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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.

MORE: U.S. names new women’s national team coordinator

Yuzuru Hanyu opens Olympic season with record score

Yuzuru Hanyu
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A sore knee didn’t hold Yuzuru Hanyu back. A record score to open his Olympic season.

The Olympic and world champion from Japan hit a pair of quadruple jumps in his short program at the Autumn Classic, a lower-level event in Montreal.

He was rewarded with 112.72 points, the highest short program score recorded under the 13-year-old judging system. Video is here.

It looked like a home competition for Hanyu.

Upon finishing, he bowed toward one set of bleachers (maybe a dozen rows) at the Sportsplexe Pierrefonds. More than two dozen Japanese flags made it hard to see most of the faces.

He bettered Javier Fernández, a two-time world champion and training partner, by 11.52 points. Fernández also landed two quadruple jumps to tally 101.2.

Full scores will be here upon the conclusion of the short program. The free skate is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. A live stream is here.

Hanyu now owns the three highest short program scores under the 13-year-old system. The other two were set in the 2015-16 season.

Showdowns like Hanyu-Fernández are usually reserved for, at the earliest, the Grand Prix series in late October and November.

Hanyu and Fernández are very familiar with each other, having shared a coach in Canadian Brian Orser, the 1988 Olympic silver medalist, since 2012. They train in Toronto.

In that time, Hanyu became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic title (and the second teen from any nation to do it). He followed it up with world titles later in 2014 and this year.

Fernández achieved unfathomable success for a Spanish skater — world titles in 2015 and 2016, overtaking Hanyu in the free skate both times.

In PyeongChang, Hanyu can become the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952. Fernández can become the third Spaniard to earn a Winter Olympic medal of any color in any sport, and the first since 1992.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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MORE: What to watch every day of PyeongChang Olympics

USOC letter assures Olympians about South Korea security

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The U.S. Olympic Committee’s security chief sent a letter to potential Winter Olympians saying there are no indications that recent developments between the U.S. and North Korea have compromised security in South Korea.

The letter, obtained by The Associated Press shortly after it was sent Friday, makes no suggestion that the U.S. is considering skipping the PyeongChang Winter Games for security reasons.

But Chief Security Officer Nicole Deal does write that provocations that have been volleyed between the United States and North Korea are likely to persist for the foreseeable future, and “should not be dismissed as insignificant nor feared as precursors of an inevitable conflict.”

The letter comes at the end of a week in which France’s sports minister suggested the country’s athletes would stay home if security could not be guaranteed.

The International Olympic Committee, trying to calm concerns, reiterated that in conversations with high-level officials in China and South Korea, none have expressed doubt about the Winter Games proceeding as scheduled, next February.

The USOC also sent out a public statement Friday from CEO Scott Blackmun.

“We will continue to work with our State Department and local organizers to ensure that our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe,” he said.

The letter, sent to athletes, national governing bodies and other Olympic leaders in the United States, said the USOC’s security division is operating as “business as usual for our security planning and preparations.”

Deal writes that the USOC is reviewing crisis management plans that address a range of potential scenarios “to ensure our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe.”

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