John Zimmerman, figure skating coach and Olympian, suspended by SafeSport

John Zimmerman
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Figure skating coach John Zimmerman has been suspended by the U.S. Center for SafeSport for a coverup of an alleged sexual abuse incident involving two of his students.

Zimmerman, inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame, is a 2002 Olympian who won three U.S. pairs championships and a world bronze medal with skating partner Kyoko Ina. He can appeal the decision, which could carry as much as a two-year ban.

The suspension, announced Tuesday by SafeSport on its website, detailed the charges as an abuse of process, emotional misconduct and failure to report an incident. USA Today first reported the suspension. SafeSport investigates sexual abuse in Olympic sports.

Zimmerman, 47, will be barred from any skating events run by the U.S. federation or Olympic committee, and also prohibited from attending any facility run by those groups.

The alleged incidents took place in Florida and involved French pairs skater Morgan Cipres, who was coached by Zimmerman. Cipres was investigated by SafeSport for allegedly sending lewd photos in 2017 to a 13-year-old female skater also coached by Zimmerman.

SafeSport looked into accusations from the girl’s parents that Zimmerman intimidated her in an effort to silence her because Cipres and his pairs partner, Vanessa James, were headed for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Cipres, who lives in France, and Zimmerman have previously declined to comment on the allegations.

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Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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