#MeToo Hits Elite Sports : It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders It's Tuesday: Sam talks to speed skater Bridie Farrell. Her mentor, former Olympian Andy Gabel, sexually abused her when she was a teenager. Sam also talks to journalist Alexandra Starr about the unique ways elite sports can groom children to be victims of abuse.
NPR logo

#MeToo Hits Elite Sports

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/648879063/648979848" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
#MeToo Hits Elite Sports

#MeToo Hits Elite Sports

#MeToo Hits Elite Sports

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/648879063/648979848" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Speed skater Bridie Farrell testifies before a Congressional committee on Capitol Hill regarding protecting Olympic athletes who have been sexual abused. Farrell was in Washington, D.C., on April 18, 2018. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Speed skater Bridie Farrell testifies before a Congressional committee on Capitol Hill regarding protecting Olympic athletes who have been sexual abused. Farrell was in Washington, D.C., on April 18, 2018.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Bridie Farrell was fifteen when she met her idol, Andy Gabel. He was a 33-year old Olympian, a "skating god" to her, and she was a young, promising speed skater in upstate New York. Gabel quickly became her mentor, offering her rides to the rink and giving her pointers.

One day, Gabel kissed Farrell. Years of sexual abuse followed, all under wraps from her family and friends. Farrell came forward with her story five and a half years ago. She is part of a flood of athlete victims who have come forward to share their stories of abuse and manipulation, most notably the USA Gymnastics team who suffered abuse from the team doctor, Larry Nassar.

Sam talked to Farrell about how her life was impacted by the abuse. He also talked to journalist Alexandra Starr who covers sexual abuse in sports for NPR and Harper's Magazine. Starr describes how the world of elite sports creates dynamics where athletes can easily be abused.

Anjuli Sastry and Jordana Hochman produced and edited this episode for broadcast. Kumari Devarajan adapted the episode for the Web.