Caitlin Cahow discusses being part of U.S. delegation to Sochi (video)

Caitlin Cahow
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Caitlin Cahow, one of two openly gay athletes part of the White House’s delegation to the Sochi Olympics, said she’s proud to be representing American diversity in Russia.

“I think that the president’s been very open about his feelings about Russian policies,” Cahow said on TODAY on Thursday morning. “I think he’s been very open about his feelings about LGBT policies here at home, too. I’m going over to Sochi representing a country that has made the most dramatic shifts on some of these issues in the last few years, and I’m very proud to be representing that kind of diversity.”

Cahow, 28, won bronze and silver at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics as a defenseman on the U.S. women’s hockey team but was not in the running to make the 2014 Olympic Team.

She joined tennis legend Billie Jean King and Olympic legends Bonnie BlairBrian Boitano and Eric Heiden on the delegation announced Tuesday. 

“I had a member of the White House call me, and that was kind of a surprise to get on my cell phone an unknown number,” Cahow said. “So I answered it, and I heard the news. I was elated. I was thrilled.”

In June, a law was passed in Russia banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors. Cahow said there are a lot of issues she looks to stand for while in Sochi.

In the interview, Matt Lauer brought up the black-power salute by John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

“Honestly, I think that my John Carlos moment right now is going to Russia and being present and representing the United States,” she said. “Like I said before, this delegation represents so much more than just LGBT diversity. We have a really remarkable diversity in the United States. I think that’s what all of the athletes in Sochi and the delegation will be demonstrating.”

Cahow, a Harvard graduate, said she believes the Olympics and politics will always be intertwined.

“It’s really hard to divorce the two,” she said. “What I would say is that the great thing about the Olympics is that every two years we get the opportunity not only to be inspired by amazing human achievement, but to hold the mirror up to our own faces and say what can we be doing better?”

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Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here with redactions.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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