AP

USOC files to remove itself as defendant in Larry Nassar lawsuits

1 Comment

DENVER (AP) — The U.S. Olympic Committee is trying to remove itself as a defendant in lawsuits by gold medalists McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman, three of the gymnasts who sued the federation and others for their roles in the Larry Nassar sex-abuse scandal.

In court papers filed last Friday, the USOC acknowledges it is “appropriately” part of “discussions concerning moral and social responsibility for sexual abuse, including legitimate questions about what could have been done to recognize and stop Nassar’s abuse.”

But, the motions say, there are no legal grounds to sue the USOC because Nassar never worked for the federation, nor were Nassar’s crimes foreseeable by the USOC.

USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky lauded the fortitude of the victims and reiterated some of his group’s efforts in response to the scandal — the opening of the U.S. Center for SafeSport and an investigation into what the USOC knew about the crimes and how it reacted.

“Our filing addresses an entirely different question, namely the legal responsibility for Nassar’s crimes,” Sandusky said.

Nassar, who is in prison for assault and child pornography crimes, was a volunteer for USA Gymnastics, which is also named as a defendant in several of the lawsuits.

The gymnasts contend the USOC, as an umbrella organization that oversees USA Gymnastics, should have done more when it learned of the abuse.

The USOC filed motions to dismiss itself as the defendant in six lawsuits overall, three of which were filed by plaintiffs identified as Jane Doe.

The USOC acknowledges there is “no debate regarding the harm Nassar caused,” or the plaintiffs’ “courage and strength in responding to his crimes.”

At issue in these motions is the murky relationship between the USOC and the national governing bodies — the organizations that run the individual Olympic sports. Those organizations receive funding and guidance from the USOC.

The USOC has ultimate authority to certify them, but it has little to do with their day-to-day operations, hirings or training methods. The USOC is now looking into redefining its relationship with the NGBs.

On Tuesday, the USOC’s interim CEO, Susanne Lyons, will appear before a Senate subcommittee to discuss changes the USOC has made since Nassar’s abuse was uncovered.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Top U.S. IM swimmer argues 2-year ban due to tap water

[twitter-follow screen_name=’nbcolympictalk’ show_count=’yes’ text_color=’00ccff’]

Tahiti chosen for Olympic surfing competition at 2024 Paris Games

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Paris 2024 Olympic organizers want the surfing competition to be held in Tahiti, an island in French Polynesia that is about 9,800 miles from Paris.

It would break the record for the farthest Olympic medal competition to be held outside the host. In 1956, equestrian events were moved out of Melbourne due to quarantine laws and held five months earlier in Stockholm, some 9,700 miles away.

The Paris 2024 executive board approved the site Thursday — specifically, the village of Teahupo’o — and will propose it to the IOC. It beat out other applicants Biarritz, Lacanau, Les Landes and La Torche, all part of mainland France.

Surfing will debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games but is not on the permanent Olympic program. Surfing was among sports added to the Paris 2024 program in June and could be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Adam Jones, five-time MLB All-Star, becomes Olympic eligible

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Should the U.S. qualify for baseball’s Olympic return, a five-time MLB All-Star could be eligible for its roster in Tokyo. And he has interest.

Outfielder Adam Jones signed with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s domestic league, which, unlike MLB, will take an Olympic break next summer to allow players to take part in the first Olympic baseball tournament in 12 years.

Jones, 34, made no mention of Olympic eligibility in a social media post announcing the signing. His Instagram avatar is a photo of him in a Team USA jersey from the World Baseball Classic.

Jones’ agent later said that Jones does have interest in playing for the U.S. in Tokyo, should an American team qualify in the spring.

“To play over in Japan has always been a desire of Adam’s, and the timing worked out that the Olympics happens to be played in Tokyo the first year of his contract,” Jones’ agent wrote in an email. “It wasn’t one of the factors on his decision BUT more of a [sic] addition to the overall package to decide to go.”

Jones called being part of the U.S.’ 2017 WBC title, “probably the best experience of my life so far, especially with sports,” according to The Associated Press. He was one of five players to be on the U.S. team at each of the last two World Baseball Classics.

The U.S. still faces a difficult task to qualify for the Tokyo Games. It lost to Mexico last month in its first of up to three chances at qualifying tournaments, using a roster of mostly double-A and triple-A caliber players.

Major Leaguers are not expected to be made available for qualifying or for the Tokyo Games.

The next two qualifying tournaments will be in late March (an Americas qualifier in Arizona) and early April (a final, global qualifying event in Chinese Taipei). It remains to be seen how MLB clubs will go about releasing minor leaguers for a tournament that will take place during spring training.

Jones could become the third player with prior MLB All-Star experience to compete at the Olympics from any nation, joining Australian catcher Dave Nilsson and Canadian pitcher Jason Dickson.

Jones made five All-Star teams during an 11-year stint with the Baltimore Orioles from 2008-18 before playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.

Many players competed at the Olympics before making an MLB All-Star team, including Stephen Strasburg and Jason Giambi.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Israel baseball turned to Shlomo Lipetz for the biggest out in program history

[twitter-follow screen_name=’nzaccardi’ show_count=’yes’ text_color=’00ccff’]