Who was John Coughlin? Former U.S. champ remembered fondly by some skaters

Eight years ago, a figure skater who used to say he looked more like a linebacker brought a national championship audience to its feet by honoring his late mother with a stirring performance of “Ave Maria” to win the first of his two U.S. pairs titles.

Today, on the eve of another U.S. national championship, that skater, John Coughlin, is gone, having taken his own life Friday in his father’s home in Kansas City.

At the time of his death, Coughlin, 33, was facing three reports of sexual misconduct filed against him with the U.S. Center for SafeSport. Two of the reports involved minors, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to talk publicly about the matter. Coughlin’s death came one day after SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating suspended him.

In an email to USA TODAY Jan. 7, Coughlin called the allegations against him “unfounded.”

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