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IOC suspends Frank Fredericks over French corruption charges

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee suspended Frank Fredericks as a member on Tuesday, four days after he was charged in a French investigation of suspected bribery in the 2016 Olympic host city vote.

The IOC leadership intervened eight months after the four-time Olympic sprint medalist from Namibia stepped back from his duties when the allegations were reported in French media.

“Considering the gravity and urgency of the situation and its impact on the reputation of the IOC, the IOC (executive board) decides to suspend Mr. Frank Fredericks from all the rights, prerogatives and functions deriving from his quality as an IOC member,” the Olympic body said in a statement.

Fredericks was an IOC board member when he accepted a $300,000 payment eight years ago on the day Rio de Janeiro was chosen as the 2016 host.

The money allegedly came from a Brazilian businessman and was paid to Fredericks via the son of Lamine Diack, then a senior IOC member and president of track and field’s governing body. Both Diacks are under investigation by French prosecutors in a wide-ranging corruption case.

On Friday, prosecutors in Paris announced preliminary charges against Fredericks of passive corruption and money laundering.

Fredericks has denied wrongdoing since French daily Le Monde reported the allegation in March, claiming the money was for consultancy work in athletics.

The IOC ethics commission began investigating Fredericks, a rising star in Olympic circles, and examined the latest details on Monday.

“Mr. Fredericks mentioned that he did not wish to make any observations or provide a statement regarding the French proceedings,” the IOC ethics commission said in its published advisory ruling.

The ethics panel, which is chaired by former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon, said it did not take a position on “the value of the facts” in the case.

The case cost Fredericks his prestigious role leading an IOC panel overseeing bids by Paris and Los Angeles to host the 2024 Olympics.

He also was provisionally suspended by the IAAF, where he was a member of its ruling committee and on a task force overseeing Russia’s attempt to lift an international ban from the sport because of a doping scandal.

In July, an IAAF integrity panel noted that “Fredericks has not, in the answers and explanations he has provided to date, disturbed the prima facie case of matters warranting investigation.”

The French investigation, in cooperation with Brazilian authorities, also implicated Carlos Nuzman, who led the Rio Olympic organizing team. Nuzman was arrested in Brazil last month and then suspended by the IOC as an honorary member.

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PyeongChang late night roundup

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It was a terrific ending for the Olympic curling tournament. The U.S. men’s team defied all odds by upsetting Sweden in the final 10-7. Buoyed by John Shuster’s double take out in the eighth end, the United States all but assured gold at 10-5 up.

On the night that the United States won its ninth gold medal during these Olympic Games, Finland won its first. Cross-country skier Livo Niskanen outpaced the rest of the 50 man field in the 17th kilometer. OAR skier Alexander Bolushnov gave him a fight in the final kilometers, but he too was eventually left behind.


Curling: USA wins first-ever curling gold 

The USA men’s curling team’s improbable Olympic run has concluded in glory. John Shuster’s squad looked like they were in control from the very onset of the match, forcing Sweden to make errors. The highlight of the match: Shuster’s final stone in the eighth end to put the USA well out of reach with a 10-5 lead.

The United States started competition 2-4 and looked well out of contention to make the playoffs, but an incredible run of three wins saw them get into the playoffs on the final day.

Recap: USA men’s curling wins Olympic gold 

The USA weren’t the only surprise medal winners today. Japan won the country’s first-ever Olympic medal after defeating Great Britain.

It all came down to two steals from Japan in the final two ends, with Briton skip Eve Muirhead missing her final stone to give the victory to Japan.

Men’s Tournamenet

USA def. SWE 10-7

Women’s Tournament

JPN def. GBR 5-3

Cross-Country: Niskanen wins men’s 50km 

Finnish skier Livo Niskanen’s pace was too much for nearly the entire field on Friday night. The Finn broke from the pack, along with Alexey Poltoranen, in the 17th kilometer and continued to stay out front. After Poltoranen ran out of gas, it was OAR athlete Alexander Bolushnov who erased a 30 second gap to challenge the Finn.

It wasn’t until the last kilometre that a seemingly-fatigued Niskanen made his final move to brush of Bolushnov to cross the finish line.

It was a very disappointing day for the Norwegians, who’ve dominated the sport this year. Not one Norwegian landed on the podium, including gold medal favorite Martin Sundsby.

Full men’s 50km recap available here 

Speed Skating: Takagi, Lee win inaugural mass start 

Making its Olympic debut, the speed skating mass start proved to be an erratic event as several skaters collided and crashed out of the competition.

The final race is simple: first three skaters to cross the finish line win the medals.

Estonia’s Saskia Alusalu made the initial burst of energy in the race, but was caught up to in the final three laps. The women’s champion was decided by a final sprint, when Japan’s Nana Takagi beat world champion Kim Bo-Reum and Irene Schouten.

Women’s mass start recap available here 

Lee Song-Hoon won the men’s tournament, ensuring that the speed skating program would not have as sour an ending as the short track. Unlike the women’s race, the men’s skaters stuck together as a train for most of the race until the final three laps.

In the end, Lee came in with too much speed to be overtaken by any of the chasing competitors.

Men’s mass start recap available here 

USA wins gold in men’s curling

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For the first time in history, the United States won the Olympic gold medal in curling.

A week ago, it didn’t seem like that would happen. Sitting at 2-4 and with a game against behemoth Canada coming up, John Shuster captained the United States to three consecutive wins (over Canada, Switzerland, and Great Britain) to squeak into the semifinals. From there, they took down Great Britain before completing the run against Sweden in the gold medal game.

Tied at 5-5 in the eighth end, Shuster was able to hit both of Sweden’s rocks out of the house, giving the United States an incredible five points and a 10-5 lead heading into the ninth.

NBCOlympics.com: Watch: Team USA scores five points in eighth end

After that, it was all about protecting the lead. Just a few minutes later Swedish skip Niklas Edin conceded the game, and it was the United States standing on top of the podium for the first time ever in the sport of curling.

Click here to read the full recap from the gold medal game