De Grasse coach Rana Reider facing investigation for sexual misconduct

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TORONTO — Rana Reider, coach of Canada's Olympic champion Andre De Grasse, is facing an investigation for alleged sexual misconduct.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport has just begun investigating the 51-year-old Florida-based track coach, Reider's lawyer Ryan Stevens said in a statement to The Canadian Press.

"We have received no evidence whatsoever about the claims," Stevens said in the statement. "The SafeSport Code defines 'sexual misconduct' broadly."

Stevens added that his client has not received a notice of allegations, meaning "their investigative efforts are incomplete or have just begun . . . Rana does not deserve to have his name and reputation dragged through the mud without any evidence or due process."

The allegations against Reider have not been tested in court.

De Grasse, a 26-year-old from Markham, Ont., captured three medals at the Tokyo Games last summer, to become Canada's most decorated male Olympian with six medals.

De Grasse and his partner Nia Ali, the reigning women's world 100-metre hurdles champion from the U.S., left Phoenix to train with Reider in Jacksonville, Fla., in December of 2018.

SafeSport, which oversees sexual misconduct and other abuse allegations within the US Olympic and Paralympic community, said in a statement, "The United States Center for SafeSport does not comment on matters to protect the integrity of the investigative process."

Athletics Canada said it has referred the matter to its Office of the AC Commissioner, which will co-ordinate with the U.S. agency.

"We will follow whatever orders or direction we get from the Office of the Commissioner," Athletics Canada said in a statement.

Athletics Canada said, based on the information they have currently, no Canadian athletes are involved in allegations.

Reider's Tumbleweed Track Club also features top British sprinter Adam Gemili and American Trayvon Bromell. He's also coached notable athletes such as Dutch and American sprinters Dafne Schippers and Christian Taylor.

UK Athletics, Britain's governing body for track and field, said in a statement to The Canadian Press that, based on information it received from SafeSport, "multiple complaints of sexual misconduct have been made against coach Rana Reider and that an investigation in the U.S. is imminent."

Following the allegations, first reported by British newspaper the Guardian, UK Athletics instructed its athletes in Reiders' group to cease training with the coach until the conclusion of the investigation.

"As part of UK Athletics commitment to ensuring appropriate conduct is consistent across all areas without any exceptions, we completed additional due diligence where issues have been raised about the support personnel of UK athletes," UK Athletics said.

UK Athletics said its athletes who choose to remain part of his group will have their membership into the World Class Programme suspended, meaning they would lose funding and be excluded from international competitions.

De Grasse raced to gold in the 200 metres in Tokyo, plus bronze in the 100 and 4x100 relay.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2021.

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

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