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19 Feb, 2021 15:41

US Olympic medalist and figure skating coach accused of abuse, including BITING skaters

US Olympic medalist and figure skating coach accused of abuse, including BITING skaters

US famed figure skater turned coach Peter Oppegard has been investigated over accusations of physically abusing skaters, including biting and throwing hot coffee during training sessions.

The retired pair skater who won bronze at the 1988 Olympic Games was accused of brutal treatment by his former skater Jessica Pfund, who said that the coach bit her during practice.

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Pfund, who was 15 at the time, said she didn’t dare to talk about the episode as she was afraid of the consequences she might have faced.

He was helping to position me on the ice to show me a landing position on a jump. Both of his hands were holding me, and he leaned over and bit me on the skin on my upper right arm, near the bicep,” Pfund recalled of the alleged incident which she said happened in 2013.

I remember being completely baffled why he did it,” she added.

I went home with a bruise and a bite mark on my arm. My mom said, ‘I can see the teeth marks.’”

She also added that one of the reasons that kept her from making the alleged incident public was the fact that Oppegard was married to Karen Kwan, an elite figure skater in the 1990s and the older sister of US legend Michelle Kwan, who won five world titles and two Olympic medals.

Kwan’s family owns and operates Artesia rink in California where the alleged victim trained.

Witnesses who spoke with SafeSport, an organization which investigates the claims brought against Oppegard said that he would throw hot water and coffee at skaters during training sessions.

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Oppegard, who worked at East West Ice Palace in Artesia, California from 2005 till 2018, hasn’t commented on the claims brought against him.