Callan Chythlook-Sifsof was a lone voice on the slopes when in February she posted a lengthy message on Instagram discussing racism on the US Ski & Snowboard team, as well as sexual misconduct by the team’s longtime coach, Peter Foley.
Following her post and exclusive interview with Outsports, her claims were corroborated by several other women who detailed their alleged experiences with Foley that included sexual misconduct.
Within weeks, US Ski & Snowboard opened an investigation. SafeSport, which is a government-sponsored organization overseeing the safety of athletes in sports, also opened an investigation and suspended Foley. Even the United States Senate got involved. By late March, Foley was let go as the coach of US Ski & Snowboard after a decades-long career.
For her courage sharing her experiences and exposing alleged misconduct by a coach, as well as empowering other women to do the same, Callan Chythlook-Sifsof is Outsports’ 2022 Female Hero of the Year.
To understand the gravity of what Chythlook-Sifsof chose to do, you have to understand who Foley is. He was the most powerful man in all of skiing and snowboarding in the United States when Chythlook-Sifsof chose to make her public accusations last February.
The response from people around Foley was swift. Allegations against Chythlook-Sifsof at the time were personal and cruel, claiming she was simply bitter that she simply didn’t make more U.S. national teams, and that this was some kind of retaliation. They questioned the timing of her allegations.
Some people reported her Instagram post as inappropriate, and Instagram removed her claims. She repeatedly reposted them, and Instagram repeatedly removed them until they ultimately allowed the claims to remain.
Outsports has corroborated this claim with another woman associated with U.S. Ski & Snowboard, who herself said she was the subject and target of Foley’s photographs and sexual advances.
Chythlook-Sifsof was attacked by male members of the US Ski & Snowboard team, as well as other male members of the snowboard community. Outsports’ reporting was also attacked.
The wagons circled around Foley at the Olympics.
Chythlook-Sifsof didn’t back down, giving space for other women to share their own personal experiences of alleged sexual misconduct by Foley.
Since then, Foley’s boss, Jeremy Forster, has resigned, and the position of Foley’s colleague, freeskiing and snowboard head coach Mike Jankowski, has been eliminated.
The investigation is ongoing. And none of it would have happened without the bold step by this gay woman from Alaska.
Anyone with information about alleged sexual misconduct by Foley, or any other coach in the United States, is encouraged to contact the U.S. Center for SafeSport.