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Ex-Olympic medical chief cites reports of abuse for firing

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DENVER (AP) — A former sports medicine executive at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the federation, contending he was fired for urging managers to react more strongly to his concerns about abuse and other athlete-safety issues.

Bill Moreau, the former vice president of sports medicine, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Denver. He was fired in May 2019 after working for the USOPC for 10 years.

“This case is not only about the way the USOC treated me, it is also about protecting the athletes that the USOC has for far too long knowingly put in harm’s way,” Moreau said of the federation that recently changed its name from “USOC.”

The USOPC, which has often provided minimal context or comment in regard to litigation, put out a stronger statement regarding this lawsuit.

“We regret that Dr. Moreau and his attorney have misrepresented the causes of his separation from the USOPC,” said spokeswoman Luella Chavez D’Angelo. “We will honor their decision to see this matter through in the courts, and we won’t comment on the specifics as that goes forward.”

According to a news release detailing the lawsuit, Moreau “urged the USOC to end its practice of creating incomplete medical records for patients, thereby putting athlete-patients in danger. He pushed the USOC sports performance staff to stop wrongly accessing patients’ medical files, in violation of patients’ privacy rights.”

The lawsuit spells out a handful of cases Moreau said he brought to his supervisors’ attention, all of which he claims were handled inappropriately.

According to the lawsuit, those instances included:

—A case in which a 15-year-old Paralympic athlete was thinking about suicide after having sex with a 20-year-old athlete while they were in Iowa competing at the Drake Relays. Moreau said he informed his bosses about the statutory rape but they didn’t report it until three days after the 24-hour reporting period had ended.

—Moreau learned Olympic silver medalist Kelly Catlin had attempted suicide and stopped going to psychiatric care. He urged USOPC high-performance chief Rick Adams that the federation needed to provide Catlin help beyond what the group’s internal professionals were providing. Catlin took her life the day after Moreau brought his concerns to Adams a second time.

Since the Larry Nassar scandal, in which more than 350 women said he abused them, the USOPC has been under extensive scrutiny from Congress, which passed a law in 2018 that strengthened reporting requirements in cases of sexual abuse. Congress has also introduced a bill that would greatly increase its oversight of the federation. The Justice Department is looking into the USOPC’s handling of sex-abuse allegations over a span of decades, and two internally commissioned investigations have detailed the federation’s failures in protecting athletes.

Moreau, who holds a chiropractic degree, was fired in May 2019. According to the lawsuit, the USOPC told him he was fired because he didn’t have a doctor of medicine degree. His replacement was another chiropractor.

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

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Joey Mantia extends U.S. medal streak at speed skating worlds; Dutch dominance returns

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Joey Mantia ensured the host U.S. finished with a medal at the world single distances championships. Ireen WüstKjeld Nuis and Jorrit Bergsma ensured the Netherlands finished atop the medal standings.

Mantia joined Shani Davis as the only U.S. men to earn individual medals at three different editions of the championships, taking bronze in the 1500m on the last day of the speed skating meet at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Mantia won the mass start at the last two worlds in 2017 and 2019 (and finished fifth on Sunday, after the 1500m bronze).

Mantia clocked a personal best 1:42.16 in the fifth of 12 pairs of the 1500m. It held up until Nuis (1:41.66) and countryman Thomas Krol (1:41.73) in the last two pairs.

“Was starting to think that I’m so old that I can’t time trial anymore,” Mantia, a 34-year-old whose last 1500m personal best came in 2015, told media in Utah. “Maybe there’s a little bit of hope left.”

Mantia’s medal extended the U.S. streak of making the podium at every world championships this millennium — 16 straight. The single bronze is the smallest medal output since 2000.

Full results are here.

Wüst and Nuis gave the Dutch a sweep of the men’s and women’s 1500m titles, two years after they did the same at the PyeongChang Olympics. Bergsma, an Olympic and world 10,000m champion, earned his first global medal of any color — gold — in the 16-lap mass start.

The Netherlands failed to earn any golds on the first two days of the four-day competition. The dominant Dutch, who topped the medal standings at every Olympics and worlds dating to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, entered Sunday trailing Russia.

But Wüst began the day by clocking 1:50.92 to win the 1500m by .21 over Russian Yevgenia Lalenkova. American medal hope Brittany Bowe, the 2015 World champion who took bronze last year, finished 14th a day after taking eighth in her world-record 1000m distance.

Nuis and Krol went one-two in the men’s 1500m to tie Russia’s medal total. Then Irene Schouten took bronze in the women’s mass start to put the Netherlands ahead for good, followed by Bergsma’s capper.

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MORE: Shani Davis retires, takes new role in speed skating

Netherlands on the board; more world records at speed skating worlds

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It took four world records from other countries before the Netherlands won its first title in an Olympic program event at the world single distances speed skating championships.

Jutta Leerdam got the dominant skating nation on the board on the third day of the four-day competition and in the ninth Olympic program event. Leerdam scored an upset over defending champion and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, the American who ended up eighth.

Leerdam, 21, prevailed despite having zero World Cup podiums to her name. She clocked 1:11.84, just .23 slower than Bowe’s world record set on the same Utah Olympic Oval last year. Bowe, who recently had her yearlong win streak snapped in the 1000m, finished in 1:12.92.

“It’s a nightmare,” Bowe said, according to media on site.

Later, the Netherlands won the men’s team pursuit in a world record 3:34.68, the fifth world record in Olympic events the last two days on the world’s fastest ice at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Full results are here.

The world championships conclude Sunday, highlighted by American Joey Mantia defending his world title in the mass start.

In other Saturday events, both the men’s 1000m and women’s 5000m world records fell. On Friday, world records were lowered in the men’s 10,000m and women’s team pursuit.

Pavel Kulizhnikov followed his Friday world 500m title with the 1000m crown, repeating his double gold from 2016. Kulizhnikov was one of the Russians banned from the PyeongChang Olympics after he served a prior doping ban.

On Saturday, Kulizhnikov clocked 1:05.69 to take .49 off Dutchman Kjeld Nuis‘ record from last March, also set at Salt Lake City. Nuis, the Olympic 1000m and 1500m champion, took silver, 1.03 seconds behind.

Russian Natalya Voronina and Czech Martina Sablikova both went under Sablikova’s world record in the 5000m. Voronina came out on top in 6:39.02, 2.99 seconds faster than Sablikova’s record from a year ago and 2.16 seconds faster than Sablikova on Saturday.

Voronina’s time would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1993. Sablikova won the previous 10 world titles in the event dating to 2007.

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MORE: World Single Distances Championships broadcast schedule