New York Court Examines Decision To Suspend Olympic Coach

Jan 12, 2006

A New York Supreme Court has ordered the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation to show cause why Skeleton coach Tim Nardiello should not be reinstated after the Federation placed him on paid administrative leave last week amid allegations that he had sexually harassed members of the U.S. team.
The legal maneuvering comes just weeks before the Winter Olympics are to be held in Turin, Italy.
The accusations, which were first made after Nardiello was hired in 2002, became public after the alleged victims became dissatisfied with the response of Federation interim executive director Robie Vaughn. Specifically, Vaughn said Nardiello could remain coach through the Olympics, but would then resign three days after the games. In a letter, Vaughn wrote: “The last thing our athletes currently need is a change in coaching and the related distraction associated with this.”
But Jim Scherr, the chief executive of the United States Olympic Committee, was drawn into the affair and promised a more thorough investigation. “These are extremely serious allegations and will be treated as such,” Scherr told the New York Times. “We’re going to send someone to interview the athletes, and we will move on this quickly.”
One of those accusers is Felicia Canfield, who did not make the Olympic team.
Canfield, who also happens to be the wife of federation board member Brady Canfield, gave the following account of Nadiello’s behavior:
“Many times at the start line of a race, waiting for the light to turn green, Tim would look me up and down and comment how good I looked in my speedsuit. He has even patted my butt. I would have preferred to focus on my race. He has tried to kiss me on the lips, but I have turned my cheek. I, along with a dozen other athletes, have heard Tim say over the radio, ‘The only time I want to see your legs spread like that is if I am between them.’”
Nardiello, a two-time Olympian in luge, said the grievances were coming from athletes who did not make the Olympic team. The only woman who has secured an Olympic berth is Katie Uhlaender.
“I’ve been working for four years and never had any problem at all, and six weeks out from the Olympics, and this is going on?” he told the Times. “Unfortunately, this will hurt the entire U.S. team.”


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