Getty

Cheerleading coach in viral splits video falsely claims to be “Olympic athlete”

Leave a comment

Ozell Williams, a cheerleading coach at East High School in Denver, Colo., has gained national notoriety and been placed under criminal investigation after videos were made public of him physically forcing teenage cheerleaders into the splits position while they scream in pain.

On the website for Mile High Tumblers, the 28-year-old claims to be “an Olympic athlete having won 3 Team USA First place rings in preliminary games”– but has never been a member of an Olympic team or competed at an Olympic Games.

Mile High Tumblers is a nonprofit organization for young athletes that focuses on tumbling, which is recognized as a competitive sport by the International Gymnastics Federation but is not contested at the Olympics. Cheerleading has also never been included on the Olympic program, although it could potentially join the Games in 2024. The International Olympic Committee granted it provisional status in 2016, the first step to future inclusion.

According to FOX31, the U.S. Olympic Committee confirmed that “Williams was never on any Olympic roster.” A spokesperson for USA Gymnastics added that there is “no record of him being invited to the Olympic Gymnastics Trials, let alone winning three ring titles.”

“Nobody has ever heard of him,” USA Gymnastics said.

A 2011 profile of Williams referred to him as “a member of the USA Olympic Cheer Team for 2012 in London.”

Williams was on USA Cheer’s National Coed Team, which the Tumblers’ website describes the team as “the most prestigious collegiate team in the world.” The National Coed Team has won multiple gold medals at the World Cheerleading Championships.

A group of U.S. cheerleaders performed at men’s basketball semifinal and final games at the 2012 London Olympics, and it’s possible that Williams was a member of that squad.

But that would not make him an Olympic athlete.

The video of Williams pushing a 13-year-old cheerleader deeper into a splits position while she cried and repeatedly asked him to stop went viral after it was sent to local news stations in Denver. Williams and four other staffers were suspended from the high school while both the police and school district conduct their investigations.

Williams told the Denver Post, “You can definitely say that what was in the video could be seen in a different light,” Williams said. “I would love to tell my story, but I can’t say anything else at this time.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

READ MORE: Parkour organizers tell International Gymnastics Federation to back off

2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens TV, streaming schedule

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Rugby World Cup Sevens, held in the U.S. for the first time, airs live on NBC, NBCSN and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

NBC Sports’ TV coverage totals more than 30 live hours. NBC Sports Gold will also stream live, commercial-free coverage of every match with its “Rugby Pass.”

NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app will stream all NBC Sports and Olympic Channel TV coverage.

The Rugby World Cup Sevens is the biggest standalone competition outside of the Olympics for an event that debuted at the Rio Games. Traditional 15-a-side rugby was played at the Olympics in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924.

Like the Olympics, the World Cup takes place every four years, now in the middle of every Olympic cycle, with men’s and women’s competitions at the same site.

New Zealand is the defending World Cup champion for men and women, though Fiji took the men’s Olympic title and Australia the women’s gold in Rio.

The U.S. finished fifth (women) and sixth (men) in this season’s World Series standings, though the U.S. men won the only World Series leg played in the U.S. in Las Vegas in March.

The U.S. men are led by Perry Baker, the 2017 World Player of the Year, and Carlin Isles, the 2018 World Series leader in tries. The U.S. women feature Naya Tapper and Rio Olympian Alev Kelter, two of the top scorers from the World Series.

The NBC Sports broadcast team includes U.S. Olympian and Super Bowl champion Nate Ebner as a studio analyst. Leigh Diffey and Bill Seward are on play-by-play, and Ahmed Fareed hosts on-site studio coverage.

Former USA Sevens captain Brian Hightower, U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame member Dan Lyle, former Premiership Rugby and English international prop Alex Corbisiero and World Rugby Hall of Famer Phaidra Knight will provide game and studio commentary.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Fiji puts Olympic champion rugby team on dollars, coins

Day Time (ET) Network Coverage Highlights
Friday 1 p.m. NBC Sports Gold Men’s Qualifiers
4-7 p.m. Olympic Channel Men’s Qualifiers
7 p.m.-1 a.m. NBCSN Women’s Quarters/Men’s Round of 16
Saturday 12:25-3 p.m. Olympic Channel Women’s Semifinal 1
3-5 p.m. NBC Women’s Semifinal 2
5-6 p.m. Olympic Channel Men’s Challenge Quarters
6:30-11:30 p.m. NBCSN Men’s Quarters/Women’s Finals
Sunday 11:55 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Olympic Channel Men’s Bowl/Challenge Semifinals
2:30-5 p.m. NBC Men’s Semifinals
5-7 p.m. Olympic Channel Men’s Bowl Finals
7-10 p.m. NBCSN Men’s Finals

Denis Ten, Olympic medalist figure skater, dies

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Denis Ten, the 2014 Olympic figure skating bronze medalist from Kazakhstan, died after he reportedly was stabbed in Almaty on Thursday.

The International Skating Union and the Kazah Olympic Committee confirmed Ten’s death.

Ten, 25, competed in three Olympics and earned world championships silver and bronze medals in 2013 and 2015.

At 16, Ten was the youngest men’s competitor at Vancouver 2010 and finished 11th in his Olympic debut; he was also only the second singles skater Kazakhstan had ever sent to the Olympics.

Ten made unexpected history in 2013, becoming the first skater from Kazakhstan to win a world championships medal. After experiencing health setbacks at the start of his 2014 Olympic season, he was the biggest question mark among the top men in Sochi, but he surprised by becoming the first skater from Kazakhstan to earn an Olympic medal.

Ten struggled through health issues leading into his last Olympics in PyeongChang, where he placed 27th. Those Winter Games were nonetheless special to Ten, who was of South Korean descent; his great-grandfather was a famous general who fought for Korean independence, and there is a statue and memorial dedicated to him in Wonju, a town 35 miles southwest of PyeongChang.

Ten also played a significant role as an ambassador for his hometown Almaty’s bid for the 2022 Winter Games. Beijing got the Games over Almaty in an IOC members vote in 2015.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.