Periodically, SwimSwam is updating you on the biggest news around the Olympic and Paralympic world, outside of aquatic sports. Read on to learn about elite American gymnastics testifying on the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar investigation, Great Britain potentially losing an Olympic medal from Tokyo, and an Algerian judoka getting a 10-year ban.
U.S. Gymnasts Testify About FBI Handling of Nassar Investigation
Four elite American gymnasts — Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols — testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the FBI’s handling of its Larry Nassar investigation.
Nassar, a former team doctor, for decades abused athletes under the guise of medical treatment, and was later sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison in 2018. The gymnasts testified that it took well over a year for the FBI to begin investigating the charges against Nassar after it was first informed. Advocates said over 100 gymnasts may have been abused by Nassar during that time.
“It truly feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of its way to help protect USAG and USOPC,” an emotional Biles said. “We suffered and continue to suffer because no one at the FBI, USAG or USOPC did what was necessary to protect us.”
Biles said that she was determined to compete at the Tokyo Olympics to make sure that one of the survivors of Nassar’s abuse was present, despite the burden she had to carry through an extra year after the Games were postponed.
“As I have stated in the past, one thing that helped me push each and every day was the goal of not allowing this crisis to be ignored,” Biles, who withdrew from multiple events in Tokyo, said. “I worked incredibly hard to make sure that my presence could maintain a connection between the failures and the competition at Tokyo 2020.”
“In actuality, he turned out to be more of a pedophile than he was a doctor,” Maroney said.
Great Britain Set to Lose Olympic Relay Medal
Great Britain is likely getting stripped of the silver medal it won on the track in the men’s 4x100m relay at the Tokyo Olympics after one of the team members tested positive for multiple banned substances.
CJ Ujah was already suspended after his “A” sample came back positive last month, and earlier this week, his “B” sample tested positive as well. His first sample tested positive for Ostarine, an anabolic agent, and S-23, another selective androgen receptor modulator with similar properties to anabolic steroids.
The case has been referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s anti-doping unit.
Last month, Ujah released a statement maintaining he had unknowingly taken the substances. “To be absolutely clear, I am not a cheat and I have never and would never knowingly take a banned substance. I love my sport and I know my responsibilities both as an athlete and as a teammate.”
The other three members of the team were Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Black. The second-place finishers were behind the Italian team, who shocked the world with a squad that included Lamont Marcell Jacobs, the surprise winner of the men’s 100m dash earlier in the Games.
Great Britain won 65 medals in total at the Tokyo Olympics, including 22 gold, ranking fourth in the medal table behind the United States, China and Japan. If the relay team does get stripped of its medal, Canada will be bumped up to silver and China will be awarded bronze.
Judoka Fethi Nourine Banned 10 years
Fethi Nourine, an Algerian judoka, is banned from competition for 10 years after withdrawing from the Olympics ahead of a potential matchup with an Israeli opponent.
His coach, 2008 silver medalist and International Judo Federation Hall of Famer Amar Benikhlef, was also handed a 10-year ban.
After finding out he might face Israeli Tohar Butbul, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, in the second round of competition, Nourine pulled out of the Games on opening day. He and his coach told Algerian media he “quit to express support for Palestinians,” according to the Associated Press.
“It is evident the that the two Algerian judoka, with malicious intent, have used the Olympic Games as a platform for protest and promotion of political and religious propaganda, which is a clear and serious breach of the IJF Statutes, the IJF Code of Ethics and the Olympic Charter,” an IJF statement said. “Therefore, no other penalty than a severe suspension can be imposed in this case.”
Butbul ended up advancing straight to the Round of 16 because his first-round matchup Mohamaed Abdalrasool, of Sudan, also pulled out. (Abdalrasool told Butbul’s team he had an injury).