U.S. Rowing Rescinds Ted Nash’s Honors After Abuse Investigation (2024)

U.S.|U.S. Rowing Rescinds Ted Nash’s Honors After Abuse Investigation




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A law firm examining accusations that Ted Nash sexually abused Jennifer Fox — when she was 13 and he was her 40-year-old running coach — found that her claims were credible.

U.S. Rowing Rescinds Ted Nash’s Honors After Abuse Investigation (1)

By Juliet Macur

A 16-month investigation made public on Tuesday determined that child sexual abuse accusations against Ted Nash, a two-time Olympic medalist and nine-time Olympic coach for the United States who had mythic status in his sport over decades, were credible and that his main accuser had no motive to lie about the abuse.

The 154-page report by the law firm Shearman & Sterling, which U.S. Rowing, the sport’s governing body in the United States, asked to examine claims against Mr. Nash, found that Jennifer Fox, now 64 and a filmmaker who lives in Manhattan, was believable when she said that Mr. Nash had sexually abused her more than 50 years ago. Ms. Fox claimed that he had groomed her for a sexual relationship and sexually assaulted her multiple times when she was 13 and he was her 40-year-old running coach.

The abuse, which lasted several months and included his coercing her to have sex with him multiple times, ended in 1973, said Ms. Fox, whose 2018 film “The Tale” depicted her memories of the abuse but did not name Mr. Nash. He died at 88 in 2021.

Jan Nash, his widow, did not immediately respond to voice messages and texts seeking comment. Last year, she told The New York Times that she was shocked and saddened by the accusations and said that “it’s just not fair” for Ms. Fox to name Mr. Nash now that he can’t defend himself.

The report specifically stated that the law firm was not tasked with finding evidence that met any legal standard of proof for the abuse. But after the firm interviewed approximately 47 witnesses who interacted with Mr. Nash or Ms. Fox, it said its inquiry corroborated many of her allegations against him. Also, the investigation did not find evidence that “expressly refutes” her accusations or a motive for her to lie about the abuse, the report said.

“I’m thrilled because this is what I hoped for,” Ms. Fox said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “This whole process has been really, really hard and the result is like removing a lifelong festering tumor from your body.”

She added that the report had given her a sense of closure and that it would send a strong message to people who commit sex crimes against children.

“Even if we don’t get you in life, we will get you in death,” she said, referring to Mr. Nash’s death. “Your legacy can be ruined.”


The accusations against Mr. Nash, who had served as a father figure to many of his athletes over the years, both on and off the water, were made public in 2023 when Ms. Fox told her story to The New York Times.

Ms. Fox’s claims shook the sport and, according to the report released Tuesday, led a former elite female rower to come forward to the law firm to describe a sexual advance by Mr. Nash when he coached her nearly two decades ago. The report refers to this rower as Anna, explaining that she didn’t want to be fully identified because of her “highly credible” concern that she would be harassed in the rowing community for participating in the investigation.

Anna was over 18 and Mr. Nash was more than 35 years her senior, the report said, when he visited her apartment after one morning practice under the guise of bringing her some home décor. He grabbed her by the neck and tried to kiss her, the report said.

Anna found his actions and the boldness of them “totally shocking,” according to the report, because Mr. Nash was like a grandfather to her. She told investigators that she assumed that he had previously made sexual advances on other athletes because it seemed like “he was doing what he always did.”

“That was the feeling that haunted me for decades,” she said in the report.

“I immediately wondered how such an encounter may have gone for other women athletes over the years,” she told investigators, adding that, “other women in his younger days probably acquiesced because they wanted to pursue their athletic goals the same way I did, and/or found themselves on the subordinate end of the power dynamic.”

On Tuesday, as a result of the law firm’s findings, U.S. Rowing rescinded the honors it awarded Mr. Nash, including the 2005 Man of the Year and its highest honor, the Medal of Honor, given to him in 2013 for “conspicuous service” and “extraordinary feats” in the sport.

A statement on U.S. Rowing’s website said: “While we understand that this outcome may be difficult for some members of our community, our commitment to a safe environment, free of abuse for the rowing community, is unwavering.”

The future of Mr. Nash’s Olympic medals — a gold in 1960 and a bronze in 1964 — remains uncertain. The International Olympic Committee, which is based in Switzerland, did not respond to an email requesting clarification.

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U.S. Rowing Rescinds Ted Nash’s Honors After Abuse Investigation (2024)


Who was Ted Nash' coach? ›

Nash coached at the University of Pennsylvania, first as freshman coach from 1965, then as head coach from 1969–1983. He was also a longtime supporter of Penn AC.

Who is the abusive rowing coach? ›

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Rowing stripped honors from a two-time Olympic medalist and nine-time Olympic coach after an investigation found allegations that he sexually abused a teenager more than 50 years ago to be credible. The federation on Tuesday released a 154-page report on Ted Nash, who died in 2021.

Who was accused of abuse in the Olympic rowing legend? ›

U.S. Rowing has announced it is rescinding honors for the late Olympic rowing coach Ted Nash after an independent investigation found “compelling evidence” of child sexual abuse. The probe was launched after former athlete Jennifer Fox revealed Nash began abusing her when she was 13 years old.

Who was the coach in the tale? ›

For a basic plot summary, "The Tale" tells the story of Jennifer (Laura Dern), a videographer who out-of-the-blue is drawn back into her past where as a 13-year old (played by Isabelle Nelisse) she was sexually coerced/assaulted by her track and field coach Bill (Jason Ritter).

Was Ted Nash married? ›

Nash's widow, Jan Nash, told the Times that she was saddened to hear of Fox's allegations. But she added that it is “not fair” for Fox to name her husband, who coached the US at nine Olympics, as he was not alive to defend himself.

Is the tale based on a true story? ›

And if you're just joining us, my guest is Jennifer Fox. She wrote and directed an HBO movie called "The Tale." She describes it as a fictional memoir. It's based on the story of her life when she was 13 and she was sexually abused by her running coach and her riding coach.

Who was Mrs. G in the tale? ›

Elizabeth Debicki: Mrs. G.

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