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U.S. Olympic taekwondo gold medalist banned amid investigation

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Steven Lopez, the only U.S. Olympic taekwondo champion, was given an interim suspension Monday after allegations of decades of sexual misconduct and an investigation that reportedly began three years ago.

Four women filed a lawsuit last week alleging that Lopez and his older brother and coach, Jean, committed sexual abuse against them. They also sued the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Taekwondo for allowing the abuse.

Lopez was suspended for “allegations of misconduct,” according to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which responds to reports of sexual misconduct within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements.

USA Taekwondo said Lopez is suspended “pending further proceedings.”

Last June, Lopez said he never committed sexual assault or inappropriate behavior with a woman, according to USA Todaywhich reported USA Taekwondo began investigating claims against the Lopezes three years ago after women said the brothers sexually assaulted them.

USA Taekwondo consulted with the USOC and agreed to halt the probe before the Rio Olympics, according to USA Today. Lopez competed in his fifth Olympics in Rio and said in February that he planned to go for Tokyo 2020, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Jean Lopez was banned for life last month for sexual misconduct and sexual misconduct involving a minor and is reportedly appealing.

The USOC said in a media statement that it “is deeply focused on supporting, protecting and empowering the athletes we serve.”

USA Taekwondo said in a media statement, “As this is an in-process legal matter it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bobby Joe Morrow, triple Olympic sprint champion, dies at 84

Bobby Joe Morrow
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Bobby Joe Morrow, one of four men to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at one Olympics, died at age 84 on Saturday.

Morrow’s family said he died of natural causes.

Morrow swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, joining Jesse Owens as the only men to accomplish the feat. Later, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt did the same.

Morrow, raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas, set 11 world records in a short career, according to World Athletics.

He competed in one Olympics, and that year was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year while a student at Abilene Christian. He beat out Mickey Mantle and Floyd Patterson.

“Bobby had a fluidity of motion like nothing I’d ever seen,” Oliver Jackson, the Abilene Christian coach, said, according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “He could run a 220 with a root beer float on his head and never spill a drop. I made an adjustment to his start when Bobby was a freshman. After that, my only advice to him was to change his major from sciences to speech, because he’d be destined to make a bunch of them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Johnny Gregorek runs fastest blue jeans mile in history

Johnny Gregorek
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Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.

Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.

Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.

Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.

“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”

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