Olympic sports federations do not endorse total Russian ban from Rio

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LONDON (AP) — Summer Olympic sports federations said on Tuesday they are ready to deal with “individual cases” of Russian doping, rather than endorse a total ban on the Russian team for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, which represents the 28 sports in the Games, said it recognized the “gravity and extent of the doping activities in Russia” as detailed in Monday’s report by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren.

The report, which accused Russia’s sports ministry of overseeing doping of the country’s Olympic athletes on a vast scale, listed 20 summer sports as being part of the cheating conspiracy.

WADA and other anti-doping officials urged the International Olympic Committee to consider the unprecedented step of excluding the entire Russian contingent from the Rio Games. The IOC executive board was meeting by teleconference later Tuesday to weight its options.

Any IOC decisions may not be definitive, as the Court of Arbitration for Sport is scheduled to rule on Thursday on Russia’s appeal against the IAAF ban on its track and field athletes from competing in Rio.

The summer sports association made clear they do not support a blanket ban.

The association asked WADA “to immediately provide all the detailed information to the 20 international federations concerned so that they may begin processing the individual cases under their own separate rules and regulations as soon as possible, and in line with the WADA Code and the Olympic Charter.

“It is important to focus on the need for individual justice in all these cases.”

The association said it endorses all federation decisions, “including those that take into account collective responsibility of organizations under the IFs’ governance.”

That means, rather than applying a total ban, federations could suspend individual Russian sports. That’s already the case with the IAAF, which barred Russia’s track athletes from the games following previous WADA-commissioned reports into Russian doping.

“ASOIF fully supports a policy of zero tolerance in bringing all individuals linked to anti-doping violations to justice,” the statement said.

The summer association’s position falls in line with recent comments by IOC President Thomas Bach, who has cited the need to strike a balance between “individual justice and collective punishment.” He said last week that, if summer sports were implicated in the McLaren report, the international federations would have to decide on the eligibility of Russian athletes “on an individual basis.”

McLaren’s report uncovered a state-run doping scheme that ensnared 28 sports, both summer and winter, and ran from 2011 to 2015.

The investigation told of 312 positive tests that Russia’s deputy minister of sport directed lab workers not to report to WADA. Russia’s intelligence serve, the FSB, was also involved, the report said. It also provided further details of the swapping of doping samples to protect Russian dopers, including medalists, at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

“I’m shocked and devastated by what’s been going on,” said Paul Melia, the head of Canada’s anti-doping organization, after the findings were delivered on Monday in Toronto. “And I can only imagine how betrayed the clean athletes of the world are feeling today in the face of this evidence.”

WADA President Craig Reedie, who is also an IOC vice president, said: “WADA insists upon imposition of the most serious consequences to protect clean athletes from the scourge of doping in sport.”

But a blanket ban is not a sure thing.

The decision to deliver one is rife with political ramifications that involve a country that sent the third-most athletes (more than 430) to the previous Summer Olympics, four years ago in London. It puts the IOC in the position of ruling against one of its biggest supporters, a nation that spent more than $50 billion hosting the Winter Games in Sochi just two years ago.

“The right to participate at the games cannot be stolen from an athlete, who has duly qualified and has not been found guilty of doping,” said Bruno Grandi, president of gymnastics’ international federation. “Blanket bans have never been and will never be just.”

Gymnastics was not among the sports listed in the report. Wrestling, meanwhile, accounted for 28 of the 312 unreported positives. The head of that international federation, Nenad Lalovic of Serbia, told The Associated Press “we will absolutely follow the decisions of the IOC.”

Whether the IOC issues its decision on Tuesday or simply sets the table for it to come later, it could be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. CAS was hearing Russia’s appeal on Tuesday against the ban on its athletics team.

MORE: Uhlaender, fourth in Sochi, contacts Russian bronze medalist about report

Germany goes 1-2 at bobsled worlds; Kaillie Humphries breaks medals record

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Kim Kalicki and Lisa Buckwitz gave Germany a one-two in the world bobsled championships two-woman event, while American Kaillie Humphries earned bronze to break the career medals record.

Kalicki, who was fourth at last year’s Olympics and leads this season’s World Cup standings, edged Buckwitz by five hundredths of a second combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Humphries, with push athlete Kaysha Love, was 51 hundredths behind.

Olympic champion Laura Nolte was in third place after two runs but crashed in the third run.

Humphries, 37 and a three-time Olympic champion between two-woman and monobob, earned her eighth world championships medal in the two-woman event. That broke her tie for the record of seven with retired German Sandra Kiriasis. Humphries is also the most decorated woman in world championships monobob, taking gold and silver in the two times it has been contested.

Humphries rolled her ankle after the first day of last week’s monobob, plus took months off training in the offseason while also doing two rounds of IVF.

“I chose to continue the IVF journey through the season which included a Lupron Depot shot the day before this race began,” she posted after her monobob silver last weekend. “My weight and body fluctuating all year with hormones, it was a battle to find my normal while competing again. I’m happy with this result, I came into it wanting a podium and we achieved it as a team.”

Love, who was seventh with Humphries in the Olympic two-woman event, began her transition to become a driver after the Games.

Worlds finish Sunday with the final two runs of the four-man event.

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Snowboarders sue coach, USOPC in assault, harassment case

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Olympic bronze medalist Rosey Fletcher has filed a lawsuit accusing former snowboard coach Peter Foley of sexually assaulting, harassing and intimidating members of his team for years, while the organizations overseeing the team did nothing to stop it.

Fletcher is a plaintiff in one of two lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday. One names Foley, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team and its former CEO, Tiger Shaw, as defendants. Another, filed by a former employee of USSS, names Foley, Shaw and the ski federation as defendants.

One of the lawsuits, which also accuse the defendants of sex trafficking, harassment, and covering up repeated acts of sexual assault and misconduct, allege Foley snuck into bed and sexually assaulted Fletcher, then shortly after she won her bronze medal at the 2006 Olympics, approached her “and said he still remembered ‘how she was breathing,’ referring to the first time he assaulted her.”

The lawsuits describe Foley as fostering a depraved travel squad of snowboarders, in which male coaches shared beds with female athletes, crude jokes about sexual conquests were frequently shared and coaches frequently commented to the female athletes about their weight and body types.

“Male coaches, including Foley, would slap female athletes’ butts when they finished their races, even though the coaches would not similarly slap the butts of male athletes,” the lawsuit said. “Physical assault did not stop with slapping butts. Notably, a female athlete once spilled barbeque sauce on her chest while eating and a male coach approached her and licked it off her chest without warning or her consent.”

The USOPC and USSS knew of Foley’s behavior but did nothing to stop it, the lawsuit said. It depicted Foley as an all-powerful coach who could make and break athletes’ careers on the basis of how they got along off the mountain.

Foley’s attorney, Howard Jacobs, did not immediately return requests for comment from The Associated Press. Jacobs has previously said allegations of sexual misconduct against Foley are false.

In a statement, the USOPC said it had not seen the complaint and couldn’t comment on specific details but that “we take every allegation of abuse very seriously.”

“The USOPC is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Team USA athletes, and we are taking every step to identify, report, and eliminate abuse in our community,” the statement said.

It wasn’t until the Olympics in Beijing last year that allegations about Foley’s behavior and the culture on the snowboarding team started to emerge.

Allegations posted on Instagram by former team member Callan Chythlook-Sifsof — who, along with former team member Erin O’Malley, is a plaintiff along with Fletcher — led to Foley’s removal from the team, which he was still coaching when the games began.

That posting triggered more allegations in reporting by ESPN and spawned an AP report about how the case was handled between USSS and the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which is ultimately responsible for investigating cases involving sex abuse in Olympic sports. The center has had Foley on temporary suspension since March 18, 2022.

The AP typically does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault unless they have granted permission or spoken publicly, as Fletcher, Chythlook-Sifsof and O’Malley have done through a lawyer.

USSS said it was made aware of the allegations against Foley on Feb 6, 2022, and reported them to the SafeSport center.

“We are aware of the lawsuits that were filed,” USSS said in a statement. “U.S. Ski & Snowboard has not yet been served with the complaint nor has had an opportunity to fully review it. U.S. Ski & Snowboard is and will remain an organization that prioritizes the safety, health and well-being of its athletes and staff.”

The lawsuits seek unspecified damages to be determined in a jury trial.