Lily Zhang

U.S. roster for Youth Olympics includes London Olympian

Leave a comment

The U.S. roster of 92 athletes for the Nanjing Youth Olympics includes one London Olympian, a four-woman basketball team and more entrants in rugby than any other sport.

Lily Zhang, a London Olympic table tennis player at age 16, headlines the U.S. team for the second edition of the Games, which include athletes ages 14 to 18. The Opening Ceremony is Saturday.

NBC Olympics coverage of Youth Olympics

Zhang is the first American to compete in the Olympics and then compete in the Youth Olympics.

Four Americans who competed at the first Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010 went on to become London Olympians — Ariel Hsing (table tennis), Miranda Leek (archery), Alex Massialas (fencing) and Savannah Vinsant (gymnastics).

Five Americans who competed at the first Youth Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, in 2012 went on to become Sochi Olympians — Aaron Blunck (freestyle skiing), Summer Britcher (luge), Sean Doherty (biathlon), Arielle Gold (snowboarding) and Tucker West (luge).

There are four women’s basketball players because three-on-three is the sport’s discipline in Nanjing (plus a dunk contest for boys and shootout contest for girls).

Rugby is debuting at the Youth Olympics two years before it returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1924.

Here’s the full U.S. roster:

Basketball
De’Janea Boykin
Napheesa Collier
Arike Ogunbowale
Katie Lou Samuelson

Boxing
Martha Fabela
Jajaira Gonzalez
Shakur Stevenson
Darmani Rock

Canoe/Kayak
Jordan Sherman

Diving
Dashiell Enos 
Gracia Leydon Mahoney

Fencing
George Haglund
Sabrina Massialas
Karol Metryka
Catherine Nixon
Justin Yoc

Gymnastics
Nicole Ahsinger
Cody Gesuelli
Alec Yoder
Laura Zeng

Judo
Adonis Diaz

Modern Pentathlon
Brendan Anderson

Rowing
Marlee Blue
Benjamin Cohen
Liam Corrigan
Dana Moffat

Rugby
Tess Feury
Haley Langan
Appau Mailau
Michel Navarro
Dana Olsen
Tiffany Person
Emily Prentice
Kat Ramage
Becca Jane Rosko
Richelle Stephens
Danielle Walko-Siua
Whitney Wilson
Cian Barry
Hanco Germishuys
Brian Hannon
Junior Helu
Vili Helu
Sione Masoe
Aaron Matthews
Malcolm May
Suwaiter Poch
Tyler Sousley
Austin Taefu
Jojo Tikoisuva

Sailing
Henry Marshall
Maximo Nores

Swimming
Patrick Conaton
Hannah Moore
Patrick Mulcare
Courtney Mykkanen
P.J. Ransford
Meghan Small
Clara Smiddy
Justin Wright

Table Tennis
Krishnateja Avvari
Lily Zhang

Taekwondo
Kendall Yount

Tennis
Sofia Kenin
Alexander Rybakov

Track and Field
Kenneth Brinson
Brittny Ellis
Emma Fitzgerald
Rhesa Foster
Andrew James
Brandee Johnson
Amere Lattin
Noah Lyles
Myles Marshall
Tyler Merkley
Janae Moffitt
Janie O’Connor
Chinne Okoronkwo
Kimani Rushing
Haley Showalter
Jeffrey Uzzell

Triathlon
Stephanie Jenks
Seth Rider

Beach Volleyball
Skylar Caputo
Zana Muno
T.J. DeFalco
Louis Richard

Weightlifting
Deirdre Lenzsch
Ryan Sennett

Wrestling
Daton Fix
Mason Manville
Cade Olivas

NBC Olympics, Universal Sports announce Youth Olympics coverage

President of National Olympic Committees association leaves FIFA post amid bribery claims

Getty Images
Leave a comment

GENEVA (AP) — FIFA Council member Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah of Kuwait is resigning from his soccer roles under pressure from allegations in an American federal court that he bribed Asian officials.

Sheikh Ahmad said Sunday in a statement he will withdraw from a May 8 election in Bahrain for the FIFA seat representing Asia, which he currently holds.

“I do not want these allegations to create divisions or distract attention from the upcoming AFC (Asian Football Confederation) and FIFA Congresses,” said the Kuwaiti royal, who denies any wrongdoing.

“Therefore, after careful consideration, I have decided it is in the best interests of FIFA and the AFC, for me to withdraw my candidacy for the FIFA Council and resign from my current football positions,” he said.

The long-time Olympic Council of Asia president contacted the ethics panels of FIFA and the IOC after the allegations were made in Brooklyn federal courthouse on Thursday.

FIFA audit committee member Richard Lai, an American citizen from Guam, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charges related to taking around $1 million in bribes, including from Kuwaiti officials. The cash was to buy influence and help recruit other Asian soccer officials prepared to take bribes, Lai said in court.

Sheikh Ahmad resigned his candidacy ahead of a FIFA panel deciding whether to remove him on ethical grounds.

The FIFA Review Committee, which rules on the integrity of people seeking senior FIFA positions, has been studying the sheikh’s candidacy since the allegations emerged, The Associated Press reported on Saturday.

The FIFA ethics committee is making a separate assessment of whether to provisionally suspend the sheikh, a long-time leader of Kuwait’s soccer federation who was elected to FIFA’s ruling committee in 2015.

Resigning from his soccer positions does not necessarily put Sheikh Ahmad out of reach of FIFA ethics prosecutors and judges if any action was taken.

In 2012, former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar was banned for life by the ethics committee days after he resigned.

Bin Hammam was also clearly identified in Lai’s court hearing for having paid Lai a total of $100,000 in bribes to support the Qatari’s failed challenge to FIFA’s then-president Sepp Blatter in 2011. Bin Hammam was removed from that election contest in a Caribbean bribery case.

Sheikh Ahmad has also contacted the IOC’s ethics commission about the allegations against him, the IOC said on Saturday.

As president since 2012 of the global group of national Olympic bodies, known as ANOC, Sheikh Ahmad’s support has often been cited as key to winning Olympic election and hosting awards. The sheikh was widely credited for helping Thomas Bach win the IOC presidency in 2013.

Although Sheikh Ahmad was not named in Department of Justice and court documents last week, he has become one of the most significant casualties of the sprawling U.S. federal investigation of bribery and corruption in international soccer revealed two years ago.

The sheikh could be identified in a transcript of Lai’s court hearing which said “co-conspirator #2 was also the president of Olympic Council of Asia.” Sheikh Ahmad has been OCA president since 1991.

Co-conspirator #3 was described as having a “high-ranking” role at OCA, and also linked to the Kuwait soccer federation.

According to the published transcript, Lai claimed he “received at least $770,000 in wire transfers from accounts associated with Co-Conspirator #3 and the OCA between November of 2009 and about the fall of 2014.”

“I understood that the source of this money was ultimately Co-Conspirator #2 and on some occasion Co-Conspirator #3 told me to send him an email saying that I need funds so he could show the email to Co-Conspirator #2,” Lai said in court.

Lai admitted that he agreed to help recruit other Asian officials that voted in FIFA elections who would help Kuwait’s interests.

The Guam soccer federation leader since 2001, Lai pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charges and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts. He agreed to pay more than $1.1 million in forfeiture and penalties, and will be sentenced at a later date.

The American federal investigation of corruption linked to FIFA has indicted or taken guilty pleas from more than 40 people and marketing agencies linked to soccer in the Americas since 2015.

Lai’s case marked the first major step into Asia, and suggests other soccer officials potentially recruited by the Kuwait faction could be targeted.

The Asian election for FIFA seats on May 8 in Manama, Bahrain, is the same day as a FIFA Council meeting which the sheik will not attend. The FIFA congress is held in the city three days later.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Jesse Owens’ Olympic gold medals up for auction

AVP set to start season without Kerri Walsh Jennings

Getty Images
Leave a comment

BOSTON (AP) — The AVP said it has reached an agreement with “practically all the players” on a contract that will carry it through the 2020 Summer Games, even as a holdout by five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings threatens to deprive the domestic beach volleyball tour of its biggest name.

“I respect her decisions, and I wish her well,” AVP owner Donald Sun told The Associated Press. “But in the meantime, we’re just geared up. All the athletes that are signed are fired up to play Huntington Beach next weekend.”

Walsh Jennings did not immediately respond to a text message seeking comment. But she told the AP in March that negotiations were “a work in progress” and that the two sides were “pretty far off.”

She also boycotted an AVP event last summer over experimental rules that she said weren’t discussed with the athletes.

Each of the other seven Americans who went to the 2016 Olympics has signed, Sun said, except for Brooke Sweat. Sweat, who failed to make it out of group play in Rio de Janeiro with teammate Lauren Fendrick, also did not respond to a request for comment.

Sun told the AP that the tour has “a four-year agreement with practically all the players, which is awesome.” The deal includes a minimum of eight events per season and prize money minimums that will increase by at least 50 percent over the term of the deal, he said.

“It was a few months of process, discussing with individual players, groups of players, discussing what concerns they had,” Sun said. “We all made it. I think we’re all pretty happy.”

Well, not everyone.

The rift with Walsh, a three-time gold medalist who won bronze with April Ross in 2016, was exposed when the tour released its 2017 schedule in March and her name wasn’t among the list of those expected to participate.

Sun told the AP this week that the tour is prepared to proceed without Walsh Jennings, who has missed events previous summers because of injury, childbirth or to play on the international tour that determines Olympic qualification.

“It didn’t seem to affect attendance, TV ratings, or viewership on line,” Sun said. “The AVP is not just one person or one athlete; if it was, it would be a very challenging business model.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Snow volleyball hopes to stake claim in Winter Olympics