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[ICE TIME] Takeshi Honda and Miki Ando Deny Allegations of Harassment at Skating School

An unhappy parent is alleged to have filed a complaint with the Japan Skating Federation over the treatment of their child, according to a magazine story.

The words of one of Japan's most prominent skating coaches ring true as another manufactured "scandal" surfaces.

As longtime coach Mie Hamada told Ice Time in an interview many years ago, "The most important thing is controlling the parents."

Hamada's remarks remain true to this day.

The seemingly never-ending string of complaints against authority figures that have become commonplace in sports almost everywhere have now reached into the world of Japanese skating.

An unhappy parent is alleged to have filed a complaint with the Japan Skating Federation over the treatment of their child. The parent’s claims were against two-time world bronze medalist Takeshi Honda and two-time world champion Miki Ando, according to a recent story published in the weekly magazine Shukan Shincho.

"The content of the accusation was that the guidance of Mr Honda and Miss Ando was inappropriate," the story read.

Honda, who coaches at Kansai University's rink in Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, is accused by anonymous parents of moral harassment and opaque billing charges for services rendered in the story.

The 42-year-old Honda and the 35-year-old Ando, who occasionally coaches with Honda at the rink, both denied any wrongdoing in the lengthy piece. Shukan Shincho featured the article in its June 1 edition of the magazine and teased it on the cover.

Ice Time covered both Honda and Ando during their competitive days. After dealing with them numerous times over the years, Ice Time has never detected any kind of behavior that would align with the claims made in the story.

Takeshi Honda sits next to skating pupil Marin Honda at Skate Canada in October 2019. (ⒸSANKEI)

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Details from the Skating Article

According to the piece, Honda coaches a team of approximately 30 students ranging from elementary school to university age. They are students at the rink where Hamada once coached. 

In addition to having skated in two Olympics (Nagano, Salt Lake City), Honda also provides television commentary during events each season.

One of the claims made in the piece is "there is a big difference in treatment depending on the student."

This is a common refrain from skating parents who don't seem to understand that skaters with higher skill levels are going to draw more attention from elite coaches than those who are not as advanced. It has nothing to do with bias.

The charges made in the story seem to arise from the fantasy world where everyone, everywhere, is treated equally. In theory that is an altruistic ideal, but it is not rooted in reality.

Another allegation in the Shukan Shincho article is that children who are not obedient to Mr Honda are looked down upon. In addition, the children of parents who express their opinions receive less favorable treatment.

Miki Ando skates on April 1 during the opening ceremony of the renovated Ovision Ice Arena Fukuoka. (KYODO)

Honda, Ando Respond to Allegations

"It is completely unfounded," Honda told Shukan Shincho of the claims in the piece. "There is no neglect or verbal abuse, and the people who say 'discriminated against' are talking about some kids who aren't motivated." 

He added, "Recently, I have been trying to keep details of my lessons, and the cost of training camps is not too high."

Honda also fired a shot across the bow of the anonymous folks leveling the allegations, indicating he may take legal action in response to their claims.

"I know who is making those accusations. But I'm the one who is being harassed, and I want to sue them," Honda was quoted as saying.

Ando, the first woman to land a quadruple jump in international competition (in 2002) and also a two-time Olympian (Turin, Vancouver), also stated that the claims made against her were baseless.

"I don't say anything that hurts the students," Ando was quoted as saying in the story.

She added, "I got a choreography fee, but I taught them for hours. I take it seriously with my parents."

Ice Time reached out to both Honda and Ando for additional comments, but has not received a response from either.

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RELATED:


Janet Lynn

Olympic Medalist Lynn to Make Rare Public Appearance

Janet Lynn, the bronze medalist at the 1972 Sapporo Olympics who became a big star in Japan after the Winter Games, will appear at the Midway Village Museum in Rockford, Illinois, on June 10. She will discuss her career in an event open to the public, it was announced recently.

Tickets to hear Lynn, who grew up in Rockford, speak can be purchased at:
https://www.midwayvillage.com/midway-events.html

Lynn, now 70, was a two-time world medalist, a two-time Olympian, and a five-time US champion in an illustrious career. She also won the World Professional Championship twice (1973, 1983). The first of those competitions was held in Tokyo due to Lynn's popularity here. It was organized by legendary two-time Olympic champion and promoter Dick Button.

Lynn's name still resonates in Japan to this day, more than 50 years after the Sapporo Games.

Since her retirement from pro competitions and show skating, Lynn has remained mostly out of the limelight while focusing on raising her five children.

If you are in the Rockford area, Ice Time recommends attending this event to hear one of the true skating stars of yesteryear talk about her career in person.


Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on Twitter @sportsjapan.

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