Figure Skater John Coughlin Was Banned From Sport Shortly Before Suicide

Former U.S. figure skating champion John Coughlin passed away on Friday, just one day after he was suspended from his sport.

Coughlin, 33 years old, was a beloved figure in the world of figure skating. He was found dead in Kansas City following an apparent suicide, according to a report by USA Today. The outlet also noted that on Thursday, Coughlin had been suspended by the U.S. Center for SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating.

Coughlin had a wide array of roles in the sport of figure skating. In addition to flourishing in "pairs" competitions, he traveled the country visiting rinks, coaching other skaters and delivering commentary on events. He was considered a rising star within U.S. Figure Skating, and globally as well in the International Skating Union.

However, Coughlin's prospects became restricted last month. The details are unclear, but SafeSport restricted his eligibility to participate in figure skating pending the resolution of a disciplinary issue on Dec. 17. The next day, Coughlin resigned from John Wilson Blades, where he was the U.S. brand manager.

Things got worse this week, as both SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating issued more elevated suspensions for Coughlin. He was put under "Interim Suspension" status, banning him from taking part in sanctioned figure skating events "in any capacity, in any activity or competition."

Coughlin was scheduled to compete at the national figure skating championships in Detroit next week. The event marks the biggest week of the year in the figure skating world, and Coughlin could not work as a commentator there.

In an e-mail sent to USA Today, Coughlin denied the allegations leveled against him by SafeSport, without specifying what they were. SafeSport's mission is to eliminate abuse in the sports world, but Coughlin said he was not guilt of any abuses.

"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," he wrote. "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."

As news of his passing spread, many organizations and individuals in the world of figure skating have taken to social media to mourn Coughlin.

"My wonderful, strong, amazingly compassionate brother John Coughlin took his own life earlier today," wrote his sister, Angela Laune. "I have no words."


If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).