Abuse Victim Katherine Starr Launches Safe4Athletes
She still holds Wisconsin swimming records for 13- and 14-year-old girls 30 years after setting them, but Katherine Starr has surrendered much in her life — innocence, Olympic dreams, even the name she was born with. The daughter of English emigrants, Annabelle Cripps was raped by her head coach at age 14, two years before competing for Great Britain in the first of two Olympic Games. Sacrificing her training regimen to avoid further contact with Paul Hickson, who would serve 17 years in prison after abusing several girls and women he coached, Cripps turned in what she describes as "horrible" Olympic performances in both 1984 and '88. Six years ago, with life as Annabelle Cripps getting harder to live, she changed her name and her outlook. This past January, Starr launched Safe4Athletes, an organization that sets policies and procedures for sports administrators to implement at the local level. Safe4Athletes (www.safe4athletes.org) will then investigate reports of policy violations and post online the names of violators, with the goal of eventually weeding from the coaching ranks those who engage in questionable — if not criminal — behavior. Paul Steinbach asked Starr to bring us up to speed.
Q: Where did the idea behind Safe4Athletes originate?
Q: How does Safe4Athletes change that dynamic?
Q: What's expected of the coaches themselves?
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