Russia’s Sagid Murtazalie, following the lead of Bulgarian champion Valentin Yordanov, has also returned his gold medal to the IOC Tuesday, in protest of the organization’s recommendation to remove the sport from the 2020 Olympics.
“The decision to return my Olympic medal was not easy for me,” Murtazaliev, the Sydney 2000 heavyweight champ, said in a letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge.
It leaves us to wonder whether passionate American champions like Rulon Gardner or Kurt Angle will be joining their wrestling brethren in returning their medals. But USA Wrestling spokesman Gary Abbott told USA Today that it’s not likely to happen:
“Each wrestling nation and each individual athlete will do what they can to keep the issue in front of the world,” Abbott said. “I don’t think there’s been a call within the wrestling community to do this. I think these are individual statements being made by individual athletes wanting to make a difference in the discussion. We haven’t heard that from any of our athletes.”
But USA Wrestling is being proactive by creating the Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling, and by putting aside diplomatic issues with countries like Iran and Russia in order for wrestlers from those nations to join each other in the common goal of returning wrestling to its Olympic status.
Wrestling’s first challenge will be a vote in St. Petersburg in May, which will determine which of the eight prospective sports, including squash, karate, wakeboarding, sport climbing, roller sports, wushu, and baseball/softball, will move on to the final IOC vote in September. That vote will determine which sport will fill the one open spot in the 2020 Olympics schedule.
Michael Phelps said Thursday that he had to keep his June marriage to Nicole Johnson “hush-hush.”
Phelps and Johnson, who got engaged in February 2015, were married June 13, though Phelps had been saying all summer and into the fall that they were not yet married.
“You guys probably already saw the article that was posted [about the marriage],” Phelps said, widening his eyes and sticking the tip of his tongue out while golfing shirtless with former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. “I’ve been married for a while, been married for while, couple months. I had to keep it secret from y’all. I had to keep it hush-hush from you guys. Nicole and I are married. We are officially married.”
Phelps and Johnson welcomed baby boy Boomer on May 5.
“Why is it a secret? Just because. … Baby No. 2 may be coming soon, who knows though,” Phelps said.
VIDEO: Phelps in ‘Call of Duty’ trailer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former gymnast on the U.S. women’s national team is the latest athlete to accuse a longtime team doctor of sexual abuse.
But she’s the first to allege renowned husband-and-wife coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles contends Dr. Larry Nassar repeatedly sexually abused the now-24-year-old gymnast when she was on the team from 2006 to 2011.
It says the Karolyis, and the current and former presidents of USA Gymnastics knew of molestations committed by Nassar before and during his employment, “yet chose to allow him to remain unsupervised,” allowing further abuse.
Nassar’s lawyer and the Karolyis didn’t respond to messages Thursday. Nassar’s lawyer has previously denied abuse allegations by two other gymnasts.
USA Gymnastics is also named in the suit. The Indiana-based governing body denies wrongdoing.
MORE: Michigan State fires Nassar after sexual abuse accusations