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Former Figure Skating Champion John Coughlin Dies By Suicide

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Two-time U.S. figure skating pairs champion John Coughlin died by suicide on Friday at the age of 33, according to a Facebook post from his sister, and later confirmed by Kansas City police.

Coughlin, 33, won the U.S. pairs title in 2011 and 2012 and competed in two world championships.

Coughlin’s death follows his suspension from the sport on Thursday. Though he no longer competed, Coughlin served as a skating coach and commentator. Coughlin was initially restricted from participating in December, pending an investigation conducted by The U.S. Center for SafeSport, a nonprofit organization that looks into sexual assault and abuse allegations.

After the investigation was made public, Coughlin resigned from his post as U.S. brand manager for John Wilson Blades, a skating blade company. SafeSport changed the restriction to a suspension on Thursday, and U.S. Figure Skating followed suit, banning him from all matters related to the sport including providing commentary at the national figure skating championships next week.

“While I wish I could speak freely about the unfounded allegations levied against me, the SafeSport rules prevent me from doing so since the case remains pending,” Coughlin told USA TODAY on Jan. 7. “I note only that the SafeSport notice of allegation itself stated that an allegation in no way constitutes a finding by SafeSport or that there is any merit to the allegation.”

If this news is hard for you, know you are not alone — and there is help for people who feel suicidal. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

Originally published: January 19, 2019
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