Does french figure skating have a culture of rape ? FFSG in the storm

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Orm Irian

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...Katia Gentelet was Laurine's coach in her breakout year, the year she skated Experience and Grease. Laurine went to Kori Ade after Gentelet 'had to step away' from coaching - only to then end up with Katia Krier after Ballester's untimely death. Another example of how intertwined all these people are and how impossible it must have been for any French skater to get even a breath away from their network of influence without being a student of Haguenauer or Ballester or a similar coach operating in a different country altogether.

ETA: Am I misremembering, or is Michel Gentelet Katia Gentelet's father and involved in the financial troubles of the Nice club that have seen the Cup of Nice cancelled for two seasons running?
 

cholla

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...Katia Gentelet was Laurine's coach in her breakout year, the year she skated Experience and Grease. Laurine went to Kori Ade after Gentelet 'had to step away' from coaching - only to then end up with Katia Krier after Ballester's untimely death. Another example of how intertwined all these people are and how impossible it must have been for any French skater to get even a breath away from their network of influence without being a student of Haguenauer or Ballester or a similar coach operating in a different country altogether.
For the record, Laurine left Katia Gentelet after she failed to show up by her side at international competitions twice. Laurine never ever had any trouble with Katia Krier who stepped up as a temporary coach when Jean-François Ballester died. Laurine hasn't had to complain about anything when she trained under Katia Krier. Krier divorced from Gilles Beyer years ago and Laurine never worked with him when she trained under Katia Krier, or at any time, although she (Laurine) is a member of club des Français Volants on paper. Switching to Lorenzo Magri last year was her own choice and she obtained Krier's and FFSG approval without any kind of difficulty. I can personally vouch for all this. And saying that doesn't mean I approve or condone FFSG exactions. Laurine was never abused nor harassed. She was certainly deprived of her federation attention at times but not in this particular occurence. She has had to endure Gentelet's absence at crucial moments because Gentelet was too hangovered to get up in the morning twice at ISU competitions and that was way enough to make her go. But Gentelet never mistreated her psychologically or physically apart from these 2 episodes of totally unprofessional neglect. I'm not defending Gentelet either. I was beyond appalled and furious when it happened. But I didn't know Gentelet was a wreck and an alcoholic until then. This post is for the sake of general information and isn't against anything you said Orm Irian 😉
 

Orm Irian

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I figured if anything had happened to Laurine you'd have been aware, cholla - it's just that extraordinary network of corrupt top-level people connected everywhere that I find it so hard to wrap my head around. My heart goes out to all the French skaters who've had to deal with this appalling cabal. Well, maybe not Cipres.
 

nimi

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ETA: Am I misremembering, or is Michel Gentelet Katia Gentelet's father and involved in the financial troubles of the Nice club that have seen the Cup of Nice cancelled for two seasons running?
It's a long article and I don't speak French (and I don't know how coaching or... well... anything works in France) but basically the article says Katia started coaching at the club soon after her father Michel became the club president, even though she wasn't qualified. So yes, sounds like nepotism. But apparently the financial troubles happened before, under the previous leadership. (EDIT: I just found an online translation of the article, although it's not much better than the machine translation I was using. Below a lightly edited version by me, I apologize for possible errors)
When Katia Gentelet entered the NBAA (National Baie des Anges Associations) skating rink for the first time in 2009, the Nice club refounded following the bankruptcy of the NCAP (Nice Côte d'Azur Patinage), Michel Gentelet, the new president, doesn't introduce her right away as her daughter. He announces that the young woman is here to pass her State Certificate "under the direction of Sandra Garde", a renowned technician, two-time medalist at the French championships. A training that Katia Gentelet will not complete until February 2012. This does not prevent her, a few weeks after her arrival, from being appointed in place of Sandra Garde to head the high-level section in sports studies, girls and boys aged from 7 to 15, on average.
BTW, the article also says Katia was elected best young coach by the FFSG in 2014. One wonders if that just miiiiight have had something to do with the fact that:
Michel Gentelet and Didier Gailhaguet have had a special relationship for several years. The latter calls himself "a close friend". He is right. The two men have known each other for a long time, and it was the boss of ice sports who gave his friend a leg up when the club was overhauled in 2009. (...) The president of the FFSG organized two world championships on the Côte d'Azur, in 2000 and in 2012. In fact, during the first years when Katia Gentelet was coaching in Nice, Didier Gailhaguet was mentioned as vice-president in the club's statutes. Several minutes of the general assembly show that he was mostly excused, but it seems difficult to think that the boss of the FFSG was not aware of what was going on there.
 
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clairecloutier

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It makes me wonder if this network of unsavory characters in the French clubs and FFSG is part of the reason why several French skaters have started training abroad in recent years .... :eek:
 

cholla

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Just a small request : can people please be kind enough to call the different Katias by their family name so there is no confusion possible. Laurine Lecavelier alone has been coached by 3 different Katias : Lemaire, Gentelet and Krier. They are 3 very different women and only one of them, Gentelet, has been proven guilty of abuse, prosecuted and banned. Another one has been unfortunate enough to be Gilles Beyer's wife. Until I'm proven wrong by new facts, I'll still see Krier as a decent woman who's worked her head off for French skaters, at least when she was given the liberty to do so by her hierarchy. The 3rd one, AFAIK, has strictly nothing to do with what is unraveling these days.

It makes me wonder if this network of unsavory characters in the French clubs and FFSG is part of the reason why several French skaters have started training abroad in recent years .... :eek:
For some of them, yes. The farther they are from the mad king and his castle, the better. The mad king still keeps an eye on them but he can't interfere all the time.
 
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ks1227

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I saw Abitbol’s book in a bookshop today and I went through a few pages. She had long talks with Laëtitia Hubert about Beyer. Hubert said she supported her but did not want to go first line against him, and did not want to make public what happened exactly. A lot of victims are anonymised in the book and haven’t come forward. Another anonymised high rank dude at the FSSG is accused of rape by one of them (edit : I think she is talking about Jean Roland Racle, some accusations have come forward now)
My vague recollection, as a long-time American follower of Hubert with admittedly poor French, is that her departure from Beyer after the 1994 Olympics was known to be very conflictual at the time. It wasn't until years later that I heard about the elements of sexual abuse, after the video report appeared in France where her identity was not very effectively hidden (anyone who had watched Hubert over the years could figure out what performance was being shown). But apparently there is a lot she could commiserate about with Abitbol about Beyer's abusive behavior. On the other hand, as least as far as Hubert is concerned, I don't recall any rumors of strain from her years with Racle (not with him directly, though she had plenty of conflicts with FFSG) - which does not mean there aren't skeletons in Racle's closet as well.

Edited to Add: I just found more claims online about Racle, not from Hubert but another skater, and apparently they are pretty bad too. :eek:
 
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kirkbiggestfan

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Here is the latest article from 20 minutes. Marc Mandina was coaching in San Diego and banned for life after taking a video of a 12yo kid in the showers. He was found at the skating club of Mulhouse using a different name. He is dating the local coach who is a former French National champion. The parents and local politicians complained. Most of the parents took their kids to Colmar, a nearby city.
 
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aemeraldrainc

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Here is the latest article from 20 minutes. Marc Mandina was coaching in San Diego and banned for life after taking a video of a 12yo kid in the showers. He was found at the skating club of Mulhouse using a different name. He is dating the local coach who is a former French National champion. The parents and local politicians complained. Most of the parents took their kids to Colmar, a nearby city.
link?
not doubting you, just for reference.
 

misskarne

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So, Surya Bonaly has entirely missed the point.

(Machine-translated) :

I understand that the President of the Ice Sports has made mistakes but I find it unbearable that we speak of Mr. Gailhaguet in this way: he has never Abused his students or raped anyone; on the other hand there are 3 Garbage 3 different Rapists on the loose who are Guilty or Guilty For over 30 years who have made many skaters suffer in silence and no one pronounces their names in a loop on TV or newspapers and other media .... So Stop now . Cleaning up in the federation yes it's obvious; but stop beating up on him like that. Before 2000 there were other president ...
 

taz'smum

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Immortelle

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DG has resigned!! 🎉
🍾🍾🍾🍾
 

Zemgirl

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DG has resigned!! 🎉
Good.

I hope that other resignations - and in some cases, prosecutions - will follow.
 

Moka-Ananas

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Here is the latest article from 20 minutes. Marc Mandina was coaching in San Diego and banned for life after taking a video of a 12yo kid in the showers. He was found at the skating club of Mulhouse using a different name. He is dating the local coach who is a former French National champion. The parents and local politicians complained. Most of the parents took their kids to Colmar, a nearby city.
Just found out that former National champion happens to be Candice Didier.
 

cocotaffy

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DG has resigned!! 🎉
We need an especially made build-in "like" option shaped in a Champagne bottle for this. His position was absolutely not sustainable. Very thrilled this situation wasn't dragged on for much longer because it would have ending up having an impact on the skaters coming Worlds imo. Now a deep clean needs to happen. The FFSG needs rebuilding.
 

victorskid

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But will measures be taken to ensure that he is gone for good (and that he is not just pulling the strings behind the scenes)? A translation of his statement portrays him as a martyr!!

Gailhaguet's statement after the special council meeting at the Fed: "Purely in order to calm tensions, I have--with composure, with dignity, but without bitterness in the face of its injustice--with my head held high--taken the wise decision to resign as Federation president."
And will the investigation(s) continue and appropriate measures be taken based on the results?
 

Zemgirl

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We need an especially made build-in "like" option shaped in a Champagne bottle for this. His position was absolutely not sustainable. Very thrilled this situation wasn't dragged on for much longer because it would have ending up having an impact on the skaters coming Worlds imo. Now a deep clean needs to happen. The FFSG need rebuilding.
I was going to post the munchkins doing Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, but decided not to because this is serious. Even though it's the right outcome, it's still sad that it took so long for all this to come to light and for Gailhaguet to step down. I'm guessing that what's been revealed so far is not even half of it.

It was brave of Sarah Abitbol to come forward, and what she's done will help many. I hope that will bring her comfort and that she feels proud and powerful.
 

cocotaffy

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But will measures be taken to ensure that he is gone for good (and that he is not just pulling the strings behind the scenes)? A translation of his statement portrays him as a martyr!!



And will the investigation(s) continue and appropriate measures be taken based on the results?
From the Sports minister's declaration, we can only hope so. She seems very determined to follow up on the case. Major sports stars like the ultra successful and one of the most popular French sportsperson, the judoka Teddy Riner , signed a public appeal printed in a French newspaper for action to combat silence about cases of sexual abuse in sport. This cannot be pushed under the rug anymore, not in the Metoo area. I, for one, am glad about it.
 

VarBar

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I wonder what the ISU is thinking now and how they will react to all this. Will they keep quiet and pretend that nothing happened? Will they release a statement and go for the "We didn't know, nobody told us" line of defense? Does Gailhaguet still have friends within the FS governing body? Does he have protectors there? I can't answer any of these questions but maybe others can.
 

Zemgirl

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Roxana Maracineanu called the resignation a first step and stated that more work will be done to keep athletes safe.
 

Minou

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Domshabfan

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DG has resigned!! 🎉
This really needs a new thread and I think @taz'smum should start it ;). We have new threads for so many other things, this deserves its own one (i think).
 

ChelleC

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DG has resigned!! 🎉
I cannot hit like enough on this.

Like x infinity.
 

kwanfan1818

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Step 2 is making sure he never gets back in, and that he can't be a puppet master again. Which means dredging up everything he can use for blackmail, or he might as well be running the place.
 
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misskarne

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It's not enough. The French Fed still needs to be razed to the ground because his cronies, his tentacles, will be everywhere. The only way to be sure is to go nuclear and start again.
 

kwanfan1818

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If all of the skeletons are revealed, that will expose his cronies and make it easier to go nuclear and avoid the moles.
 

canbelto

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There';s a cruel irony here: many of these officials seem to think they were "doing this for the good of the sport." As if they rocked the boat and the French skaters wouldn't be able to skate as well. But so many of the skaters in question suffered from nerves and inconsistency and one really wonders if it would have been different had they had a federation that listened to them and cared more about their well-being. What a horrible situation all around.
 
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