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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Asher Hong leads U.S. men’s gymnastics world team selection camp after first day

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Asher Hong, 18, posted the highest all-around score on the first of two days of competition at the U.S. men’s gymnastics selection camp to determine the last three spots on the team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Hong, bidding to become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009, totaled 84.6 points in Colorado Springs. He edged Colt Walker by one tenth. Tokyo Olympians Shane Wiskus (84.15) and Yul Moldauer (83.95) were next. Full apparatus-by-apparatus scores are here.

Brody Malone, who repeated as U.S. all-around champion at August’s national championships, and runner-up Donnell Whittenburg already clinched spots on the five-man team for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. They did not compete Monday, though their results from the first day of nationals are shown in the official scores.

The three remaining team spots will not necessarily go to the top three all-arounders at this week’s camp, which is supposed to be weighed equally with results from August’s nationals. Hong was third at nationals, but if excluding difficulty bonus points from that meet that will not be considered by the committee, would have finished behind Walker and Moldauer in August.

A selection committee is expected to announce the team soon after the second and final day of selection camp competition on Wednesday evening. The committee will look at overall scoring potential for the world team final, where three men go per apparatus, and medal potential in individual events.

Stephen Nedoroscik, who last year became the first American to win a world title on the pommel horse, is trying to make the team solely on that apparatus. He wasn’t at his best at nationals and struggled again on Monday, hurting his chances of displacing an all-arounder for one of the last three spots.

The U.S. has reason to emphasize the team event over individual medals at this year’s worlds. It will clinch an Olympic berth by finishing in the top three, and its medal hopes are boosted by the absence of the Russians who won the Olympic team title. All gymnasts from Belarus and Russia are banned indefinitely from international competition due to the war in Ukraine.

In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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