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Senators seek FBI probe of Scott Blackmun, ex-USOC CEO

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U.S. Senators want former USOC CEO Scott Blackmun investigated for potentially lying to Congress regarding the Larry Nassar sexual-abuse crimes.

U.S. Senators Jerry Moran and Richard Blumenthal said in a joint statement that Blackmun made “materially false statements contained in his written testimony to the [U.S. Senate] subcommittee during the course of the subcommittee’s investigation.”

Blackmun’s statement to the subcommittee in June saying that he spoke to the USOC’s Safe Sport staff after being notified by then-USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny of complaints against Nassar contradicted Ropes & Gray investigation findings published this week that state Blackmun did not speak with Safe Sport at the time, the senators said.

They referred Blackmun to Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“The subcommittee takes its oversight role seriously, and it appears that Mr. Blackmun has made false claims and misled our subcommittee — harming the investigation and ability to develop policy,” the senators said in a statement. “Just as importantly, survivors of abuse have had to wait longer for the truth and longer for systemic changes to help prevent others from similar injury.”

Blackmun resigned as USOC CEO on Feb. 28, citing difficulties with prostate cancer and the federation’s need to urgently move forward to address the Nassar sex-abuse crimes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Tahiti chosen for Olympic surfing competition at 2024 Paris Games

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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.

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

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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.

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