s coach, Dalilah Sappenfield, shared her thoughts about the loss of the skater on Facebook.
“Yesterday I received the most numbing, devastating, and heartbreaking call!… My heart aches incredibly to know John took his life yesterday. His family, the skating community, and I lost a very special man who lived his life with integrity and kindness.”
People Magazine reported that Sergeant Jake Becchina of the Kansas City Police Department confirmed that John Coughlin killed himself at his home on Washington Street.
Coughlin’s death comes a week after he resigned from his job as U.S. brand manager for John Wilson Blades, a skating blade retail company, and a day after he learned of his suspension by SafeSport.
But it is also possible that the public will never know what the governing board learned that caused them to suspend Coughlin, as they explained that they use the suspension to protect others from a threat rather than as a punishment.
“We don’t suspend people as punishment. We suspend people when there’s a concern of imminent harm.”
In this situation, as far as SafeSport is concerned, their investigation dies with Coughlin, and unless it was reported to law enforcement, it ends now.