Getty Images

Report: Ex-Brazil gymnastics coach accused of sexual abuse

Leave a comment

SAO PAULO (AP) — A community center fired a former coach of the Brazilian national gymnastics team Monday after a news report revealed that dozens of athletes he worked with have accused him of sexual abuse.

Reporters for the “Fantastico” news show on Globo TV spoke to 40 gymnasts and former gymnasts who said Fernando de Carvalho Lopes had abused them while they were minors, including watching them shower, touching their genitals and asking them to masturbate in front of him. The Sao Paulo state Security Department confirmed police are investigating but would not provide any more details because the case is under judicial seal.

Clube MESC, a community center with several sports programs in an industrial city outside Sao Paulo, said if fired Lopez after the report aired Sunday night. The club said that it had put Lopes on administrative duty two years ago when the first accusations against him emerged and that he had not had any contact with athletes since then. The club said that since the case is under seal, it did not know the extent of the accusations until the Sunday report.

Lopes denied the accusations in an interview with Globo, saying he never raped or molested anyone. Neither Lopes nor a lawyer for him responded to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

The allegations recall the U.S. case of former sports doctor Larry Nassar, who admitted to molesting some of the United States’ top gymnasts, including while he worked at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. More than 260 women and girls have said Nassar abused them.

In its report, “Fantastico” said the first accusation against Lopes came in July 2016, when a 13-year-old whom Lopes coached told his parents he was being abused. The accusation resulted in Lopes being fired from Brazil’s gymnastics coaching staff, a month ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Others then came forward.

“Fantastico” recorded interviews with five people who worked with Lopes, including two who agreed to be identified by name. One of those, Petrix Barbosa, said the abuse started when he was 10 or 11.

“I woke up with him — I don’t know how many times — with his hand down my pants,” said Barbosa, who was a gold medalist at the Pan American Games in 2011.

The accusers to whom “Fantastico” spoke said the abuse happened in the showers and the sauna at Clube MESC, during training sessions and also on trips with the coach. The accusers said he touched or asked to see their genitals claiming he needed to understand how their bodies were developing during puberty in order to adapt their training. One accuser said he bought a curtain for the shower at Clube MESC to prevent Lopes from watching him and others shower, but the curtain disappeared the next day. He bought another and it disappeared, too, he said.

It was unclear how far back the oldest accusation dates, but the Clube MESC said Lopes had worked there for 20 years. It said it had never received a complaint against him.

Joanna Maranhao, a Brazilian swimmer who has participated in four Olympics and who alleged she was sexually abused by another coach when she was 9, said Brazilian sporting associations are beginning to address the issue but she hopes more will be done.

“This man, I really hope he pays for the crimes he committed,” said Maranhao, whose own case was never prosecuted because of the statute of limitations.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Jordyn Wieber sues USA Gymnastics, Michigan State

Chloe Dygert crashes over guard rail, fails to finish world championships time trial

Leave a comment

American Chloé Dygert crashed over a guard rail and failed to finish the world road cycling championships time trial, where she appeared en route to a repeat title in Imola, Italy.

Dygert, who last year won by the largest margin in history as the youngest-ever champion, lost control of her bike while approaching a curve to the right. Her front wheel bobbled, and she collided with the barricade, flipping over into an area with grass.

Dygert, her legs appearing bloodied, was tended to by several people, put on a stretcher and taken to a hospital.

“All we know is that she is conscious and talking,” according to USA Cycling, about 25 minutes after the crash. “More updates to come.”

About 10 minutes after the crash, Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen won her first time trial title.

Van der Breggen took silver the last three years behind Dygert and countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, who missed this year’s race after breaking her wrist last week in the Giro Rosa.

Dygert, 23, had a 26-second lead at the 14-kilometer time check of the 31-kilometer race. Full results are here.

Dygert qualified for the Tokyo Olympics when she won last year’s world time trial title. She has been bidding to make the Olympics on the road and the track.

Worlds continue Friday with the men’s time trial airing on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold for Cycling Pass subscribers at 8:15 a.m. ET. A full TV schedule is here.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: USA Cycling names Olympic team finalists

2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

Leave a comment

Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

French Open Men's Draw French Open Men's Draw French Open Men's Draw French Open Men's Draw