Olympic, Paralympic champions on list of Laureus nominees

AP
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This year’s nominees for the Laureus World Sports Awards include a handful of Olympic gold medalists, including Simone BilesMikaela ShiffrinShaun White and Lindsey Vonn. Paralympic champions Oksana Masters and Bibian Mentel-Spee are also up for awards. The nominees were announced Thursday morning.

The awards recognize sports achievements during 2018 and are voted on by the Laureus World Sports Academy. Winners will be announced in Monaco on February 18.

Among the nominees for world sportsman of the year is LeBron James, 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric, and Eliud Kipchoge, who won both the London and Berlin Marathons in 2018, breaking the world record by 78 seconds in Berlin.

Biles and Shiffrin are both nominated for world sportswoman of the year, as is double Olympic champion Ester Ledecka, who won gold medals in both snowboarding and alpine skiing in PyeongChang.

The World Comeback of the Year category includes Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn, two-time Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu as well as Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris, who overcame a life-threatening injury to win a second straight Olympic bronze medal in PyeongChang. Paralympic snowboarder Bibian Mentel-Spee, who won two gold medals in PyeongChang shortly after finishing cancer treatment, is also nominated in that category.

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and US Open champion Naomi Osaka are nominated for breakthrough athletes of the year. Chloe Kim, Shaun White, and Austria’s Anna Gasser, the inaugural Olympic gold medalist in big air, are up for awards in the action sports category.

Four-time Paralympian Oksana Masters, who won two gold medals in PyeongChang, is nominated in the category of athletes with disabilities. 

A full list of nominees is below:

World Sportsman of the Year

Novak Djokovic (Serbia) Tennis

Lewis Hamilton (UK) Motor Racing

LeBron James (USA) Basketball

Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) Athletics

Kylian Mbappé (France) Football

Luka Modric (Croatia) Football

 

World Sportswoman of the Year

Simone Biles (USA) Gymnastics

Simona Halep (Romania) Tennis

Angelique Kerber (Germany) Tennis

Ester Ledecka (Czech Republic) Skiing / Snowboarding

Daniela Ryf (Switzerland) Ironman Triathlon

Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) Skiing

 

World Team of the Year

European Ryder Cup Team – Golf

France Men’s Football Team

Golden State Warriors (USA) Basketball

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team (Germany)

Norway Winter Olympics Team

Real Madrid (Spain) Football

 

World Breakthrough of the Year

Ana Carrasco (Spain) Motor Cycling

Sofia Goggia (Italy) Skiing

Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Norway) Athletics

Naomi Osaka (Japan) Tennis

Geraint Thomas (UK) Cycling

Briana Williams (Jamaica) Athletics

 

World Comeback of the Year

Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan) Skating

Mark McMorris (Canada) Snowboarding

Bibian Mentel-Spee (Netherlands) Snowboarding

Vinesh Phogat (India) Wrestling 

Lindsey Vonn (USA) Skiing

Tiger Woods (USA) Golf

 

World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

Henrieta Farkasova (Slovakia) Skiing

Diede de Groot (Netherlands) Wheelchair Tennis

Brian McKeever (Canada) Cross-country Skiing

Oksana Masters (USA) Cross-country Skiing

Grigorios Polychronidis (Greece) Boccia

Markus Rehm (Germany) Athletics

 

Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year

Maya Gabeira (Brazil) Surfing

Anna Gasser (Austria) Snowboarding

Stephanie Gilmore (Australia) Surfing

Chloe Kim (USA) Snowboarding

Gabriel Medina (Brazil) Surfing

Shaun White (USA) Snowboarding

Germany goes 1-2 at bobsled worlds; Kaillie Humphries breaks medals record

Kim Kalicki
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Kim Kalicki and Lisa Buckwitz gave Germany a one-two in the world bobsled championships two-woman event, while American Kaillie Humphries earned bronze to break the career medals record.

Kalicki, who was fourth at last year’s Olympics and leads this season’s World Cup standings, edged Buckwitz by five hundredths of a second combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Humphries, with push athlete Kaysha Love, was 51 hundredths behind.

Olympic champion Laura Nolte was in third place after two runs but crashed in the third run.

Humphries, 37 and a three-time Olympic champion between two-woman and monobob, earned her eighth world championships medal in the two-woman event. That broke her tie for the record of seven with retired German Sandra Kiriasis. Humphries is also the most decorated woman in world championships monobob, taking gold and silver in the two times it has been contested.

Humphries rolled her ankle after the first day of last week’s monobob, plus took months off training in the offseason while also doing two rounds of IVF.

“I chose to continue the IVF journey through the season which included a Lupron Depot shot the day before this race began,” she posted after her monobob silver last weekend. “My weight and body fluctuating all year with hormones, it was a battle to find my normal while competing again. I’m happy with this result, I came into it wanting a podium and we achieved it as a team.”

Love, who was seventh with Humphries in the Olympic two-woman event, began her transition to become a driver after the Games.

Worlds finish Sunday with the final two runs of the four-man event.

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Snowboarders sue coach, USOPC in assault, harassment case

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Olympic bronze medalist Rosey Fletcher has filed a lawsuit accusing former snowboard coach Peter Foley of sexually assaulting, harassing and intimidating members of his team for years, while the organizations overseeing the team did nothing to stop it.

Fletcher is a plaintiff in one of two lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday. One names Foley, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team and its former CEO, Tiger Shaw, as defendants. Another, filed by a former employee of USSS, names Foley, Shaw and the ski federation as defendants.

One of the lawsuits, which also accuse the defendants of sex trafficking, harassment, and covering up repeated acts of sexual assault and misconduct, allege Foley snuck into bed and sexually assaulted Fletcher, then shortly after she won her bronze medal at the 2006 Olympics, approached her “and said he still remembered ‘how she was breathing,’ referring to the first time he assaulted her.”

The lawsuits describe Foley as fostering a depraved travel squad of snowboarders, in which male coaches shared beds with female athletes, crude jokes about sexual conquests were frequently shared and coaches frequently commented to the female athletes about their weight and body types.

“Male coaches, including Foley, would slap female athletes’ butts when they finished their races, even though the coaches would not similarly slap the butts of male athletes,” the lawsuit said. “Physical assault did not stop with slapping butts. Notably, a female athlete once spilled barbeque sauce on her chest while eating and a male coach approached her and licked it off her chest without warning or her consent.”

The USOPC and USSS knew of Foley’s behavior but did nothing to stop it, the lawsuit said. It depicted Foley as an all-powerful coach who could make and break athletes’ careers on the basis of how they got along off the mountain.

Foley’s attorney, Howard Jacobs, did not immediately return requests for comment from The Associated Press. Jacobs has previously said allegations of sexual misconduct against Foley are false.

In a statement, the USOPC said it had not seen the complaint and couldn’t comment on specific details but that “we take every allegation of abuse very seriously.”

“The USOPC is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Team USA athletes, and we are taking every step to identify, report, and eliminate abuse in our community,” the statement said.

It wasn’t until the Olympics in Beijing last year that allegations about Foley’s behavior and the culture on the snowboarding team started to emerge.

Allegations posted on Instagram by former team member Callan Chythlook-Sifsof — who, along with former team member Erin O’Malley, is a plaintiff along with Fletcher — led to Foley’s removal from the team, which he was still coaching when the games began.

That posting triggered more allegations in reporting by ESPN and spawned an AP report about how the case was handled between USSS and the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which is ultimately responsible for investigating cases involving sex abuse in Olympic sports. The center has had Foley on temporary suspension since March 18, 2022.

The AP typically does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault unless they have granted permission or spoken publicly, as Fletcher, Chythlook-Sifsof and O’Malley have done through a lawyer.

USSS said it was made aware of the allegations against Foley on Feb 6, 2022, and reported them to the SafeSport center.

“We are aware of the lawsuits that were filed,” USSS said in a statement. “U.S. Ski & Snowboard has not yet been served with the complaint nor has had an opportunity to fully review it. U.S. Ski & Snowboard is and will remain an organization that prioritizes the safety, health and well-being of its athletes and staff.”

The lawsuits seek unspecified damages to be determined in a jury trial.