"The Skating Lesson", an online podcast about the inner workings of competitive figure skating, recently deleted several videos from their YouTube Channel and all social media handles. After scouring the crowded communities of Reddit and Twitter, a few commenters said that the reason behind the sudden disappearance was that the podcast's hosts were receiving death threats after releasing information about a sexual misconduct case.
John Coughlin was a two-time U.S. pairs champion and former Olympian when allegations were directed towards him. Last December, Coughlin was temporarily suspended by the US Center for SafeSport, an Olympic-related organization that governs over sexual misconduct and other abuse violations. "The Skating Lesson", acting as the usual go-to source for figure skating news, posted public information about the investigation on social media, illustrating the tragic significance of abuse in Olympic sports. The figure skating world was scandalized after award-winning sports journalist, Christine Brennan, wrote article after article about the case.
On January 18th, Coughlin took his own life. His death coincided with the start of the U.S. Championships, one of the biggest events for domestic figure skaters. Mourners expressed how the allegations were deeply affecting Coughlin's mental state during the month of his suspension, claiming that the majority of the investigation was founded upon false information. Commenters said that The Skating Lesson had to cancel their trip to the U.S. Championships, as death threats were quickly piling up.
The cancellation of "The Skating Lesson" was also a shock to the figure skating community. The podcast was a smart and sassy outlet for dedicated fans. Their YouTube channel had dozens of interviews with important figures, with each podcast episode being over an hour long.
In this current period of popular culture, figure skating is on the decline. NBC rarely broadcasts competitions and television specials as they once did during the post-Tonya and Nancy era. "The Skating Lesson" was a detail-oriented source and built a community for those still hungry after Tara and Johnny fluffy banter. The podcast was massively analytical and knowledgeable about figure skating history, making references every now and then. With the podcast's sudden disappearance, figure skating fans are left without their go-to source for gossip and accurate analysis.