SafeSport investigating Peter Oppegard

kalle

Well-Known Member
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118
I never liked the man but if this is true, it is just incredible what some coaches think they are entitled to do. On a general basis, you would almost wonder if the mental health of coaches should not somehow be monitored on a regular basis..
No matter the frustration some coaches could potentially feel towards a student, it does not allow them to behave in any inappropriate way 🙄
 

Erin

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10,427
I feel like there have been rumours going around about Oppegard and abusive coaching for years. I’m glad someone finally reported him.


Of note, the Brennan article cites Oppegard as the "estranged husband" of Karen Kwan. But this IMDB pages suggests that the couple divorced in 2017: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0477078/bio. :confused:

Not to take away from the main point of the article, but I was just going to comment on the same thing:
 

Louis

Private citizen
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15,721
Sadly, the allegations fit with a pattern.

As far back as the late 90s, Oppegard was behaving badly during public practice sessions at Nationals and other elite events. I personally observed yelling at skaters, unprofessional and angry displays of frustration with skaters, and forceful instructions to practice moves over and over, despite skaters clearly expressing they were injured/in pain, scared, and wanted to stop. There was one particular incident of increasingly scary triple twists (at least 15 in a row) that I feared would result in serious injuries. (The team broke up, and the woman retired, soon thereafter.)
 

meggonzo

Well-Known Member
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8,382
Her mother knew Oppegard bit her 15 year old daughter, even saw the bite mark, and allowed her to continue to train with him? I don't understand that.

I can see how the culture might condition parents to accept some sketchy behavior, but biting??
Stop victim blaming. Pfund left after the end of that season. They also stated in the article that they didn't want to report Oppegard to USFS because they were concerned about what might happen to Karen and their kids.
 

thvu

Usova's Apprentice
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5,244
I did not victim blame. I said I do not understand why the victim's mother allowed the coaching to continue.
Yes, putting blame on the parent is not blaming the victim.

I would say that, if aware, the parents are acting as enablers of abuse. In no way does making a comment that parents should have taken action excuse the allegations against Oppegard.

Anyone who has gone through abuse awareness training knows that these failures often happen at multiple levels, and the issues aren’t just with the perpetrators, but are usually systemic. Parents are part of that system, and in not reporting, are usually valuing something else over the safety and well-being of their children.

This is also a topic that needs to be addressed and talked about, and should not be brushed aside as “victim blaming.”
 

meggonzo

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8,382
Sorry, I didn't mean to try to brush it aside. Yes, the parents should have been more active in pulling her out of an abusive situation. I imagine there were many dynamics to the situation - like the effect on her partner (Pfund was with AJ Reiss at the time), the coaching contract, and getting funding for the next season, etc. It does seem telling that Pfund left at the end of the season and Pfund and Reiss split.
 

Erin

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10,427
Whenever these situations come up, people ask questions about the parents and why weren't they more involved, pull their child from the situation, etc. Unfortunately, that can be a distraction from discussion of the real abuser - Oppegard.

There are situations where parents can be just as/more abusive as the coach and I don't think those parents should be let off the hook, but this doesn't sound like one of those situations. Outside of that, I tend to tread a little more carefully in discussing the role of the parents. They aren't completely blameless in the situation and I think there are definitely lessons that need to be learned, but the more important thing is that coaches need to stop being abusive.
 
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PairSkater12345

Well-Known Member
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338
Every time I hear the about "Safe Sport" I think "not so safe sport". If inaction of the past continue, Peter Oppegard will get on the list of people investigated. What happened to Delilah Sappenfield and TJ Nyman? What has happened to Zimmerman and Cipres?

The wheels of justice are slow but SS was supposed to keep athletes safe.
 

pairskatingfan

Active Member
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319
Every time I hear the about "Safe Sport" I think "not so safe sport". If inaction of the past continue, Peter Oppegard will get on the list of people investigated. What happened to Delilah Sappenfield and TJ Nyman? What has happened to Zimmerman and Cipres?

The wheels of justice are slow but SS was supposed to keep athletes safe.
Well said! The interview supposedly happened months ago, has Peter been allowed to coach since?
 

Vagabond

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18,953
Sorry, I didn't mean to try to brush it aside. Yes, the parents should have been more active in pulling her out of an abusive situation. I imagine there were many dynamics to the situation - like the effect on her partner (Pfund was with AJ Reiss at the time), the coaching contract, and getting funding for the next season, etc. It does seem telling that Pfund left at the end of the season and Pfund and Reiss split.
Jessica Pfund's parents' first concern should have been for their daughter's wellbeing. Putting Peter Oppegard's children's interest above hers was inexcusable.
 
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Karen-W

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6,233
We also don't know what measures Pfund's parents took after that incident to monitor Oppegard's interactions with their daughter. The article states that her mom was not at the practice where the biting occurred. Perhaps the choice was made to let the contract run with at least one parent or adult family member (ie grandparents) at every practice to ensure that there were no further incidents. I'm hesitant to throw the parents under the bus because, from what we do know, they did not continue with him as a coach as soon as the contract expired.
 

bladesofgorey

Well-Known Member
Messages
412
It is not victim blaming to state that there is something wrong when a parent does not remove their child from a situation where they have clearly been abused. I get concern for his own children etc. but it's the least of asks that the child be immediately removed from interacting with a coach who does something like this. I give no sh!ts if the abused child's family will lose money prepaid to the abuser etc. But I guess the fact that so many people on this board think it's victim blaming to call out a parent for continuing to allow a child that's in an abusive situation remain with an abusive coach is why this keeps happening. aka Figure Skating Culture.
"Maybe they had already prepaid for a contract with him" oh ok in that case it's understandable then . WTF
 

Louis

Private citizen
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15,721
I can see how the culture might condition parents to accept some sketchy behavior, but biting??

Back in the day, I was friendly with a skating mother whose daughter moved to train with a known (and now proven) molester. I brought up the concerns, on the off chance that she didn't know, and her response was, "I'm not worried, he only molests boys." :eek:

I agree with others that the focus needs to be on stopping the abusers.

Parents sometimes get just as caught up as skaters in the "dream" and ignore obvious warning signs. I'm not a skating parent (or even a parent), but there were some things that I accepted or conveniently ignored that were absolutely wrong. I know now, I should have known then, and I feel badly that I stayed silent or in some cases even tacitly defended an abuser.

Pfund and her mother are speaking up now, and speaking on the record without anonymity, and I give them credit for that.
 

skategal

Bunny mama
Messages
7,816
If they were that concerned about his kids, they could have paid out the contract with him and still not require him to coach their daughter.

I would have been terrified to send my child back again and be wondering what would be the next escalating thing that he would do to her.
 

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