Speed Skating Canada has fired the head coach of Canada’s long-track speedskating team.
Michael Crowe went on a leave of absence a month before the Pyeongchang Olympics while the organization conducted an internal investigation. He did not accompany the Canadian team to South Korea.
Speed Skating Canada didn’t specify the nature of its investigation. Former American speedskaters alleged in January that Crowe had sexual relationships with some skaters while he was a U.S. coach.
The 64-year-old from Butte, Mont., was a coach on the American team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 1999 to 2006.
Crowe began working with the Canadian team based at the Olympic Oval in Calgary in 2007. He was promoted to head coach in 2015.
Speed Skating Canada said Friday in a statement that Crowe was dismissed after the organization concluded its investigation in mid-March.
The organization’s code of conduct, which has been in place since 1999, states that coaches must ”at no time become intimately and/or sexually involved with their athletes. This includes requests for sexual favours or threat of reprisal for the rejection of such requests.”
SSC chief executive officer Susan Auch, a two-time Olympic silver medallist, would not say whether Crowe had violated the organization’s code of conduct.
“I can’t speak to the specifics of Mr. Crowe’s investigation. What I can say is his action was not consistent with SSC values,” Auch told The Canadian Press.
“I can’t say specifically which values and policies, but those were taken into account when the decision was made, and the decision was made fairly quickly as soon as we received the report results.
“The decision was made entirely based on communication from our Canadian athletes and coaches.”
Messages left with Crowe were not immediately returned.
Auch was voted president of SSC in 2016 and moved out of that position into chief executive officer last year.
The organization is in the process of hiring a new head coach for the long-track team, and Auch said candidates will be intensively vetted.
“This was a hire that was done a decade ago,” she said of Crowe, before adding: “The most important thing is the environment that our athletes, coaching staff and volunteers get to participate in. It needs to be an atmosphere of security and respect and professionalism.
“We will do everything we can to find out whatever we can about anybody that is coming onto our staff.”
The Canadian Press