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Michigan State fires doctor accused of sexual abuse by gymnasts

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A doctor accused of sexually abusing two gymnasts was fired Tuesday by Michigan State University, which said its police have received additional allegations of abuse since last week.

Two gymnasts, including a 2000 U.S. Olympic women’s team bronze medalist, have said they were sexually abused as teenagers by Larry Nassar, a former longtime doctor for USA Gymnastics. Those allegations came to light last week in a report by the Indianapolis Star newspaper.

Michigan State, where Nassar was a faculty member, said last week that he was investigated in 2014 over another allegation of misconduct, but the school found no violation of its policy. School spokesman Jason Cody said Tuesday that since last week, university police have received more allegations of abuse by Nassar, spanning decades.

Cody said Michigan State authorities are devoting significant resources to reviewing these accusations.

Michigan State reassigned Nassar from clinical and patient duties as of Aug. 30, a day after a complaint from one of the gymnasts was made to authorities.

“Over the past week, the university received additional information that raised serious concerns about Nassar’s compliance with certain employment requirements,” Cody said in a statement Tuesday. “Those requirements were put in place after a 2014 investigation into alleged misconduct by Nassar, and information was received that indicates those requirements were not consistently met.”

Cody did not provide additional detail about what new requirements Nassar faced after the 2014 investigation.

“The decision was made to initiate the faculty process to terminate Nassar’s fixed-term appointment. On Sept. 20, he was fired,” Cody’s statement said. “It is important to note this decision does not affect the ongoing investigations by MSU Police and MSU’s Office of Institutional Equity of allegations of sexual abuse.”

An attorney for Nassar declined to comment Tuesday.

Nassar is accused of sexually groping and fondling an Olympic gymnast during her elite career, according to a lawsuit filed recently in California by the athlete under the name Jane Doe.

Attorney John Manly, who is representing Jane Doe in the lawsuit, said he has been approached by 10 female athletes treated by Nassar, including gymnasts and athletes from other disciplines, since her lawsuit was filed. Manly said the accusers range in age from their teens to 40 and include former NCAA athletes among others. Manly said he anticipates other cases being filed, predicting that Jane Doe’s lawsuit is “certainly not the last.”

The second gymnast, Rachael Denhollander of Louisville, Kentucky, told the Indianapolis Star that Nassar sexually abused her in 2000 while she underwent treatment for lower back pain at Michigan State. She said she filed a complaint last month with university police.

The Associated Press typically does not identify people who say they have been sexually abused, but Denhollander is speaking out publicly about the case.

Michigan State said last week that Nassar was investigated in 2014 when a graduate of the school filed a complaint. An administrative investigation found no violation of school policy, and the local prosecutor’s office did not file charges after an investigation by MSU police.

USA Gymnastics said last week that it cut ties with Nassar when the organization’s president, Steve Penny, went to authorities immediately after learning of athlete concerns about Nassar in the summer of 2015.

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Julia Mancuso pushes past hip injury for final Olympic run

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When Julia Mancuso was 18 years old, a doctor told the ski racer that she needed to make a choice.

Continue competing (Mancuso had already been to an Olympics at age 17) or live a healthy life.

Mancuso was born with hip displaysia, a misalignment of hip bones that causes the joint to deteriorate faster than normal. The doctor told Mancuso she needed reconstructive surgery.

“I left crying and never went back to that doctor,” she said.

Mancuso went to the slopes instead.

In 15 years since that doctor’s visit, she put together one of the greatest Alpine careers in U.S. history — four Olympic medals (most by a U.S. female skier), five world championships medals and 36 World Cup podiums.

The right hip problems persisted. Mancuso did undergo hip surgery after her breakthrough Olympic giant slalom title in 2006.

The pain returned and, by 2015, became unbearable.

She underwent another hip surgery, this one much more complicated. The operation fixed cartilage damage, cleaned up bone spurs and put more anchors in her labrum because of a slight tear with doctors warning that her hip would probably be 90 percent of what it was, according to The Associated Press.

Mancuso spent six months on crutches. When she returns to the World Cup circuit this fall, Mancuso will have gone more than two and a half years between races.

“It’s really hard for me to walk normally,” Mancuso said last month. “A lot of people ask me why I’m doing it [skiing], because I can’t even walk. Why would I ski? The truth is, skiing is way easier. Skiing is fun because it is easy, and my body loves it. My body loves to ski, and my body needs to ski. … It improves my quality of life.”

Because of her hip, Mancuso said PyeongChang will be her fifth and final Olympics, should she make it there. She might not compete beyond next season.

The U.S. women’s speed team is deep — Lindsey Vonn, World Cup podium finishers Laurenne Ross, Jackie Wiles and Stacey Cook, the young Breezy Johnson. Even Mikaela Shiffrin dabbles. A maximum of four women per nation can start an Olympic race.

The super combined, where Mancuso earned silver and bronze medals at the last two Olympics, appears to be her best shot.

Mancuso is nothing if not dedicated, evidenced by Instagram Stories workout diaries. This complements her laid-back lifestyle, spending half her time in Fiji with her husband of five months and much of the other half in Maui.

She already has post-PyeongChang plans, to honeymoon in Tonga and dive with whales.

Before that, Mancuso hopes to have one more surprise Olympic season.

In 2006, she made her first World Cup podium two weeks before the Torino Winter Games, then won the giant slalom in Torino.

In 2010, she took silver in the Vancouver downhill and super combined despite making zero World Cup podiums in the previous two years.

In 2014, Mancuso snagged combined bronze thanks to the fastest downhill run in Sochi. That came during a season where her best World Cup finish was seventh.

Just making the Olympic team would mean history. No U.S. woman has competed in five Winter Games. Mancuso, halfpipe snowboarder Kelly Clark and cross-country skier Kikkan Randall can become the first.

Mancuso could also become the oldest female Olympic Alpine medalist.

“I’m excited to put my biggest and last effort into these next Olympics,” Mancuso said, “and then see what happens.”

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Grand Prix figure skating assignments announced; Olympic champions absent

Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner
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Nathan ChenAshley WagnerKaren Chen and Maia and Alex Shibutani headline Skate America in November, highlighting this fall’s Grand Prix assignments announced Friday.

Gracie Gold is at Cup of China and Internationaux de France, also in November.

U.S. champion Nathan Chen and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu will both debut at Rostelecom Cup, the first of six Grand Prix events, in late October.

That will mark an early season test for Chen, an 18-year-old who beat Hanyu at the Four Continents Championships at the PyeongChang Olympic venue last February but fell to sixth at worlds won by Hanyu in April.

Chen’s top challengers at Skate America in Lake Placid, N.Y., are world bronze medalist Jin Boyang of China and training partner and 2016 U.S. champion Adam Rippon.

Grand Prix Assignments: Men | Women | PairsIce Dance

Wagner, a three-time U.S. champion coming off her least successful season in six years, and the surprise U.S. champion Karen Chen are both entered in Skate Canada in October and Skate America.

Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva, the two-time reigning world champion, is entered in Rostelecom Cup and NHK Trophy in Japan. She’ll face Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy in both events, as well as Mariah Bell and Mirai Nagasu, who finished three-four at the U.S. Championships in January.

The two-time U.S. champion Gold, who changed coaches after a disastrous season, will get an up-close look at Russian world junior champion Alina Zagitova at her two events in China and France.

Polina Edmunds, the youngest U.S. competitor across all sports at the Sochi Olympics at age 15, is entered in France as well. Edmunds hasn’t competed since the January 2016 U.S. Championships due to a bone bruise in her right foot.

Sochi Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova is not entered in any Grand Prix events.

She has not competed since placing sixth at the December 2015 Russian Championships but recently hired four-time Olympic medalist Yevgeny Plushenko as a new coach.

Also absent from the Grand Prix lists are Olympic pairs champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov after Volosozhar gave birth to their daughter Feb. 16.

The Russian pair hasn’t competed since finishing sixth at the 2016 World Championships, their first time outside the top two in 19 top-level international competitions together.

Sotnikova and Volosozhar and Trankov could still be added to Rostelecom Cup as there are open spots for Russians in each discipline at that event.

Skate America, the biggest annual international event in the U.S., is one month later in this season’s calendar, taking place Thanksgiving weekend.

Here’s the full Grand Prix schedule:

Rostelecom Cup (Moscow) — Oct. 20-22
Skate Canada (Regina) — Oct. 27-29
Cup of China (Beijing) — Nov. 3-5
NHK Trophy (Osaka) — Nov. 10-12
Internationaux de France (Grenoble) — Nov. 17-19
Skate America (Lake Placid) — Nov. 24-26
Grand Prix Final (Nagoya, Japan) — Dec. 7-10

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