Getty Images

IOC suspends Frank Fredericks over French corruption charges

Leave a comment

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: IOC supports esports event in PyeongChang before Olympics

Justin Morneau nixes Olympic baseball qualifying return

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Justin Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP with the Minnesota Twins, was taken off Canada’s Olympic baseball qualifying roster before he would have played his first competitive game in more than two years.

Morneau, 38, experienced an unspecified setback in training and was replaced on Canada’s roster for next month’s Premier12. The global tournament marks the first opportunity for many world baseball powers to qualify for the sport’s return to the Olympics.

Morneau never played in the Olympics before baseball was cut from the Games after 2008; active MLB players have never competed in the Games. But he was on Canada’s roster at all four World Baseball Classics from 2006 through 2017.

At November’s Premier12, the top nation from North and South America will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Japan and Israel are already qualified. Those that do not qualify will get another chance next year.

Morneau could become the second Major League Baseball MVP to play Olympic baseball as a medal sport. The other was Jason Giambi, who made the U.S. team in 1992, the same summer he was drafted in the second round by the Oakland Athletics.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Joe Girardi replaced as U.S. baseball manager by World Series champion

Kolohe Andino is first U.S. Olympic surfing qualifier; Kelly Slater faces last chance

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kolohe Andino is the first American to qualify for surfing’s Olympic debut, which leaves one spot left for 47-year-old Kelly Slater to chase at the final contest of the season.

Andino, a 25-year-old Californian whose first name means “rascal” in Hawaiian, clinched his place in Tokyo on Friday at the penultimate stop on the World Surf League Championship Tour in Portugal. He is ranked fifth in the world, trailing a trio of Brazilians.

One more American man will join Andino on the Olympic team. It will be one of Slater, the 11-time world champion, John John Florence, the 2016 and 2017 World champion, and rising 22-year-old Hawaiian Seth Moniz.

Slater was handed a golden opportunity to qualify when Florence announced in early July that he tore an ACL for the second time in 13 months. Florence had won two of the first five events this season.

Slater has been chasing the sidelined Florence in the standings ever since. But it has not been easy.

Slater hasn’t made the quarterfinals in any of his last seven contests going into December’s finale — the prestigious Billabong Pipeline Masters on the North Shore of Oahu.

“Ninth place, to me, used to be a pretty awful result. I’m used to at least a quarterfinal on for most of my career,” he said in July, noting a back injury. “I’m not horrified by my results, but I’m also not surprised. Maybe other people are because everyone focuses on my age and that kind of thing. It’s not like I’m going to all of a sudden forget how to do this thing, you know?”

Slater, who won the Pipe Masters seven times between 1992 and 2013, must reach the quarterfinals at this year’s event to have any chance of passing Florence to qualify for the Olympics.

Complicating matters: Florence said in August it was his “goal to get better for Pipeline in case I have to come back and compete and gain points,” according to ESPN.com. If Florence does return for the December contest, and makes the quarterfinals, Slater could only pass him with a victory.

Moniz goes into the finale ranked one spot behind Slater, meaning he, too, can grab that second and final Olympic spot with a win or a runner-up.

Slater, who turns 48 on Feb. 11, would be the oldest U.S. Summer Olympic rookie competitor in a sport other than equestrian, sailing or shooting (or art competitions!) in the last 100 years, supplanting Martina Navratilova, according to the OlyMADMen.

MORE: Top U.S. surfer has links to Egg McMuffin, Guinness World Record holder

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!