The 28-year-old American elite skater, Ashley Wagner, who has taken a break from figure skating at the pyramid of success, recalls a horrifying incident that happened with her in her tender years.
Ashley Wagner is a German-born American Olympic medallist skater. She is a three-time U.S National champion, who was the winner of the Olympic bronze medal in 2014 in a team event along with the holder of World silver medal in 2016.
About Ashley Wagner
The three-time U.S National skating champion born in 1991 is the only daughter of her parents. Born to a U.S Army veteran, Ashley started skating at the age of 5 in Alaska and soon won her first gold medal in the very first competition she participated in.
Watching Tara Lipinski winning a gold medal at the 1998 Olympics gave her the motivation and a dream to compete in the Olympics and won one for her country too. With her sheer tenacity, she qualified into U.S Junior Figure Skating Championships in the year 2002-03 and was placed 17th at the intermediate level. She was qualified for her first U.S Championships in 2004-05. With the bronze medal at Junior Worlds in 2006-07, she made her senior debut nationally and internationally.
With several achievements in her kitty, she finally achieved her dream of representing her country in the Olympics and won a Bronze medal for her team. Wagner is regarded as one of the most successful American athletes in her decorated career that spanned over more than a decade where she registered prestigious reigning titles under her name including the 2012 Four Continents champion, a three-time Grand Prix Final medalist and a Five Grand Prix events winner.
The horrifying incident of Sexual Assault by fellow John Coughlin.
In a video and essay published in US Today, Ashley opens up about one painful and dreadful chapter of her life. She was sexually assaulted in 2008 in Colorado by her fellow U.S skater, John Coughlin, when she was 17.
Recalling the incident of the horrifying night, she says that she had gone to a party only to have fun with her friends. Post the party; she decided to fall asleep because she thought it was safe for her to sleep until John Coughlin shattered her illusion. He climbed to her bed that night and started kissing and groping her. Ashley, who was just 17, couldn’t register what was happening as she held Coughlin in high regard. Clueless about the situation, she hoped for him to go away, but he didn’t and continued to torment her when she caught his hand and told him to stop.
Like many young girls, even Ashley thought it was her fault and remained in guilt for years because she wasn’t explained about consent. She didn’t have any knowledge, and she thought it would harm her growing career as she believed no one would listen to her, would rather only blame her. She further tells that the #MeToo movement gave her the courage to come out in the open about the sexual assault that has haunted her for years.
John Coughlin is a two-time U.S pair Champion who committed suicide in January this year at the age of 33 after he was suspended from US Figure Skating on the charges of abuse and assault.
It must be noted that Ashley is not the first one to levy sexual assault accusation on Coughlin, Bridget Namiotka in a Facebook post, had accused him of assaulting her for two years when she was 14.
Praising Ashley’s Courage and expressing her disgust, US Figure Skating spokeswoman Barbara Reichert said that what happened to Ashley should not happen to anyone, period.
It’s extremely saddening and shameful to know what these girls were put through at a very young age. Morning Picker applauds them for mustering enough courage to open these haunting chapters of their lives and for empowering other women who go through the same but keep mum due to pressure.
Social Media Influencer
Ashley, who has taken a break from competitive figure skating, is venturing as Social Media Influencer now. The elite skater is very active on Instagram (@ashwagner2010), Twitter (@AshWagner2010), and Facebook. Wagner, who describes herself as an ice-cream enthusiast and donut aficionado, has 208K+ followers on Instagram and 119K Twitter followers. She made a post on her Instagram page about her story:
View this post on Instagram
Believe women. In 2008 I was sexually assaulted. I didn’t understand what happened to me or what it really meant. I feel so strongly that people need to talk more about these experiences, that they need to have a bright light turned on the dark corners where they thrive. This happens all too often to both men and women, and we need to do better for our next generation. Talk about this, make this feel real so that we can help out those who need it! Read more about my story in the link in my bio 💕