John Coughlin, former figure skating national champion, found dead one day after SafeSport suspension

Yahoo Sports
PARK CITY, UT – OCTOBER 01: Pairs Skaters John Coughlin and Caydee Denney pose for a portrait during the USOC Media Summit ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on October 1, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT – OCTOBER 01: Pairs Skaters John Coughlin and Caydee Denney pose for a portrait during the USOC Media Summit ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on October 1, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

One day after being placed on interim suspension by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin was found to have committed suicide at his home in Kansas City on Friday. He was 33. 

The stunning announcement was made public in a Facebook post by Coughlin’s sister, Angela Laune, late Friday night.

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“My wonderful, strong, amazingly compassionate brother John Coughlin took his own life earlier today. I have no words. I love you John.” Laune posted. 

Coughlin was being probed by SafeSport, an independent nonprofit aimed at rooting out abuse in sports, and had been restricted from participating in figure skating events as of December 17, 2018 — news that was first reported by USA Today in early January. Shortly after, Coughlin resigned as a brand manager for ice skate producer John Wilson Blades. 

On January 17, SafeSport formally placed Coughlin on interim suspension, as did United States Figure Skating. Coughlin was discovered dead the following day. 

In an earlier email to USA Today, Coughlin acknowledged the SafeSport inquiry and denied any improper actions.

“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 told USA Today. “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.”

Coughlin was crowned U.S. National Champion in 2011 and 2012 before retiring from competition in 2015. Following his on-ice career, Coughlin went on to become a TV analyst for the sport. He was recently pulled from contributing to the coverage of the upcoming U.S. nationals in Detroit as part of his suspension.


Details of the SafeSport inquiry are not expected to be made public until the case has concluded.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at blakeschuster@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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