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Back injury forces Lindsey Vonn to drop out of World Cup race

After injuring her back in a World Cup race Saturday, skiing champion Lindsey Vonn withdrew from another scheduled super-G event Sunday before the race was canceled because of fog.

>> Read more trending news

Vonn tweeted her decision 45 minutes before Sunday’s race was to start, saying she was focused on being healthy for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Vonn, 33, hurt her back during her run in Saturday’s super-G race, CNN reported. She made it to the bottom of the slope, but slumped to the snow after crossing the finish line.

Vonn later tweeted she had an "acute facet (spinal joint) dysfunction. I got compressed on the 6th gate and my back seized up,” CNN reported.

Vonn finished 24th in Saturday's race, more than a second behind winner Jasmine Flury of Switzerland.

The Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea will be held Feb. 9-25. The American star won the downhill title at the 2010 Vancouver Games but missed the 2014 Sochi Games because of injury.

USA Gymnastics doctor sentenced to 60-year prison term

A judge sentenced a Michigan sports doctor to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes, one of three criminal cases against a man who also has admitted to assaulting female gymnasts.

>> Read more trending news

Larry Nassar worked at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. Federal Judge Janet Neff followed the government’s recommended sentence Thursday. The Michigan sports doctor admitted he molested gymnasts and kept a staggering collection of child pornography — investigators found more than 37,000 images of child porn on Nassar’s electronic devices in 2016. Separately, he has pleaded guilty to molesting gymnasts with his hands in the Lansing, Michigan, area under the guise of treatment.

Neff said Nassar, 54, “should never again have access to children.”

In January, he will be sentenced for the cases related to his molestation of former gymnasts in his care.

IOC suspends Russia from 2018 Winter Olympics

The Russian Olympic team has been suspended from competing in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, several media outlets reported Tuesday. The International Olympic committee, however, opted to allow clean athletes to participate under the Olympic flag. 

>> Read more trending news

On its website, the IOC said Russian government officials are forbidden to attend the Games, the Russian flag will not be displayed during the opening ceremony, and its anthem will not be played. Any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals, The New York Times reported.

Russian athletes or teams will participate under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR),” ESPN reported. Their uniforms will bear this name and they will participate under the Olympic flag. The Olympic anthem will be played in any ceremony during which a Russian athlete wins a gold medal.

The IOC handed out the unprecedented suspension after completing investigations about Russia’s alleged doping violations, the Times reported. Tuesday's action was based on the findings of the IOC's Schmid Commission, formed in July 2016 to examine the role of Russian officials and institutions in organized doping, ESPN reported. The commission relied heavily on the testimony of former Moscow laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov.

The IOC ruled that Russia was guilty of executing a state-backed doping program. It did, however, leave the door open for Russian athletes who have passed rigorous drug tests to compete.

Those with histories of rigorous drug testing may petition for permission to compete in neutral uniforms. 

Rodchenkov's testimony, in concert with evidence unearthed and backed by forensic analysis in a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation, refute efforts by Russian government officials to distance themselves and portray Rodchenkov as a rogue actor, ESPN reported.

Hope Solo accuses former FIFA president of sexual assault

United States women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo accused former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of sexually assaulting her in 2013, ESPN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Solo told Expresso that Blatter grabbed her buttocks before the pair went on stage in 2013 to present an award to Solo’s teammate, Abby Wambach.

“It's been normalized,” Solo said of such behavior.

A representative for Blatter called the allegation “ridiculous” in a statement to Expresso and The Guardian.

Solo and Blatter walked onstage together in January 2013 to present the 2012 women's world player of the year award to Wambach.

“I was in shock and completely thrown off," Solo told The Guardian on Friday. “I had to quickly pull myself together to present my teammate with the biggest award of her career and celebrate with her in that moment, so I completely shifted my focus to Abby.”

Solo said she never saw Blatter again after the ceremony, ESPN reported. 

“That was kind of bad,” she told Expresso. “I didn't get to tell him directly. ‘Don't ever touch me!’ That's the way I've always handled things. Directly.”

Blatter, now 81, was banned by FIFA in 2015 over a conflict of interest case.

“While in this instance it was Sepp Blatter, who was the most powerful man in football at the time, sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior are rampant at every level in women's sport, and it needs to stop,” Solo said.

 

Report: Olympic medalist Aly Raisman claims she was sexually abused by team doctor

Aly Raisman, a six-time Olympic medalist in gymnastics and a two-time national team captain, said she was sexually abused by former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, CBS News reported. 

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In an interview that will be aired on “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Raisman, 23, accuses Nassar of sexual abuse. Nassar already faces 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and could receive a life sentence in prison, ESPN reported.

More than 140 women are now suing Nassar and his former employer, Michigan State University. Attorneys for the alleged victims, USA Gymnastics, the school and other parties to the lawsuit are engaged in court-ordered mediation in an effort to reach a settlement.

Raisman, who was also captain of the 2012 Games in London, is the second member of the "Fierce Five" U.S. women's gymnastics team -- and third Olympian overall -- to allege abuses by Nassar, ESPN reported. McKayla Maroney alleged abuse by Nassar dating back to 2009, when she was just 13.

Raisman told “60 Minutes” that she spoke to FBI investigators after serving as national team captain at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In the interview, Raisman said she didn't know why it took so long for allegations against Nassar to come forward.

"Why are we looking at why didn't the girls speak up? Why not look at what about the culture?" she said on “60 Minutes.” 

“What did USA Gymnastics do, and Larry Nassar do, to manipulate these girls so much that they are so afraid to speak up?” she said.

Raisman discusses her experiences in a new book, “Fierce,” CBS News reported. The book will be released on Nov. 14.

“I'm really upset because it's been -- I care a lot you know, when I see these young girls that come up to me, and they ask for pictures or autographs, whatever it is, I just -- I can't -- every time I look at them, every time I see them smiling, I just think -- I just want to create change so that they never, ever have to go through this,” Raisman said on “60 Minutes.”

USA Gymnastics, in a statement to "60 Minutes," said it was "very sorry that any athlete has been harmed" and that "we want to work with Aly and all interested athletes to keep athletes safe."

 

Olympian John Carlos, who raised fist at ’68 Games, would ‘take a knee’

Nearly 50 years ago, it wasn’t a bent knee but a raised fist that shocked the nation.

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John Carlos, then a bronze medalist in the 200 meters during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, joined fellow American Olympian Tommie Smith in protesting the way blacks and others who were disenfranchised were treated in the United States.

They did so by raising their fists skyward in the Black Power salute.

It’s not unlike today’s controversy surrounding former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other professional athletes who have taken a knee during the national anthem. Kaepernick was protesting police killings of African-Americans.

President Donald Trump has blasted those National Football League players who take a knee. During a recent rally in Alabama for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Luther Strange, the president said NFL owners should respond by saying: “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”

Trump and others say the players are showing disrespect for the flag, the country and the military.

Carlos said the gesture was for all human rights.

“We were tired of being second-class citizens,” said Carlos, 72. “We were tired of the living conditions, tired of drugs running through the neighborhood — they weren’t going through Beverly Hills and Malibu. They were going through Harlem and the South Side of Chicago. We were tired of the housing situation in terms of blacks getting decent housing, and we were tired of the police harassing black people.”

Smith could not be reached for comment. Peter Norman, of Australia, who won the silver, wanted to show his solidarity. He wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge. Norman faced scorn when he returned to Australia, which was also dealing with criticism for its treatment of Aboriginals. He died in 2006.

It was a turbulent time in the United States. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been gunned down that April as he stood on the balcony of a Memphis hotel. His assassination was followed by riots and protests across the country. Opposition to the Vietnam War was growing.

Carlos, who now lives in Clayton County, Georgia, remembers that moment vividly and the firestorm that followed.

He said he and Smith had talked about a way to protest what was happening at home. That moment came while on the podium.

Carlos said people in the stadium had started to applaud. That stopped when he and Smith bowed their heads and raised their fists.

“There was a deafening silence,” he said. “Everybody was stunned. Then they started screaming. They were going to shove it down our throats.”

International Olympic Committee President Avery Brundage criticized the athletes’ actions, which he called “outrageous.”

According to an article in The New York Times, the two athletes were told “that they must leave the Olympic Village. Their credentials were also taken away, which made it mandatory for them to leave Mexico within 48 hours.”

It wasn’t any better when Carlos returned to the states, where he said he and his family went through hell.

There were threats. He was investigated by authorities. His children were targeted by faculty members once it became known Carlos was their father.

“Let me tell you something, when you make a statement for humanity, you become this sacrificial lamb,” said Carlos, who later played professional football. “Your life is already secondary to the image you want to leave. They could take my life, but they could never erase that image. Once it’s done, it’s done and you’ve got to live with it.”

The Rev. Timothy McDonald III, the senior pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, remembers that day well. He was a 14-year-old student and member of the Youth Black Panther Party in Brunswick, Georgia.

“It was the talk of the town,” McDonald said. “Did you see? Did you see? Yes, I saw.”

That moment “symbolized the kind of pride that was different than anything else,” he said. “The intersection of athletics and politics goes back a long way. That point in history sent a loud message to America — not just black America — but to all America that we’re here, we matter and we make a difference.”

Gold medalist Mel Pender Jr. was also on the U.S. team in 1968.

Pender, 79, who lives in Kennesaw, Georgia, roomed with Carlos.

He was in the military at the time, and while he didn’t participate in that protest, he understood the aim.

“Here we are representing our country, winning gold medals for America, and when we go home we don’t have the same privileges and opportunities as whites and it’s still that way,” he said. He considers the United States “one of the greatest countries in the world,” but he is bothered by the reaction to Kaepernick, who was trying to make a statement with a peaceful protest.

“This is America, but we have police brutality in this country and we have discrimination in this country,” said Pender, who co-authored a book, “Expression of Hope: The Mel Pender Story,” with his wife, Debbie. “I still want to see everybody live in harmony, but I have to wonder, will it ever happen?”

Today, Carlos is a staunch defender of those other athletes who are taking a knee during the anthem. He also has spoken out in support of Black Lives Matter.

He said he would “definitely” take a knee today. It’s not about a “piece of cloth, it’s about the social injustices in society and the inequities of black people in this country.”

He criticized Trump’s comments about those who are taking a knee. He said Trump ran a divisive campaign and has done little since he’s been in office to build unity.

“Donald Trump is playing with people’s lives,” he said. “It’s the same rhetoric he used during the campaign. As a black man, my kids can go out to play and not come home. A black woman can drive through Texas and not come home. White people don’t have to worry about that. Everything changes in time, but the oppression hasn’t changed.”

He said before Trump questions anyone’s patriotism, he wants to see his discharge papers from the military.

“I demand to see his son’s discharge papers from the military,” Carlos said. “I demand his daddy’s discharge papers.”

Carlos added: “People need to find their moral compass. You can’t be neutral anymore. You have to step up.”

Once you do, though, he said “The haters will come out to discredit you and lambaste you.”

Los Angeles to host 2028 Summer Olympics; Paris wins 2024 Games

The city of Los Angeles will host the Summer Olympics in 2028 instead of the 2024 Games, as previously considered, The Associated Press confirmed Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the International Olympic Committee was expected to make an announcement confirming the news last month.

It will be the city’s third time hosting the event. Los Angeles previously hosted the Games in 1932 and again in 1984. 

>> Read more trending news 

The last time the Games took place on American soil was in 2002, when the Winter Games took place in Salt Lake City. Before that, the most recent Games hosted in the U.S. were in Atlanta during the summer of 1996.

According to the AP, this year marks the first time in history the IOC, which also announced the Paris 2024 Summer Games, has granted two Summer Olympics at once.

The decision came after deliberations in which Pyeongchang and Los Angeles were the final two cities considered for the 2024 Summer Games, and the IOC “couldn’t bear to see either lose,” the AP reported.

The following cities have won bids for upcoming Olympic Games: 

  • Pyeongchang -- Winter Games 2018
  • Tokyo -- Summer Games 2020
  • Beijing -- Winter Games 2022
  • Paris -- Summer Games 2024
  • Los Angeles -- Summer Games 2028

Read more at The Associated Press. 

Michael Phelps and wife Nicole expecting second child

Olympian Michael Phelps and his wife, Nicole (née Johnson) Phelps, are expecting a second child together and shared the news Tuesday with several happy posts to fans on Instagram.

>> WATCH: Michael Phelps races great white shark ... sort of

“Lil mans going to be a Big Brother!!!” Nicole wrote. She was all smiles wearing shorts and a black tee and holding her son, Boomer, who had the positive pregnancy test in his hand.

>> See the post here

The proud papa shared the same image of his little family on his own Instagram account, writing, “Number 2 on the way!!!! So excited!! Wonder if it’s a boy or a girl??”

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Boomer Phelps posted a tribute to his little brother or sister on Instagram to his 795,000 fans with a image of the pregnancy test and a big smile on his face.

“So excited to see what mama is having!! Do I get to have a brother or a sister?!?” his parents wrote in the caption.

>> See the post here

Boomer Phelps stole the hearts of Americans as he cheered his father on from the stands during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Nicole and Michael Phelps wed in a top-secret ceremony in June 2016, had a public wedding the following October and threw a bash with family and friends to celebrate their union on New Year’s Eve 2016.

WATCH: Michael Phelps races great white shark ... sort of

Michael Phelps may be fast, but apparently not as fast as a great white shark.

>> Read more trending news

In Discovery's highly anticipated Shark Week special "Phelps vs Shark: Great Gold vs Great White," the 28-time Olympic medalist wore a special wetsuit and monofin to take on a great white – well, sort of – in a 100-meter race.

>> Watch the clip here

Unfortunately for fans, Phelps, with a time of 38.1 seconds, lost by 2 seconds. But that wasn't the biggest disappointment: Instead of facing a real shark, Phelps was shown alongside a computer simulation of a great white. The shark's "time" in the race was based on speed data collected by scientists.

Fans were not amused.

 ‘Kissing defense’ leads to reversal of sprinter’s drug ban

“Kiss and tell” turned out to be a winning defense for Olympic gold medal sprinter Gil Roberts.

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Roberts, who was suspended in May for a positive drug test, had that ban lifted by an arbitrator, ESPN reported. The arbitrator upheld Roberts’ contention that the drug was in his system due to the frequent and passionate kissing of his girlfriend.

Roberts was part of the United States’ 4-by-400 relay team that won a gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In March he tested positive for the drug probenecid, and two months later the United States Anti-Doping Agency said Roberts’ B sample also tested positive for the drug, which is a masking agent.

Roberts’ girlfriend, Alex Salazar, was taking the drug Moxylong for a sinus infection, ESPN reported. Roberts and Salazar told the arbitrator that they “kissed frequently and passionately,” including on March 24, the day Roberts was originally tested, ESPN reported.

Roberts testified he did not know that kissing his girlfriend would lead to a positive drug test.

“It must have been like lightning out of a clear blue sky for (Roberts) to learn that by kissing his girlfriend this time that he was exposing himself to a banned substance,” the USADA said in its ruling.

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