Farrell, who is know 24, and still competes in speed-skating events, said she decided to go public with the allegations to save others from going through the experience.
The relationship was consensual, but Farrell said Gabel, who was then 33, used his position in the Olympic sport to seduce her. She said she knew the relationship was wrong but was “star-struck” by Gabel’s attention. The affair lasted several months. She now wants him banned from the sport.
Gabel has apologized for the affair in a public statement saying he “displayed poor judgment in a brief and inappropriate relationship with a female teammate,” according to the The Saratogian newspaper in Saratoga Springs, NY.
The former speedskater has resigned his position with the International Union and his board seat on the National Speedskating Hall of Fame as a result of the revelations.
Gabel was chairman of the ISU’s sort track technical committee, which oversees the sport and skaters such as Apolo Anton Ohno, the nation’s most decorated winter Olympian. The organization is investigating the claims.
Gabel competed in four Olympics as a short track skater. He won the silver medal as part of the U.S. relay team at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, according to his bio.
The scandal is another blow to the Olympic world. South African para-Olympic and Olympic competitor Oscar Pistorius is facing murder charges in his native South Africa, for shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He claims the shooting was accidental.
The American team is currently training for the upcoming Vancouver Games.