Andrew Alexander "Andy" Gabel (born December 23, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois) is a four-time, short track speedskating U.S. Olympian (1988, 1992, 1994, 1998) and holds a silver medal as a member of the 1994 5000 meter Short Track relay team.[1]

Gabel was also noted as a member of the National Short Track Team for the longest in U.S. Speedskating history in either Long or Short Track.[1]

In 2013, Gabel was accused of, and to a degree acknowledged, improper sexual relations with two female skaters in the Olympic speedskating program, both aged 15 and respectively 18 and 11 years his junior at the times of the beginnings of the relationships. As a result of the accusations, Gabel resigned from the International Skating Union (ISU) and U.S. Speedskating.[2]

Personal life

Gabel grew up in Northbrook, Illinois, and is the son of Andy Gabel, Sr., and Evie Gabel. He has one brother and three sisters.[3]

Gabel attended Glenbrook North High School, and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Marquette University.[4]

Speedskating career

Gabel was a member of the National Short Track Team from 1979 to 1998, the longest in U.S. Speedskating history in either Long or Short Track; he was also a member of the National Long Track Team from 1981 to 1989.[1] Gabel won over 75 international medals as a member of the World Short Track Team from 1987 to 1998.[1] He also competed in 12 World Championships.[4]

At the 1994 Lillehammer Games, Gabel won a silver medal as a member of the 5000 meter Short Track relay team, skating the fastest leg in the relay.[3]

In 1994, Gabel was elected to the U.S. Speedskating's 15-member governing Board of Directors as an athlete representative.[1] He was elected as the Office of Vice President in 1999 and became the sixth President in 2002, succeeding Fred Benjamin.[5] Gabel negotiated sponsorship agreements with ADT and Qwest, during his tenure as President.[4]

Gabel secured his Olympic Team spot during the 1998 Olympic trials in Lake Placid, NY by winning the 1000-meter and 500-meter heats, including the final 500-meter heat in 43.032 seconds, beating the old U.S. mark of 43.250 set in 1996 by Scott Koons of Cleveland, OH.[6] The Associated Press called a 33-year-old Gabel "something of a geriatric marvel in a sport that now normally is dominated by much younger skaters."[6]

During the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, Gabel and Amy Peterson, the last American prospects for a medal in short track speedskating, were eliminated in the semifinals; Gabel, called "Grandpa" or "the Godfather" by his younger teammates, was knocked out in the men's 500 meter race after clipping a lane marker and tumbling into the padded boards.[7]

Three-time Olympic medalist Peterson fell behind in the women's 1000 meter semifinal heat; that year, the U.S. Olympic team received 13 medals, matching the record set in Lillehammer.[7]

For the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Andy was the Director of Figure Skating and Short Track speedskating.[1]

Gabel served as a member of the ISU Short Track World Cup Management Commission from 1998 to 2002, and is presently the Chairman of the ISU Short Track Technical Committee.[1]

On April 26, 2003, at Anaheim, CA, Gabel was elected to the speedskating hall of fame.[1]

Sexual conduct

In late February 2013, speedskater Bridie Farrell, 31, "allege[d] 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 [Chicago] Tribune in a statement ... that he had a 'brief, inappropriate relationship with a female teammate', made no excuses for his behavior and apologized to her for it". Farrell, whose accusations were first publicly aired on Milwaukee public radio station WUWM, had informed the U.S. Olympic Committee what had happened the day before the public statement. Farrell, who said "neither rape nor sexual intercourse had taken place", said she appreciated the apology from Gabel but 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." USOC CEO Scott Blackmun "said he was glad [Farrell] chose to tell her story because it would help others in similar circumstances hear they are not alone". Farrell said, "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. ... Maybe it is finally time for true, true change."[8]

In early March 2013, Gabel resigned from the International Skating Union and U.S. Speedskating.[2]

Also in early March 2013, a second report emerged. Having heard of Farrell's experience, "Nikki Meyer, who was known by her maiden name of Nikki Ziegelmeyer when she won short track relay medals for the U.S. at the Albertville and Lillehammer Games," accused Gabel of raping her soon after she joined the Olympic training program, summer 1991. She described the alleged attack and ensuing three-year relationship in explicit detail and said, "... He’s a child molester ... rapist ... sexual abuser [and] ... pedophile". Gabel acknowledged "he made mistakes during his skating career, but strongly denied forcing himself on anyone". Meyer said she was not sure if she would "pursue criminal charges" or if she even could "because of the possible statute of limitations". But she hoped Gabel would receive "a lifetime ban from U.S. Speedskating and [removal] from the ... Hall of Fame".[2]

U.S. Speedskating said in a statement it "will not tolerate abuse of any kind [and], through a referral from the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Safe Sport program", it hired the law firm Sidley Austin LLP "to investigate all accusations involving Gabel".[2]

Olympic Record
Men's Speedskating Competitor for the United States
Rank Olympic Games Event
Also Completed / Disqualified 1992 Albertville 1000 m
14 1994 Lillehammer 500 m
9 1994 Lillehammer 1000 m
2 1994 Lillehammer 5000 m relay
7 1998 Nagano 500 m
4 1998 Nagano 1000 m
6 1998 Nagano 5000 m Relay

Off the Ice

Gabel was also Principal and Client Relationship Officer for Barclays Global Investors.[4]

In August 2004, he joined The Bonham Group, a Denver-based sports marketing company;[9] he was responsible for new business development, business planning and budgeting.[10]

Gabel has also been a commentator for various short track speedskating events on ABC's Wide World of Sports, ESPN and the Outdoor Life Network.[10] Most recently he served as commentator and analyst for short track events at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.[11]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Speedskating Hall of Fame. "Speed Skaters Elected to the Speedskating Hall of Fame."
  2. ^ a b c d "AP NewsBreak: 2-time Olympic medalist says she was raped at age 15; Andy Gabel issues denial", AP via Washington Post, March 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-13.
  3. ^ a b CNN/SI – 1998 Nagano Olympics. Athlete profile: "Andy Gabel"(1998-02-03).
  4. ^ a b c d Hoover's People. "Andy Gabel, Vice President of Management."
  5. ^ ESPN.com."Gabel named new U.S. speedskating president."
  6. ^ a b Kekis, John (1998-01-13). "The Augusta Chronicle Online".
  7. ^ a b Newberry, Paul (1998-02-21). Washingtonpost.com. ""Americans Eliminated in Short Track".
  8. ^ Hersh, Philip, "Farrell grateful for Gabel apology but wants him out of all sports", Chicago Tribune, March 02, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
  9. ^ Proctor, Cathy (2009-01-08). Denver Business Journal. "Denver's Bonham Group shuts doors."
  10. ^ a b Andy Gabel, Vice President of Management."
  11. ^ NBC (February 9, 2010). "NBC Announces Talent Roster For Vancouver Olympic Winter Games" Press release. Retrieved on 2010-3-1.

External links