Kanak Jha
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Kanak Jha is first U.S. athlete born in 2000s to qualify for Olympics

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Table tennis player Kanak Jha will go down in history as the first American born in the 2000s to make an Olympic team.

Jha, born on June 19, 2000, qualified for the Rio Games by reaching the finals on the third and last day of a North American Olympic qualifying tournament in Markham, Ontario, on Sunday.

Jha will face 2012 Olympian Timothy Wang in the finals, but both have clinched Olympic berths. They join the already-qualified Yijun Feng to make up the three-man U.S. Olympic table tennis team.

A U.S. table tennis player has never advanced past the quarterfinals of an Olympic tournament.

Jha, of San Jose, Calif., is one of more than 80 athletes who have qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team. The complete list of qualifiers is updated regularly here.

Other Americans born in the 2000s who could make the Rio Olympic team include gymnasts Laurie Hernandez and Ragan Smith and swimmer Reece Whitley.

At Sochi 2014, the youngest U.S. Olympic qualifier was slopestyle skier Maggie Voisin, who was born Dec. 14, 1998, but did not compete in Russia due to injury.

At London 2012, the youngest U.S. Olympic competitor was swimmer Katie Ledecky, who was born March 17, 1997.

Before Sunday, the youngest American to qualify for Rio was boxer Charles Conwell, born Nov. 2, 1997.

MORE: Lily Zhang makes second Olympic table tennis team

Aly Raisman calls out airport worker for ‘muscles’ comment

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Three-time Olympic champion Aly Raisman called out a male airport security worker who she says questioned whether she had enough muscles to be a gymnast.

Raisman posted on Twitter on Wednesday that after a female Transportation Security Administration worker said she recognized Raisman by her biceps, a male employee said, “I don’t see any muscles.” Raisman called the encounter “rude & uncomfortable.”

Raisman, who turned 23 Thursday, says she works “very hard to be healthy & fit.” She says that if a man can’t compliment a girl’s muscles, he’s sexist.

Raisman didn’t say where or when the airport exchange took place.

Raisman previously authored a powerful social media post about body image, shouting out “to all the boys from 5th-9th grade who made fun of me for being ‘too strong’” in November.

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MORE: U.S. gymnasts give emotional testimony about sexual abuse

 

House OKs bill requiring sports groups to report sex abuse

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Angered by allegations that some members of USA Gymnastics were sexually abused, the House overwhelmingly backed legislation on Thursday that requires amateur sports groups recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee to report claims of sexual abuse to police.

The vote was 415-3, with the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., saying the Olympic community clearly had failed to protect its athletes and must do better.

The legislation stems from allegations that a sports doctor for USA Gymnastics sexually assaulted gymnasts he treated for hip and back injuries. The doctor, Larry Nassar, has denied wrongdoing. He is currently the defendant in four separate criminal cases. In one of the cases, a Michigan judge is deciding whether there’s enough evidence to send the former Michigan State University doctor to trial on allegations he sexually assaulted seven gymnasts at a campus clinic or at his home basement.

Three former elite U.S. gymnasts, including 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, have also accused Nassar of touching them inappropriately while he disguised the abuse as treatment. In all, more than 100 women have alleged they were abused by Nassar over more than two decades.

“I understand how challenging it is to share painful stories of sexual abuse, and I am proud of the brave gymnasts who have shared their stories — stories that should never have happened, and stories that went inexcusably unanswered,” Brooks said. “Their stories demand our attention and action.”

The bill also relaxes the statute of limitations for those seeking civil damages. Victims alleging they were abused will have 10 years from the time they reach adulthood to file a civil lawsuit.

The bill also clarifies that once a victim has established that harm occurred, the court will presume damages of $150,000.

A similar bill, sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, has cleared a Senate panel. Feinstein said her legislation would make it safe and easy for victims to report abuse and that organizations such as USA Gymnastics would have to ensure coaches and personnel are trained in sexual abuse prevention.

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MORE: U.S. gymnasts give emotional testimony about sexual abuse