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Larry Probst, USOC chairman, to step down

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USOC chairman Larry Probst will step down from the board at the end of the year after 10 years as chair, succeeded by independent board member Susanne Lyons, the USOC acting CEO earlier this year.

“Serving as chairman of the USOC board of directors has been an extraordinary honor and I’m proud of the work we did during my tenure to support American athletes, and advance the Olympic and Paralympic movements,” Probst said in a press release. “I became chairman at a difficult time for the USOC and worked diligently with my colleagues here in the U.S., and around the world, to change the USOC for the better. It’s now time for a new generation of leaders to confront the challenges facing the organization and I have the utmost confidence in Susanne’s and Sarah’s ability to do just that.”

Probst was first elected chairman in 2008, then reelected in 2012 and 2016.

Probst, whose IOC membership is tied to his USOC role, said he will meet with IOC president Thomas Bach later this month as he looks for ways he may stay involved in the Olympic Movement.

Lyons was acting CEO from Feb. 28-Aug. 20, replacing Scott Blackmun, until Sarah Hirshland took over as permanent CEO.

Blackmun stepped down after eight years as CEO in February, citing difficulties with prostate cancer and the federation’s need to urgently move forward to address the sex abuse scandal that has rocked gymnastics.

Lyons was first elected to the board in December 2010 and will serve a four-year term as chair starting Jan. 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Serena Williams treated differently than men in U.S. Open final, WTA CEO says

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Serena Williams argued that a male player would have been treated differently in her U.S. Open final episode Saturday. The WTA agrees.

“The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same,” WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement Sunday. “We do not believe that this was done last night.”

Among Williams’ arguments with chair umpire Carlos Ramos was contesting her third code violation, verbal abuse, after she called Ramos a liar and a thief for an earlier violation for her coach’s illegal coaching from the stands.

“You know how many other men do things that are much worse than that? This is not fair,” Williams insisted when talking to tournament referee Brian Earley and WTA supervisor Donna Kelso on the during the final with Naomi Osaka. “There are men out here that do a lot worse, but because I’m a woman, you’re going to take this away from me? That is not right.”

Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said after the match that he was coaching Williams, though he didn’t think Williams was looking at him at the time Ramos called the violation. Regardless, Mouratoglou said all coaches break the rule, and it had never been enforced on him before the U.S. Open final.

“[Saturday] also brought to the forefront the question of whether different standards are applied to men and women in the officiating of matches,” Simon said in the statement. “We also think the issue of coaching needs to be addressed and should be allowed across the sport. The WTA supports coaching through its on-court coaching rule, but further review is needed.”

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Kristina Vogel, Olympic track cycling champion, paralyzed after crash

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German track cyclist Kristina Vogel learned she is paralyzed after a June training crash, according to Der Spiegel.

“It is s—, there’s no other way to put it,” Vogel said, according to a Reuters translation. “No matter how you package it, I can’t walk anymore.

“But I believe that the sooner you accept a new situation, the sooner you learn to deal with it,”

Vogel, a 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist, had suffered a spine injury in a June 26 crash in Cottbus.

The DPA news agency reported that she fell onto a concrete track following a high-speed collision with another cyclist.

The German Cycling Federation (BDR) said Vogel had been training with Pauline Grabosch, and that she accelerated when Grabosch left the track – only to collide with another unidentified cyclist who entered suddenly.

Vogel, 27 and an 11-time world champion, also had a serious accident in May 2009, when she was knocked off her bike by a vehicle. She suffered severe injuries and was placed in an artificial coma for two days.

But she returned three years later to win the team sprint for Germany with Miriam Welte at the London Olympics. Vogel became the first German to win gold in the sprint in Rio four years later despite a broken saddle.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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