With the Olympic Games set to kick off at the end of July, preparations for the Games are beginning in all sports, not just in swimming. In this series, SwimSwam looks at some of the leading news from outside of swimming as athletes around the world continue to prepare and qualify for the rescheduled Olympic Games which are due to begin in Tokyo on July 23rd, and Paralympic Games, which are scheduled to begin August 24th.
United States Fencer, Alen Hadzic, Kept Out of Olympic Village After Being Accused of Sexual Misconduct
An alternate in the epee for Team USA fencing in Tokyo, Alen Hadzic is staying outside of the Olympic Village in a hotel due to multiple sexual harassment claims that have been brought against him. After losing an appeal process that ended on Thursday, Hadzic was ordered to remain at the hotel where he is being housed, 30 minutes away from his team in the Olympic Village.
After qualifying for the Olympic team in June, Hadzic was given a temporary suspension by the US Center for SaeSport following three women’s testimonies that he had committed sexual misconduct. After having his suspension overturned by an arbitrator, he was allowed to join USA Fencing in Tokyo, albeit while being separate from the team.
According to Hadzic’s attorney, USA Fencing has been aware of the allegations against him for multiple years while he has represented the US in international competition.
Algerian Judo Athlete Pulls Out of Games to Avoid Fighting Israeli Athlete
After the tournament bracket was announced, Algerian athlete Fethi Nourine was set to face off against Tohar Butbul of Israel if he was able to come away with a win in his first round matchup. Due to Butbul’s conflicting political opinion, Nourine announced that he would not be competing and withdrew from the games to avoid facing him.
Nourine spoke to an Algerian television station this week, stating that, due to his political support of Palestinian, he could not compete against an Israeli athlete. According to Nourine, “We worked a lot to reach the Olympics, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this.” He went on to say that his decision to not compete was final, and that he would not “get his hands dirty” by fighting an Israeli.
This is the second time that Nourine has pulled out of a tournament in order to avoid fighting an Israeli athlete. In 2019 he withdrew from the World Championship, also held in Tokyo, for the same reason.
USA Women Drop First Match in Nearly Two Years to Sweden
With women’s soccer competition beginning prior to the Opening Ceremony of the Games, the United States lost it’s first competition in 21 months, falling by a score of 3-0 against Sweden. The game was the first time that the team has been shut out in over four years, and the first time it has lost by more than two goals since falling to Brazil 4-0 in 2007.
This isn’t the first time in recent memory that the US has fallen to Sweden while competing. Five years ago, at the Games in 2016, the team fell to Sweden in the quarterfinals, dashing their hopes and claiming gold.
Softball Put on Alert Due to Bear Spotting Near Olympic Venue
As the United States softball team prepared to face off against Canada in their second competition of the Games, the two teams and employees were placed on alert after the second sighting of a brown bear near the Fukushima Asuma Baseball Stadium.
Prior to their 1-0 victory over Canada, a second brown bear was spotted for the second time this week within the Azuma Sports Park, home of baseball and softball competition over the next few weeks. While the area has been searched, authorities were unable to locate the bear prior to the first pitch. This is softball’s first appearance at the Olympics since 2008, having not been contested at the last two editions of the Games.