Kevin Staut, part of the gold medal-winning French team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has been accused of domestic violence by his partner, Norwegian show jumper Marie Valdar Longem. Staut disputes the accusation.
First reported in the French publication L’Equipe on February 19, the alleged incident occurred February 2 during an argument in the couple’s Novotel hotel room in Bordeaux, France. Staut, 42, and Vladar Longem, 30, were returning from a party that took place on Thursday night during Jumping International de Bordeaux.
According to Valdar Longem’s FEI report, a verbal argument broke out between the couple and escalated until Valdar Longem took Staut’s cell phone. At that point, the Norwegian rider claims, Staut grabbed her by the arms in an effort to retrieve his phone, then head-butted her in the face. As a result, Valdar Longem suffered a concussion and bloody nose, a fact supported by a medical documentation filed after the incident.
She further claims that Staut got dressed and left the room without checking on her condition, after flipping her the middle finger.
Valdar Longem attempted to file a report at the Bordeaux police station on February 3. Upon discovering that there was not a translator available, she elected to return to her home in Oslo, Norway where she formally filed a complaint against Staut with Norwegian authorities on February 4.
In the L’Equipe article, Staut denies the accusations. The French rider has filed a complaint against Valdar Longem for ‘physical and verbal violence in a private setting.’ He also filed an ITT form for ‘work interruption’ due to a meniscal tear in his knee.
It is unclear at press time whether Staut is claiming the tear is a result of the February 2 incident with Valdar Longem, or a pre-existing injury. He competed in Bordeaux that same weekend, but was subsequently given 15 days of work leave. Staut will resume riding in time for LGCT Doha, where he is slated to compete March 2-4.
A statement released by Valdar Longem’s lawyer conveyed the following:
“Marie has been affected both personally and as an athlete by these unspeakable acts of violence. Learning that her aggressor is now claiming to be a victim defies understanding. She is pressing charges because she is the only victim here and wants to make sure that similar incidents will not happen to other people in the future. Her actions through FEI are important to safeguard that the sport is a safe arena to herself and other women for the future. She relies on FEI to also conduct a thorough investigation of the matters.”
Kevin Staut is currently 10th in the world in the Longines Rankings. In addition, he has been the acting president of the International Jumping Riders Club since 2017.
We will continue to update this story as more details become available.