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U.S. Snowboard Cross Olympian And Coach Under Investigation For Past Harassment And Racism

U.S. Snowboard Cross Olympian And Coach Under Investigation For Past Harassment And Racism
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images; Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The USA's snowboard cross team is currently under investigation by the governing body for United States skiing and snowboarding following serious allegations against snowboarder Hagen Kearney and longtime coach of the snowboarding team, Peter Foley.

Both are participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.

The investigation was opened following serious allegations from former Olympic snowboarder Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, who participated in the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.

Chythlook-Sifsof made allegations against both Foley and Kearney in a number of posts to her Instagram page.

WARNING: NSFW language

In one post, which Chythlook-Sifsof revealed in the caption was taken down by Instagram three times for "bullying" and "nudity and sexual behavior", despite the post being text only with no visual images, she declared that she could "not watch another Olympic games without saying this publicly."

In a detailed story, she described her 9 years being on the US Snowboarding team as "toxic."

When she was 17 years old, Foley whispered lewd comments to her and another female teammate.

"One of my first impressions of head coach Peter Foley was him whispering between my and a female teammate's ear that he wanted to 'put his tongue inside her p*ssy', pointing to a very young Argentine girl on a dance floor."

Chythlook-Sifsof went on to say since his first day on the U.S. snowboarding team, Kearney would constantly use the n-word, often specifically to provoke her, even once going so far as to threaten her with physical violence.

"I said 'Hagen, if you say that one more time...'"
"He got 6 inches from my face, fake punched at me and said 'What? What are you gonna do about it.'"

Kearney's continuous use of the n-word is only one item on a list of several other instances of shocking behavior in Chythlook-Sifso's post, which included frequently making rape jokes about some of the team's female members.

Chythlook-Sifsof concluded the post by revealing there are even more serious allegations, which she did not disclose as they were "not [her] story," but emphasized that these unknown allegations should "come to light."

In another post, Chythlook-Sifsof wrote that Foley had been taking nude photographs of female athletes for over a decade.

In the post's caption, Chythlook-Sifsof went into great detail on how Foley's behavior was enabled by many of her teammates.

"I will not carry this stuff around anymore, there was bizarre behavior across the board."
"The people I’ve named have overtly behaved toxically but the truth is the culture on the team protected this behavior."
"Things have been normalized that are not okay."
"Other athletes have engaged in racist, misogynist behavior, actively participated in the strange dynamics that Peter Foley created and caused female athletes/staff to be victims of sexual violence."

Chythlook-Sifsof received support on Instagram—applauding her bravery and thanking her for coming forward with her story and speaking the truth.











A spokesperson for the governing body for U.S. skiing and snowboarding released a statement to ESPN regarding Chythlook-Sifsof's allegations.

"U.S. Ski & Snowboard has been made aware of the recent allegations."
"We take these allegations very seriously and the allegations are being investigated."

However, U.S Ski and Snowboard spokesperson Tom Horrocks declined to answer whether or not Foley would continue to coach for the remainder of the 2022 Olympics, nor did he offer any further information regarding the investigation.

Kearney, who recently finished 17th in the Snowboard cross event in Beijing, addressed the allegations against him to USA Today.

"I made a mistake years ago with my words and appropriate action was taken."
"I learned from my mistake and I’m a better person now for it."

Horrocks corroborated Kearney's statement, claiming:

"Concerns regarding Hagen were dealt with at the time and appropriate action was taken".

Foley, however, denied any truth in Chythlook-Sifsof's allegations:

"I’m super surprised by the allegations and I vehemently deny the allegations."

Kearney also issued a lengthy apology on Instagram, admitting to once using the n-word to "aggravate" Chythlook-Sifsof.

He went on to say not only was he reprimanded, but claimed he apologized to Chythlook-Sifsof and she accepted his apology.

"The coaches were promptly informed of what happened, and I faced being let go from the U.S. team."
"I finally got the chance to speak to Callan a day later to make amends."
"I apologized to profusely to her in an effort to not only own up to the horrible word I used, but to salvage our friendship."
"Callan was reluctant to accept my apology, but she did, and I was very grateful for that."

Kearney did, however, dispute several of Chythlook-Sifsof's claims, including he fake-punched her, or that he ever made rape jokes.

It's unclear whether Chythlook-Sifsof accepted Kearney's apology, however, as evidenced by a rather cryptic Instagram post she made the following day.