image

Nancy Kerrigan talks about 1994 attack, father’s death on TODAY

Leave a comment

Olympic figure skating silver medalist Nancy Kerrigan spoke about the attack on her before the 1994 Olympics and about her father’s death, in a rare interview, to Matt Lauer on TODAY.

Kerrigan, now 43, was clubbed on her right knee at a practice session in Detroit on Jan. 6, 1994.

Shane Stant, a man sent by Jeff Gillooly, the ex-husband of another figure skater, Tonya Harding, attacked Kerrigan at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

The oft-played video showed Kerrigan clutching her knee and crying, “Why? Why?”

“Watching anything sort of horrific, it’s disturbing to see anybody in pain,” Kerrigan said Friday. “To think it’s me …it’s a lifetime ago. It hurts to see anybody in such pain. It’s a long time ago. I just moved on.”

Kerrigan recovered in time for the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, seven weeks later and finished second to Ukraine’s Oksana Baiul in a close, controversial decision.

She said people still come up to her and say she should have won gold, or that they thought she won.

“I only got second place by .1 or something so I think a lot of people really thought I should’ve won, so 20 years later you just think, ‘Oh she must’ve won,'” Kerrigan said. “I was just happy with the performance and to even be able to go and compete again after being attacked. It was such a thrill to be part of an Olympic team again and to be able to represent our country.”

Kerrigan also spoke about the death of her father, Daniel, after an altercation with her brother, Mark, in January 2010. Mark was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for assault and battery in connection with the death in June 2011.

The Kerrigan family has said Daniel died from a pre-existing heart condition, but a district attorney charged Mark with involuntary manslaughter.

“He shouldn’t have been charged,’’ Kerrigan said. “My dad had a heart attack and that’s that. Since then, we did the same thing we’ve always done — take things one thing at a time, and you get through it. Life’s challenging and hard, and we stick together and move on.”

Mark was released in 2012.

“He’s just getting on with his life,’’ Kerrigan said. “I’m sure not easy when it’s brought up like this because unfortunately being my (brother) it’s brought up again, which is really too bad for him because he wants to move on with his life.”

Kerrigan still does the occasional skating show, she said.

“I drive and cook and clean,” she told Lauer. “That’s basically what I do now.”

BBC reports what Tyson Gay tested positive for

Michael Phelps eyes at least three events at Olympic Trials

Michael Phelps
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Michael Phelps expects to swim the 100m and 200m butterfly and the 200m individual medley at the U.S. Olympic Trials in four weeks, but he will be entered in more events, his coach, Bob Bowman, confirmed Tuesday.

Phelps plans to swim just those three events at the June 26-July 3 trials in Omaha, according to Sports Illustrated.

However, Phelps could also swim the 100m and 200m freestyles at the Olympic Trials to post a time fast enough not necessarily to make the Olympic team (top two at trials) but to earn a place on the 4x100m and 4x200m free relays for a fourth straight Games.

“I think he needs to put up a time, sometime, to let us know that he’s on that level [in the 100m and 200m freestyles],” Bowman, the head coach of the U.S. Olympic men’s team and thus an important relay selector, said two weeks ago.

Bowman said Tuesday that Phelps will be entered in more than the 100m and 200m fly and 200m IM at trials. But Phelps could scratch out of any event before finals or before preliminary heats.

Bowman said Phelps could theoretically try to make the Olympic team in more than three individual events.

As for those main three, it’s no surprise. Those are the three events Phelps focused on at his biggest meet of 2015, the U.S. Championships in August. Each time, he clocked the fastest time in the world for the year, making him the Olympic favorite in all three.

If Phelps intends to swim three individual events at the Rio Games, he’s looking at his thinnest Olympic slate since his debut at the Sydney 2000 Games at age 15 (one event, 200m butterfly, fifth place).

Phelps swam five individual events each in 2004 and 2008 and four in 2012, dropping the 200m freestyle for the London Games and the 400m individual medley altogether after finishing fourth in that event in London.

Phelps will race this weekend at what is expected to be his final pre-trials tune-up meet in Austin, Texas. He is entered in the 100m and 200m free, the 100m butterfly and the 200m IM.

MORE: U.S. swim stars spread across three Olympic Trials tune-up meets

World champion wrestler from Russia cedes Olympic spot after brawl

Viktor Lebedev
Getty Images
Leave a comment

MOSCOW (AP) — A two-time wrestling World champion said Tuesday he is giving up his place at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after a brawl marred a Russian qualifying tournament.

Viktor Lebedev was competing against Ismail Musukayev in a semifinal bout at the Russian nationals on Friday when Musukayev was angered by refereeing calls against him and shoved Lebedev.

Musukayev’s supporters and coaches charged into the ring, prompting a scuffle that was broken up by riot police (video here). Wrestlers from Musukayev’s home region of Dagestan then boycotted the tournament in protest at the standard of refereeing, causing a nationwide scandal.

Lebedev told local news outlet News.Ykt on Tuesday that he is withdrawing from the Olympic team as “a matter of honor” because he feels officials gave him favorable calls in front of his home crowd in the Siberian city of Yakutsk.

“Let’s say I win Olympic gold. I don’t doubt that I could win it,” he said. “Even if I were to climb onto that podium with the gold, I wouldn’t have those emotions. I wouldn’t be especially happy that my dream had come true.”

Lebedev said Musukayev had been wronged but insisted his opponent had been wrong to start the brawl. “You can’t behave that way regardless of how the judging goes for you,” he said.

Lebedev can be replaced on the team by another Russian in the 57kg class, though he was the favorite to go to the Rio Olympics after winning World Championships bronze and European Games gold last year.

Wrestling is traditionally a source of great pride for many of Russia’s ethnic minority groups, including in Lebedev’s Arctic home region of Yakutia and in Dagestan, a province in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus otherwise known for its Islamist insurgency.

Competition for a place on the Russian national team, one of the world’s best, is fierce and in recent years various domestic competitions have been marred by brawls between fans from different regions and ethnic groups.

Earlier this month, a wrestler from Chechnya hit his opponent after the end of the bout and some of his team, including a man with a pistol, rushed into the ring in support.

MORE: Eight Russians positive in 2012 Olympic retests