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US Olympic medalist and figure skating coach being investigated over allegations of abuse


The U.S. Center for SafeSport is investigating 1988 U.S. Olympic pairs bronze medalist and renowned figure skating coach Peter Oppegard over allegations of physical abuse, according to emails obtained by USA TODAY Sports and two people questioned by SafeSport. 

Oppegard, a member of the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame, allegedly bit a teenage female skater on the arm during a 2013 training session, according to the skater, her mother and a person who was present in the rink and said they saw the bite mark immediately afterward.

The SafeSport investigation, which has been ongoing since July, is also looking into allegations that Oppegard threw hot water and coffee at skaters he coached on multiple occasions at East West Ice Palace in Artesia, California, where he worked from 2005 until he left in 2018, according to two people who witnessed Oppegard’s actions and have discussed them with SafeSport, and who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal.

Peter Oppegard, shown coaching in 2006, is the last American to win an Olympic medal in pairs figure skating along with former partner Jill Watson.

Oppegard did not respond Wednesday and Thursday to emails and voicemails on his cell phone requesting comment.

Oppegard, 61, is the estranged husband of skating coach and choreographer Karen Kwan, an elite national skater in the mid-1990s and the older sister of Michelle Kwan, the nine-time national champion, five-time world champion and two-time Olympic medalist. The Kwan family owns and operates the Artesia rink.  


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