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Sarah Hirshland is first woman named U.S. Olympic Committee CEO

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The U.S. Olympic Committee named Sarah Hirshland its new CEO, the first woman to hold the permanent role after 11 men dating to 1950.

Hirshland, the chief commercial officer for the United States Golf Association, takes over during what she called “a critical moment in time” in its history.

The USOC and multiple national governing bodies for Olympic sports are dealing with sexual-abuse scandals, notably Larry Nassar‘s crimes against gymnasts.

“I also recognize the challenges ahead as we navigate this critical moment in the USOC’s history,” Hirshland said in a press release. “We must protect, support and empower athletes, young and old, elite and beginner. Olympic and Paralympic sport in the United States must be a shining example, able to provide athletes with the benefits of participation in an environment free from abuse of any kind. The USOC has made great strides in this area, and I look forward to carrying on that critically important work.

Hirshland said she took the job because it’s “an opportunity to take on a challenge.”

“As a female leader in the world of sport, I understand the importance of creating cultural change,” she said.

Hirshland has been with the USGA since 2011. Before that, she was senior vice president for strategic business development at Wasserman Media Group, headed by Casey Wasserman, the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic leader.

The previous USOC CEO, Scott Blackmun, resigned in February, citing prostate cancer and the USOC’s need to immediately address the USA Gymnastics sexual-abuse scandal. Blackmun had been CEO since January 2010.

Susanne Lyons, a USOC board member, was acting CEO the last four months during the search for Blackmun’s successor. Lyons and Stephanie Streeter were the only women to be USOC CEO, but both were in acting roles as searches went on to find full-time replacements.

The USOC’s work ahead also includes planning for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics (the first hosted by the U.S. since the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games) and potentially bidding for the 2030 Winter Games with Denver, Reno-Tahoe or Salt Lake City.

ALL-TIME USOC EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS/CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
1. Lyman Bingham (1950-November 1965)
2. Arthur G. Lentz (November 1965-February 1973; leave of absence June-December, 1968)
3. Everett Barnes (Acting Executive Director, June-December, 1968)
4. Don Miller (February 1973-February 1985)
5. George D. Miller (February 1985-August 1987)
6. Baaron B. Pittenger (Acting Executive Director, October-December 1987; Executive Director, January 1988-July 1990)
7. Harvey W. Schiller (January 1988; January 1990-October 1994)
8. John Krimsky Jr. (Interim Executive Director, October 1994-September 1995)
9. Richard D. Schultz (September 1995-February 2000)
10. Norman Blake (February 2000-November 2000)
11. Scott Blackmun (Acting Chief Executive Officer, November 2000-October 2001)
12. Lloyd Ward (October 2001-March 2003)
13. Jim Scherr (Acting Chief Executive Officer, March 2003-April 2005; Chief Executive Officer, April 2005-March 2009)
14. Stephanie A. Streeter (Acting Chief Executive Officer, March-December 2009)
15. Scott Blackmun (January 2010-February 2018)
16. Susanne Lyons (Acting Chief Executive Officer, February-August 2018)
17. Sarah Hirshland (August 2018-)

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Coronavirus forces Olympic soccer and boxing qualifiers to move

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Olympic qualifying events in two sports were moved from the Chinese city of Wuhan on Wednesday because of an outbreak of a deadly viral illness.

A four-nation Asian qualifying group for the women’s soccer tournament was switched from the city at the center of the health scare to Nanjing.

The Asia-Oceania boxing qualifying tournament scheduled for Feb. 3-14 in Wuhan was cancelled. No new plans were announced.

The decisions followed Chinese health authorities telling people in Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings.

The Asian Football Confederation said the round-robin group — featuring host China, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand — will be played on Feb. 3-9, retaining the same dates, in Nanjing.

More than 500 people have been infected and at least 17 killed since the outbreak emerged last month. The illness comes from a newly identified type of coronavirus.

Cases have also been reported in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. All involve people from Wuhan or who recently traveled there.

In the soccer qualifiers in China, two teams advance to a four-nation playoff round in March. That will decide which two teams from Asia join host Japan at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Russia trounces U.S. boys’ hockey team to wrap up Youth Olympic Games

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Russia routed the U.S. 4-0 in the boys’ hockey gold medal game Wednesday, the final day of the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The U.S. had more penalties (three) than shots (two) in the first period. Russia’s Matvei Michkov converted the first power play and added an even-strength goal later in the period. Another power-play goal in the second period ran the score to 3-0.

Michkov just turned 15 and is projected as a top pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

The gold medal was Russia’s ninth of the Games, excluding events that featured mixed-nationality teams, and 27th overall medal. Both numbers were the best of the competition.

Switzerland finished second in the medal tally with nine golds and 22 total. Japan, the surprise winner in girls’ hockey, matched Switzerland with nine golds among its 17 medals.

The U.S. had two gold medals and 11 total. Kiernan Fagan took gold in the boys’ ski slopestyle and silver in ski big air. Dusty Henricksen won the boys’ snowboard slopestyle.

Fagan, who turned 18 during the Games, already has a couple of World Cup podiums and finished 12th in slopestyle in last year’s world championships. He also took silver in big air and slopestyle in last year’s world junior championships.

Henricksen, who’ll turn 17 next month, placed 17th in the World Cup big air event last month in Atlanta.

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