Bridie Farrell, whose allegations of sexual misconduct by three-time Olympic speedskater Andy Gabel more than a decade ago came to light last week, said Saturday she appreciated Gabel's "honesty in coming forward" to apologize for his actions.
She also wants him banned from further association with any sports.
"The apology is appreciated, but it doesn't negate the action or the repercussions that need to take place," Farrell told the Tribune in a telephone interview.
"Mr. Gabel and others like him need to be removed and banned from coaching, officiating, serving on the board or being members of individual sports halls of fame."
Farrell, 31, alleges she was 15 when she and Gabel, then in his 30s and a teammate, first had improper sexual contact that she said occurred multiple times in 1997 and 1998.
Gabel told the Tribune in a statement Friday that he had a "brief, inappropriate relationship with a female teammate," made no excuses for his behavior and apologized to her for it.
Gabel, 48, grew up in the Chicago suburbs and was US Speedskating president from 2002-06, remaining on the organization's board of directors until 2010. He is currently the International Skating Union short-track committee chair and a member of US Speedskating's Hall of Fame committee.
USS spokeswoman Tamara Castellano said Saturday the board of directors would vote Monday to determine whether Gabel would remain on the Hall of Fame committee. Castellano added that US Speedskating was opening an investigation "into the allegations brought forward by Bridie Farrell … and any other allegations that surface as a result of this."
Asked if Gabel should be removed from his ISU position, Farrell replied: "Adults who abuse children should not have access to children. They shouldn't be allowed in the skating rink, they shouldn't be allowed in the gym, they shouldn't be allowed on the soccer fields, the softball fields."
Messages to the ISU seeking comment Friday and Saturday were not returned.
Farrell said she had not talked to anyone about what happened at the time because "I'm a kid, and he's a god in speedskating."
Farrell, who told the Tribune neither rape nor sexual intercourse had taken place, contacted the U.S. Olympic Committee on Monday to inform it of what had happened. In a statement Friday to the Tribune, USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun said he was glad she chose to tell her story because it would help others in similar circumstances hear they are not alone.
"For me to receive a phone call from Scott at the USOC meant the world to me, not because he was calling me but because maybe the U.S. Olympic Committee is understanding the amount of devastation this wreaks within our sport," Farrell said. "Maybe it is finally time for true, true change."
Farrell, whose allegations first were aired and published Thursday via Milwaukee radio station WUWM-FM 89.7, said she had heard since then from people inside and outside the sport about other instances of similar situations they endured as children.
"Believe me, it's a huge thing to come out and say this publicly," she said.
Farrell, a 2008 graduate of Cornell and a life insurance company representative in New York, left the sport in 2006 but began a comeback late last year. She skated the 1,500 meters Saturday in an American Cup long-track event at the 2002 Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah, finishing 17th in a personal-best time of 2 minutes, 7.61 seconds.
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