Olympic bronze medalist and figure skating coach Peter Oppegard is being investigated by the U.S. Center for SafeSport for his actions towards skaters, USA Today reported on Thursday. The allegations being looked into include Oppegard biting skaters and throwing hot drinks on them, according to the report. The investigation has been ongoing since July of 2020.
He allegedly bit 15-year-old figure skater Jessica Pfund in 2013, according to Pfund, the skater's mother and someone who was at the rink that day. They say there was a bite mark on her arm after the alleged incident.
Here's what Pfund told USA Today Sports:
"He was helping to position me on the ice to show me a landing position on a jump. Both of his hands were holding me, and he leaned over and bit me on the skin on my upper right arm, near the bicep."
Pfund then allegedly told her mother not to mention anything about the biting incident, claiming that things only got worse whenever something was brought up.
"Every time she would try [to say something], everything would get worse with him, our lessons and the criticism would get worse," she said.
Two people that witnessed his actions but asked to stay anonymous told USA Today that on multiple occasions he would throw hot water and coffee on skaters. These incidents reportedly took place at East West Ice Palace in Artesia, Calif. Oppegard worked at that location from 2005 to 2018.
With news of the investigation, U.S. Figure Skating released a statement to USA Today Sports:
"U.S. Figure Skating supports all victims of abuse and misconduct and encourages anyone who has been abused or suspects abuse or misconduct to immediately report it to local law enforcement," the statement read.
Before getting into coaching, Oppegard was an Olympic skate. Oppegard and his former pairs partner Jill Watson are the last Americans to win an Olympic medal in pairs figure skating and were inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2004.