Ryan Lochte can be prosecuted in Rio Olympic case, Brazil court rules

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SAO PAULO (AP) — The prosecution of U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte for filing a false police report during the Rio Olympics is back on after a Brazilian court decision this week.

During the Games, the 12-time Olympic medalist told NBC that he and fellow swimmers were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi by men with police badges as they returned to the Olympic Village from a party.

But prosecutors said Lochte invented the story to cover up the swimmers’ vandalism of a gas station and an ensuing confrontation with security guards. The confrontation was captured by surveillance cameras at the gas station.

Lochte later acknowledged he was intoxicated at the time and his behavior led to the confrontation.

The initial claim appeared to confirm widespread fears before the Olympics that the event would be marred by rising crime rates in Rio de Janeiro, which has long struggled with violence. As Lochte’s version of events began to shift, many Brazilians became annoyed that a false story about crime drew so much attention, when the city had hosted the games without major problems.

The scandal drew international headlines and grew to overshadow the final days of the games. Lochte ended up serving a 10-month suspension from the U.S. national swim team for his behavior.

Last year, a court dismissed the case against Lochte, but the Superior Court of Justice reversed that decision Tuesday. Prosecutor Rodrigo de Almeida Maia said Thursday that the next step is for Lochte’s lawyers to present their defense. Lochte does not have to appear in person to defend himself, de Almeida Maia said.

Steve Lochte, the swimmer’s father, said by telephone that he had no comment and directed questions to his son or his son’s lawyers.

Jeff Ostrow, a lawyer who has represented Lochte in the past, did not immediately respond to an email and a voicemail message seeking comment. It was not clear if he would represent Lochte in this case.

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MORE: Lochte’s comeback motivated by new life, another swimmer’s goal

Alpine skiing to test new format for combined race

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Alpine skiing officials will test a new format for the combined event, a race that is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

French newspaper L’Equipe reported that the International Ski Federation (FIS) will test a new team format for the combined, which has been an individual event on the Olympic program since 1988. L’Equipe reported that a nation can use a different skier for the downhill and slalom in the new setup, quoting FIS secretary general Michel Vion.

For example, the U.S. could use Breezy Johnson in the downhill run and sub her out for Mikaela Shiffrin in the slalom run, should the format be adopted into senior competition.

The format will be tested at the world junior championships in January in St. Anton, Austria, according to the report.

In response to the report, a FIS spokesperson said, “Regarding the new format of the combined is correct, and our directors are working on the rules so for the moment the only thing we can confirm is that there will be this new format for the Alpine combined that has been proposed by the athletes’ commission.”

Some version of the combined event has been provisionally included on the 2026 Olympic program, with a final IOC decision on its place coming by April.

This will be the third consecutive World Cup season with no combined events. Instead, FIS has included more parallel races in recent years. The individual combined remains on the biennial world championships program.

L’Equipe also reported that the mixed team parallel event, which is being dropped from the Olympics, will also be dropped from the biennial world championships after this season.

“There is nothing definitive about that yet, but it is a project in the making,” a FIS spokesperson said in commenting on the report.

Vion said the mixed team event, which debuted at the Olympics in 2018, was not a hit at the Beijing Games and did not draw a strong audience, according to L’Equipe.

The World Cup season starts in two weeks with the traditional opening giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return, live on Peacock

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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona men’s pro race, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Both entered Kailua-Kona, where the races were now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men. Chelsea Sodaro won the women’s race, ending a 20-year American victory drought.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

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