During last March at Mexico Open, one of the athletes of the National Federation of Puerto Rico used the services of an American coach with last name Song who is temporarily suspended due to current investigation against him for sexual misconduct, as posted on the official website of US Taekwondo (USAT) suspension list.
However, up to this day the National Federation of Puerto Rico, denies the American coach as part of his team and says that the athlete named Stambaugh, who was coached by Song in Mexico Open event, received a verbal reprimand.
“(…) Song is not and never has been considered a national coach. He is Victoria Stambaugh’s personal coach in Texas, where she resides. She took him to the Mexico Open as a coach. She was verbally reprimanded by me personally” Elvin Landreau, president of the National Federation of Puerto Rico, said via text message to MasTKD.
For her part, Stambaugh completely dissociated herself from any sport relationship with Song and said that he was never her coach. She refused to answer whether or not she knew about Song’s suspension, despite we asked her about it on three consecutive moments via text.
“Young In Bang is my personal coach and has been since the fall of 2016,” Stambaugh answered, omitting that Song was coaching her at Mexico Open last March.
The case of this young and talented Puerto Rican athlete, Song, and the false detachment of the National Federation of Puerto Rico only exposes the weak communication in Taekwondo with the licenses control and permits for coaches.
The affirmation of the previous paragraph is reinforced by the answers of the Pan-American World Taekwondo (PATU) president Ji Ho Choi, and the crossover versions with USAT (USA Taekwondo) president, Steve McNally.
“PATU never heard about this case (Song’s suspension). We never received any suspension from USAT or WT (World Federation). I am sure that the Organizing Committee of Mexico Open did not know this. (…) Song is registered as a member of the GMS 2018 (Global Membership System) of WT and his coaching license was validated for us, which gives him the right to coach in all official events” Choi replied to MasTKD.
McNally was more reserved in his answer via email, which replied saying “Song is temporarily suspended by USAT and the US SafeSport Center and pending for future procedures.”
The suspension of Song was effective on January 2nd, 2018, according to the list posted on USAT website, but even so, the Taekwondo coach was able to leave his country and coach in official events, two months after the USAT ´s suspension.
According to the report presented in SafeSport, Song is being investigated for sexual misconduct with a minor who was his student. The case remains under investigation, so it would be wrong to say that he is guilty.
This is not the first time that the continental or global authorities omitted a sexual misconduct report or suspension in Taekwondo Sports.
During Rio 2016, the Lopez brothers traveled to Brazil to compete at the Olympic Games. During that time, the two brothers were already under investigation by USAT and USOC (US Olympic Committee), but according to US Today, both of the Lopez were able to represent United States, because the authorities omitted to notify the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the WT.
To this day, the Lopez brothers are already on the USAT suspension’s list. Jean was included on the list last April 3rd, suspended indefinitely by WT and PATU and Steven was included on May 8th, not allowing them to compete or coach for now.
Both Steven and Jean Lopez denied categorically having any of the sexual misconduct acts for which they are accused.
Journalists’ Note: This article was updated with in the context of the Lopez´s participations during Rio Olympic games 2016. The change was due to a human mistake when publishing the article.
Esteban Mora & Claudio Aranda, MasTKD.com
Translation: Jesús Martínez.