AP

Police: Venus Williams at fault in fatal car crash

13 Comments

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Tennis star Venus Williams caused a car crash earlier this month that led to the death of a passenger in another vehicle, according to a police report released Thursday.

Palm Beach Gardens police say witnesses told investigators that Williams ran a red light in her 2010 Toyota Sequoia SUV, causing a June 9 crash that injured 78-year-old Jerome Barson, who died two weeks later.

The report says a 2016 Hyundai Accent driven by Barson’s wife, Linda, crashed into the side of Williams’ SUV. Linda Barson told investigators that she was approaching the intersection when her light turned green and that she was unable to stop in time. Linda Barson suffered unspecified moderate injuries. Williams, who turned 37 on June 17, was not hurt.

She told investigators she had entered the six-lane intersection on a green light but had been forced to stop midpoint by traffic ahead of her. She said she did not see the Barsons’ car when she crossed into their lanes.

Palm Beach Gardens Maj. Paul Rogers says the crash remains under investigation. Williams, who has a residence in Palm Beach Gardens, has not been cited or charged. The report says she was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Williams’ attorney Malcolm Cunningham said in a statement that Williams expressed “her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one.”

Michael Steinger, the attorney for Linda Barson, had no immediate comment.

Venus Williams, the older sister of tennis star Serena Williams, has won four Olympic gold medals and seven Grand Slam titles, including five at her favorite tournament, Wimbledon.

She revealed in 2011 that she’d been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease.

Her ranking fell outside the top 100 as she coped with her illness and injuries, and from 2011 to 2014, she only advanced past the third round at a major once.

Early round losses continued to mount for Williams and questions about retirement came up time and again. Those questions are still asked, but she had a career renaissance, and in January reached the finals of the Australian Open, where she lost to her sister.

The crash was first reported by TMZ.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Serena Williams comments on 2020 Olympics during pregnancy

U.S. Olympic, USA Gymnastics leaders set for another Senate hearing

AP
Leave a comment

Recently replaced U.S. Olympic Committee acting CEO Susanne Lyons, USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry and Michigan State interim president John Engler are scheduled witnesses for a Senate subcommittee hearing next Tuesday on reforms following the Larry Nassar sexual-abuse crimes.

The hearing is titled, “Strengthening and Empowering U.S. Amateur Athletes: Moving Forward with Solutions” and will stream live at https://www.commerce.senate.gov/ on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

“The hearing will focus on changes made by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Gymnastics (USAG), and Michigan State University (MSU) to protect Olympic and amateur athletes from abuse,” according to the subcommittee’s website. “It will examine recent reforms to provide safe environments for athletes and how these reforms are being implemented.”

The subcommittee held hearings April 18 and June 5 with testimonies from gymnasts and other athletes who were abused, former Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon and former senior vice president of USA Gymnastics Rhonda Faehn. Former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny also attended the June 5 hearing but refused to answer questions.

Lyons and Perry were questioned at a House subcommittee hearing May 23.

The USOC last Thursday named Sarah Hirshland its new CEO, replacing Lyons, who had been in the role on an interim basis since Scott Blackmun resigned in February. Blackmun, who had been CEO since January 2010, left citing prostate cancer and the USOC’s need to immediately address the USA Gymnastics sexual-abuse scandal.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: USOC names first permanent female CEO

Annemiek van Vleuten wins La Course with epic comeback (video)

AP
Leave a comment

Annemiek van Vleuten, the cyclist who returned from a horrific Rio Olympic road race crash to become world champion, repeated as La Course winner with an epic last-kilometer comeback on Tuesday.

Van Vleuten sprinted from several seconds behind countrywoman Anna van der Breggen to win the one-day race, including four categorized climbs, contested on part of the Tour de France stage 10 course later that day.

“With 300 meters to go, I still thought I got second, and then I saw her dying,” Van Vleuten said, adding later, according to Cyclingnews.com, “With 500 meters to go my team director in the car gave up and stopped cheering for me.”

In Rio, van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped over into a ditch during the road race. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course.

She was eventually hospitalized in intensive care.

Van der Breggen went on to win the Olympic title, while van Vleuten returned quick enough to race at the October 2016 World Championships.

Van Vleuten, 35, won her first world title 13 months after the Rio Games, taking the time trial crown ahead of van der Breggen by 12 seconds. She also won the 10-stage Giro Rosa that concluded on Sunday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

TOUR DE FRANCE: StandingsTV Schedule | Riders to Watch