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Tyson Gay speaks to thousands at vigil for daughter Trinity (video)

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Thousands of people joined Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay at a candlelight vigil Monday night on a Kentucky high school track honoring Gay’s 15-year-old daughter, who was fatally shot over the weekend.

Gay stood on the track at Lexington’s Lafayette High School where he and daughter Trinity excelled and he thanked people for showing support after the girl’s death early Sunday after gunfire erupted outside a restaurant in that city. The teen’s mother, Shoshana Boyd, also was present amid the crowd honoring her memory.

“I want you guys to love each other, have peace and protect each other,” said Gay, who added that he was numb from crying over her death. “That’s what Trinity would have wanted. … Life is not a joke.”

Many in the crowd wore pink and purple — Gay’s favorite colors — with some holding balloons of those same hues that were later released into the air. Several pairs of track spikes hung from a fence along with a baton that said In Memory of Trinity.

Three men charged in connection with the shooting pleaded not guilty Monday and face an Oct. 25 court date. The three appeared via video before Fayette County, Kentucky, District Court Judge T. Bruce Bell.

Bell set bail at $5,000 each for Chazerae Taylor, 38, and his son, D’Markeo Taylor, 19, on wanton endangerment charges. Dvonta Middlebrooks, 21, is charged with wanton endangerment and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His bail was set at $12,500.

Bell will assign attorneys for two of them. The younger Taylor already has a lawyer.

Lexington police say Middlebrooks was in the parking lot of the Cook Out restaurant early Sunday and fired multiple shots in the incident in which Trinity Gay was shot. Court records said the Taylors acknowledged firing shots.

Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said police don’t believe Trinity Gay was in either of two vehicles involved.

Gay told The Associated Press on Monday evening that in talking with police, he believed his daughter was an innocent bystander. But he said authorities didn’t reveal details of their investigation.

Tyson Gay said he and his daughter were very close, according to Lexington TV station WLEX, which spoke to him Sunday.

“It’s so crazy. I have no idea what happened,” Gay told the station.

Grief counselors also went to the Lexington high school Monday for students and staff, Fayette County Public Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said. Years ago, Gay had attended the same school as his daughter. Trinity Gay was a standout sprinter, placing in the top five in several events at the state championships in May. Her father still holds the state record in the 100 set in 2001.

Lafayette principal Bryne Jacobs, teacher Rhonda Mullins and girls track coach Crystal Washington all described Trinity Gay as friendly and outgoing. She dreamed of becoming a surgeon.

“She was full of energy and life,” said Mullins, who had Gay in family and consumer science classes along with the Future Educators of America club. “She was a kid that everybody wanted to teach.”

Jacobs said Trinity Gay’s mother, who also attended Lafayette, had thanked him for support from the school and community, and noted that Trinity’s life was something to celebrate.

“Our hearts are burdened that she is not in our building anymore,” Jacobs said.

The emotions flowed before, during and after a candlelight vigil on the track where Trinity Gay excelled. Tyson Gay hugged Shoshana several around him.

Many others hugged and cried, but Jerome Brown, 16, held his feelings for his former teammate in check. “I don’t want to cry, but it hurts a lot,” said Brown, who ran with Trinity Gay since she was 9. “I wanted to come here for her mom. With Trinity, when she was on the track, it was home.”

Tyson Gay competed in the last three Summer Olympics. He was part of a team that won a silver medal in the 4×100-meter relay at the 2012 London Games, though that medal was ultimately stripped after Gay tested positive for steroids in 2013.

Last summer’s Games in Rio featured another stinging disappointment for Gay, 33, who has battled injuries. He was a member of the American men’s 4×100-meter relay team that finished third in the final before being disqualified for an illegal baton exchange between Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin. The team’s appeal was denied, giving Canada the bronze medal.

USA Gymnastics closes Karolyi Ranch

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USA Gymnastics said it will no longer use the Karolyi Ranch in Texas as its training center, where athletes said Larry Nassar sexually abused gymnasts.

“USA Gymnastics has terminated its agreement with the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas,” USA Gymnastics CEO and president Kerry Perry said in a press release Thursday. “It will no longer serve as the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center.

“It has been my intent to terminate this agreement since I began as president and CEO in December. Our most important priority is our athletes, and their training environment must reflect this. We are committed to a culture that empowers and supports our athletes.

“We have cancelled next week’s training camp for the U.S. Women’s National Team. We are exploring alternative sites to host training activities and camps until a permanent location is determined. We thank all those in the gymnastics community assisting in these efforts.”

MORE: Nassar calls hearing ‘media circus’ as Olympic gymnasts testify

World champions Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols said that Nassar sexually abused gymnasts at the ranch.

“When I was 15 I started to have back problems while at a National Team Camp at the Karolyi Ranch,” Nichols wrote in a victim impact statement read at one of Nassar’s sentencing hearings on Wednesday and published last week. “This is when the changes in his medical treatments occurred.

“I trusted what he was doing at first, but then he started touching me in places I really didn’t think he should. He didn’t have gloves on and he didn’t tell me what he was doing. There was no one else in the room and I accepted what he was doing because I was told by adults that he was the best doctor and he could help relieve my pain.

“He did this ‘treatment’ on me, on numerous occasions.”

Raisman, a three-time Olympic champion, urged USA Gymnastics to close the ranch in a Tuesday interview on ESPN.

“I hope USA Gymnastics listens because they haven’t listened to us so far,” she said. “I hope they listen, and I hope they don’t make any of the girls go back to the ranch. No one should have to go back there after, you know, so many of us were abused there.”

Simone Biles did not specifically name the Karolyi Ranch in her Monday statement, but Raisman said Tuesday that Biles was referring to that site.

“It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing at Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused,” was posted on Biles’ social media.

Jamie Dantzscher, a 2000 Olympian, said Nassar was alone with her in her bed at the ranch.

“There was no one else sent with him,” she said on CBS last year. “The treatment was in the bed, in my bed that I slept on at the ranch.”

USA Gymnastics said in July 2016 that it reached an agreement with former national team coordinators Bela and Martha Karolyi to purchase the training facility the couple owned.

The national governing body backed out of the purchase in May “for a variety of reasons” but continued under its current lease agreement while exploring alternative locations for camps. It held national team camps there in September and November.

The Karolyis established the ranch in 1983 after defecting from Romania. It had been a national team training center since 2001.

Larry Nassar calls hearing ‘media circus’ as Olympic gymnasts testify

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A statement from McKayla Maroney read Thursday repeated that sexual assault by Larry Nassar “left scars” in her mind that may never fade as a judge heard a third day of testimony from victims.

Nassar could be sentenced Friday in Lansing. Since Tuesday, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has been listening to dozens of young women who were molested after seeking his help for injuries.

Aquilina started the hearing Thursday by saying Nassar had written a letter fearing that his mental health wasn’t strong enough to sit and listen to a parade of victims. He called the hearing “a media circus.”

The judge dismissed it as “mumbo jumbo.”

“Spending four or five days listening to them is minor, considering the hours of pleasure you’ve had at their expense, ruining their lives,” Aquilina said.

Nassar, 54, faces a minimum sentence of 25 to 40 years in prison for molesting girls as a doctor for Michigan State University and at his home.

He also was a team doctor at USA Gymnastics for nearly two decades. He’s already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.

“Dr. Nassar was not a doctor,” Maroney said in a statement read by a prosecutor (Maroney’s statement was previously posted in the fall). “He left scars on my psyche that may never go away.”

USA Gymnastics in 2016 reached a financial settlement with Maroney that barred her from making disparaging remarks. But the organization this week said it would not seek any money for her “brave statements.”

A 2000 Olympian, Jamie Dantzscher, looked at Nassar and said, “How dare you ask any of us for forgiveness.”

“Your days of manipulation are over,” she said. “We have a voice. We have the power now.”

Nassar wasn’t the only target. Victims also criticized Michigan State and USA Gymnastics.

Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon attended part of the session Wednesday. The school is being sued by dozens of women, who say campus officials wrote off complaints about the popular doctor.

“Guess what? You’re a coward, too,” current student and former gymnast Lindsey Lemke said Thursday, referring to Simon.

The judge has been praising each speaker and criticizing Nassar.

It’s “about their control over other human beings and feeling like God and they can do anything,” Aquilina said of sex offenders.

On Jan. 31, Nassar will get another sentence for sexual assaults at a Lansing-area gymnastics club in a different county.