US Ski & Snowboard is investigating allegations that longtime Olympic coach Peter Foley took nude photos of female athletes and that Olympic snowboard racer Hagen Kearney used racist language to provoke a teammate.
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Former snowboardcross rider Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, a member of the 2010 Olympic team, wrote in an Instagram post that in addition to taking the photos, Foley made inappropriate comments, which Kearney repeatedly used the N-word for “intentionally getting under my skin.”
Chythlook-Sifsof is from Alaska and describes himself as Yupik and Inupiaq.
Foley and Kearney were in China this week for the Beijing Games.
US Ski & Snowboard released a statement saying it “takes all allegations seriously. Peter Foley remains the head coach of the US Snowboardcross Team while all recent allegations are investigated.” .
Foley said he was surprised by the allegations in a text to The Associated Press.
“I vehemently deny the allegations,” he continued. “I’m doing my best to focus on supporting athletes at the Olympics.”
Kearney, who finished 17th in Thursday’s men’s snowboardcross contest, posted on Instagram that he was at risk of being kicked from the team after the episode with Chythlook-Sifsof, and apologized shortly after.
“I didn’t have the same head on my shoulders back then as I do now and Callan was a big part of me changing and growing as a human,” Kearney said.
Lindsey Jacobellis, who won her second gold medal at the Beijing Games teaming up with Nick Baumgartner in Saturday’s mixed snowboardcross event, said she never had a problem with Foley.
“I can speak very well about his character and he has always had my back through everything I’ve been through,” Jacobellis said.
In her Instagram post, Chythlook-Sifsof described the events that happened in 2014.
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“I can’t watch any other Olympics without saying so publicly,” she wrote.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement, “We take all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and follow protocols to ensure they are reported and handled properly.”
The cases are being investigated by the US Center for SafeSport, which opened in 2017 to address allegations of harassment and other abuse in US sports.