2 more Edmonton coaches suspended after complaints; Champions Gymnastics also suspended
The wife and daughter of a suspended gymnastics coach also face suspension pending completion of an internal investigation by the sport’s governing body in Canada.
Valerie Oudin and Sara Stafford of the Champions Gymnastics Club in Edmonton were given provisional suspensions by Gymnastics Canada on Monday after the organization received written formal complaints.
The Alberta Gymnastics Federation (AGF) followed up with reciprocal temporary suspensions on Wednesday.
In a letter to parents, AGF explained that anyone partaking in activities at Champions Gymnastics is not insured under AGF until the suspension is lifted.
“Athlete well-being and safety is of utmost importance to the Alberta Gymnastics Federation,” the AGF said in a statement posted on its website. “With that in mind, AGF placed the club membership of Champions Gymnastics, Edmonton, Alta., under administrative suspension on Thursday, Jan. 31.”
The federation said the suspension of Champions was administrative in nature, “pending the completion of an investigation into multiple formal written complaints made with Gymnastics Canada, and multiple informal complaints made with AGF, regarding multiple coaches and operators of the club and alleging conduct that constitutes serious violations of Gymnastics Canada’s ethics and code of conduct policies, and AGF’s policies and procedures.”
The AGF said that until the suspension is lifted, operations of Champions Gymnastics are not sanctioned or covered by any AGF policies or the provided insurance program.
“One of the benefits of being a member of a provincial organization is the group insurance — the beneficial rates and so on,” Gymnastics Canada CEO Ian Moss told Global News on Friday night. “Clearly, in most cases, if you’re a member in good standing then you come under that umbrella. It doesn’t stop a club from getting other insurance and so that’s at the wish of each club, depending on what they need for insurance.
“It can be an expensive proposition to go out on your own.”
“AGF would like to remind all members that they are not only encouraged to report instances of non-compliance with or infraction of Gymnastics Canada’s code of conduct or AGF policies and procedures, but that they have a duty to report any conduct that they may witness that may indicate that the health or well-being of an athlete or member may be at risk, or that may amount to an offence, at anytime,” the AGF said.
Michel Arsenault, Oudin’s husband, was suspended in 2017 over allegations that he sexually abused at least three gymnasts in Quebec when they were minors in the 1980s and early ’90s.
The suspensions are the latest blow against a sport facing some trouble in Canada.
Earlier in January, coach Elizabeth Brubaker was provisionally suspended after complaints about her conduct.
Her husband Dave Brubaker, the former director of the women’s national gymnastics team, has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation in an ongoing criminal trial.
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