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Written by Travis Seefried    Saturday, 03 March 2018 17:24    PDF Print
Moldauer, Hurd Win American Cup Titles
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL.—In her first competition of 2018, world champion Morgan Hurd of the United States proved that winning the all-around in Montreal was no fluke. With a new found confidence and upgrades on three of her four events, Hurd defeated reigning world floor champion Mai Murakami of Japan and two-time U.S. Junior Champion Maile O'Keefe to take her first American Cup title.

2018 American Cup champions Yul Moldauer and Morgan Hurd (United States)

In a crowd of almost 4,000 in the Sears Centre, Hurd placed first on bars, beam and floor on her way to the all-around crown and an impressive 56.599 four event total. "I feel ecstatic!" Hurd said after the meet. "Following worlds, I went home and I didn't stop working hard. And now, my hard work is paying off."

Murakami, 2016 Olympian and fourth all-around at the last worlds, also turned in four solid routines to finish second. Murakami showed the same routine and tumbling she used last fall to win the world title on that event. She shared the floor title this weekend with Hurd (14.033). She also tied for first on vault with O'Keefe with scores of 14.600 for beautifully executed Yurchenko-double fulls.

Despite several errors in her senior debut, O'Keefe won the bronze thanks in part to strong vault and floor routines and costly errors from the rest of the field. She did show tremendous difficulty and potential on all four events and will definitely be one to watch in the months ahead to the U.S. nationals and this fall's World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Rounding out the women's field were Lorette Chirpy (France), Kelly Simm (Great Britain), veteran and fan-favorite Elisabeth Seitz (Germany), who tied Hurd's top bar score of a 14.20, and the always entertaining and elegant Brooklyn Moors (Canada). Fabiane Valentin (Brazil) and Mao Yi (China) both withdrew after vault, with Mao being carried out on a stretcher.

The University of Oklahoma's Yul Moldauer easily defended his American Cup title from last year to become the first man to win back-to-back titles since fellow Sooner Jonathan Horton did so in 2006 and 2007.

Though he led the field on only one event, still rings (14.333), Moldauer competed aggressive, consistent routines with clean execution to easily top the field by almost three points. He scored an impressive 85.964 and placed in the top three on every event.

Finishing second all-around was 2017 European Championships bronze medalist James Hall of Great Britain (83.297). Hall showed consistency on all six apparatus as well, and added the event titles on pommel horse (14.166) and high bar (13.866).

Ukraine's Petro Pakhniuk finished just over two tenths behind Hall with an 83.064. Like his countryman and American Cup favorite, Oleg Vernyayev, Pakhniuk excelled on the parallel bars earning an event high 14.933.

Pre-meet favorite to challenge Moldauer for the all-around, Olympic and world champion Kenzo Shirai of Japan recorded the two highest scores of the entire competition on floor and vault (14.966 and 15.066 respectively). However, falls from pommel horse and high bar left him in sixth place finish.

The rest of the men's roster included Phillipp Herder (Germany), Allan Bower (USA), Sun Wei (China), Francisco Barretto Junior (Brazil) and Nestor Abad (Spain).

The 2018 American Cup served as the first of four in a series of FIG World Cup all-around competitions to be held throught the year. This was also the first major competition to be held in the United States since the Larry Nassar hearing and the restructuring of USA Gymnastics.


Written by Amanda Turner    Friday, 02 March 2018 15:27    PDF Print
Fragapane 'Heartbroken' After Achilles Tear
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

British star Claudia Fragapane has suffered a torn Achilles' tendon and will miss the upcoming Commonwealth Games, the 2016 Olympian announced on Friday.

British star Claudia Fragapane has suffered a torn Achilles' tendon and will miss the upcoming Commonwealth Games, the 2016 Olympian announced on Friday.

Fragapane, the defending Commonwealth Games champion, won't get a chance to defend her title at next month's games in Gold Coast, Australia.

"Yesterday I was on floor and I felt something go on take off and sadly I have snapped my Achilles," Fragapane posted on Twitter. "I feel so upset and heartbroken. Words can't describe how I'm feeling right now!"

Fragapane, who turned 20 on October 24, was the breakout star of the gymnastics competition at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where her four gold medals (team, all-around, vault and floor exercise) was a first for an English female at the Games since 1930.

Fragapane is a two-time world championship medalist, winning bronze medals with the British team in 2015 in Glasgow and on floor exercise last fall in Montreal. On February 21, she was named to England's Commonwealth Games squad, along Amy Tinkler, Alice Kinsella, Georgia-Mae Fenton and Kelly Simm.

Fragapane's injury is another blow to Team England that has already lost Olympians Becky and Ellie Downie to injuries in the past month. Ellie Downie, the reigning European champion, was forced to withdraw from the upcoming Birmingham World Cup with an ankle injury and was replaced by Tinkler.

After her announcement, Fragapane said she was touched by all the messages of support she had received.

"[Heartbroken] for our team pocket rocket but your our pocket rocket for a reason & I know you'll be back stronger than ever @claudia_frag," Becky Downie tweeted.

"@claudia_frag I am absolutely heart broken for you. Sending you so much love right now ❤️ Keep being your positive self, you will be back in no time. Love you frags xxx," Simm tweeted from Chicago, where she is scheduled to compete Saturday in the American Cup.

After helping the British women place fifth at the 2016 Olympic Games, Fragapane starred on the popular BBC series Strictly Come Dancing.

"I don't know when I will be back competing again," Frapagane wrote, "but I have the greatest people around me that will help me recover mentally and physically. This won't be the end for me. I will come back stronger."

Fragapane will also miss the upcoming British Gymnastics Championships, which return to Liverpool March 8-11, and likely this year's European championships in Glasgow. For the first time, the European championships will be part of a multi-sport games, which gymnastics sharing the stage with several other sports in August.

Update: Alice Kinsella will replace Fragapane in the Birmingham World Cup, March 21-22.

Written by Amanda Turner    Friday, 02 March 2018 09:28    PDF Print
Raisman Sues USOC, USAG: 'I Refuse to Wait Any Longer'
(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

Two-time U.S. Olympic gymnastics team captain Aly Raisman filed a civil suit Wednesday against the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics over the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Two-time U.S. Olympic gymnastics team captain Aly Raisman filed a civil suit Wednesday against the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics over the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of former team doctor Larry Nassar.

"I refuse to wait any longer for these organizations to do the right thing," Raisman said in a statement. "It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed."

Raisman, 23, filed a suit in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Wednesday against the USOC, USA Gymnastics and Nassar, along with former USAG CEO Steve Penny and former USAG Chairman of the Board Paul Parilla.

The complaint alleges that the USOC was "aware, at the highest levels of its organization, that Defendant Nassar had molested Olympic and National Team level gymnasts who participated with Defendant USAG."

The Massacchusetts native is represented by California attorney John Manly, who also represents her former teammates McKayla Maroney, Mattie Larson and Maggie Nichols, as well as the first gymnast to file a lawsuit in the Nassar case, 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher. Raisman states that as a result of the abuse she suffers from anxiety and depression.

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun resigned Wednesday, citing health reasons. Blackmun had resisted calls to step down and maintained he and the USOC acted appropriately concerning Nassar and USA Gymnastics, but continued pressure and more revelations about sex abuse rampant in Olympic sports continue to plague the USOC.

"It has become painfully clear that these organizations have no intention of properly addressing this problem," Raisman said in her statement. "After all this time, they remain unwilling to conduct a full investigation, and without a solid understanding of how this happened, it is delusional to think sufficient changes can be implemented."

The six-time Olympic medalist has emerged as a leader off the competition floor and fierce advocate for survivors of sexual abuse, change in sports and body positivity. She publicly spoke up on USA Gymnastics' record of handling sexual abuse in the sport even prior to revealing last fall that she too had been sexually assaulted by the once-respected team doctor, who manipulated his patients into believing he was providing legitimate osteopathic treatment to relieve their pain.

In January, Raisman's blistering victim impact statement delivered at Nassar's first state sentencing hearing in Michigan was a rallying cry at a hearing full of shocking and heartbreaking stories of abuse and destroyed lives. She was one of 256 survivors who delivered statements at two hearings in Michigan in January and February.

"I am here to face you, Larry, so you can see I have regained my strength, that I am no longer a victim," Raisman told him. "I am a survivor."

Raisman revealed that treatments with the team doctor, who was even allowed to come to their rooms unaccompanied, were mandatory for the members of the U.S. women's gymnastics team. She attacked the USOC and USA Gymnastics for their negligence and passive response to the tragedy.

"I have represented the United States of America in two Olympics and have done so successfully," Raisman said. "And both USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee have been very quick to capitalize and celebrate my success. But did they reach out when I came forward? No."

Raisman mocked the leadership of USA Gymnastics CEO Kerry Perry, who had only briefly attended the hearing in Lansing, Michigan, and thus was not there when she and 2012 Olympic teammate Jordyn Wieber delivered their statements. She accused USA Gymnastics of "rotting from the inside" and called on Ingham County Judge Rosemarie E. Aquilina to sentence Nassar to the maximum term in prison and but call for an independent investigation.

"And please, your Honor, stress the need to investigate how this happened so that we can hold accountable those who empowered and enabled Larry Nassar, so we can repair and, once again, believe in this wonderful sport," Raisman told the judge, who eventually sentenced Nassar to 175 of the 300 years he faces in prison. "My dream is that one day, everyone will know what the words 'me too' signify, but they will be educated and able to protect themselves from predators like Larry so that they will never, ever, ever have to say the words 'me too.'"

Written by Amanda Turner    Thursday, 01 March 2018 18:02    PDF Print
First Male Victim Files Suit in Nassar Case
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

A male gymnast who alleges he was sexually abused by Larry Nassar after the former doctor left USA Gymnastics has become the first male victim to file suit against Nassar, USAG, Michigan State University and others in the worst sexual abuse case in sports history.

A male gymnast who alleges he was sexually abused by Larry Nassar after the former doctor left USA Gymnastics has become the first male victim to file suit against Nassar, USAG, Michigan State University and others in the worst sexual abuse case in sports history.

In one of six amended complaints filed Wednesday in federal court, Jacob Moore joined his elder sister Kamerin Moore as a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit Denhollander et al v Michigan State University et al. While delivering her victim impact statement at Nassar's first state sentencing hearing in January, Kamerin Moore, a former U.S. national team member, accused Nassar of also sexually assaulting her younger brother under the guise of medical treatment.

Moore's allegation is the first known instance of Nassar abusing a male; according to the Michigan Attorney General's Office, more than 300 people had come forward to file complaints against him as of early February. Nassar, who was stripped of his medical license in April 2017, has been sentenced to a combined 300 years in prison by three judges. He is currently serving a 60-year sentence in a maximum-security federal prison in Tucson on child pornography charges.

According to the complaint, Jacob Moore sought treatment from Nassar for shoulder pain in April 2016, when he was still 15. The lawsuit alleges that the doctor administered acupuncture to the teenager's "pubic area and in and around his genitalia ostensibly for the purpose of treating his shoulder pain."

The lawsuit also alleges that Nassar pulled down Moore's pants and exposed him to a minor female gymnast, who was also present at the time. Nassar "discussed the fact that he was exposing Plaintiff Jacob Moore to the minor female gymnast with the minor gymnast."

When Kamerin Moore spoke at the sentencing hearing, she described her brother suffering shock and emotional distress after only recently realizing there was no legitimate medical benefit to what Nassar had inflicted upon him. Her brother, she said, had scoured the Internet in vain in the hope that there was a real medical link between the pubic region and shoulder that would have justified any use of acupuncture to reduce shoulder pain.

Jacob Moore, who turns 19 on May 29, was a member of the U.S. men's junior national team from 2015-17. He is now a freshman at the University of Michigan and member of the Wolverines gymnastics team.

The assault on Moore occurred approximately 10 months after USA Gymnastics was alerted that Nassar had sexually assaulted Maggie Nichols; Nichols and her coach, Sarah Jantzi, reported him to USA Gymnastics in June 2015. USA Gymnastics now denies that Nichols or her coach ever reported she was sexually assaulted in June 2015 and now claim she only complained she was "uncomfortable" by Nassar's treatment.

USA Gymnastics claimed it reported Larry Nassar to the FBI in July 2015. Nassar announced publicly he was retiring from USA Gymnastics in September 2015. However, he continued practicing medicine for a year. He was suspended from his job by Michigan State University on August 30, 2016, one day after Rachael Denhollander reported to the MSU Police that he had sexually assaulted her in 2000, when she was a teenaged gymnast, while claiming he was performing a valid osteopathic procedure to treat her back pain. On September 12, The Indianapolis Star printed Denhollander's account of sexual assault, the news that a 2000 Olympian (since identified as Jamie Dantzscher) had filed a civil suit in California alleging assault by the former USA Gymnastics team doctor and that a third gymnast had contacted the newspaper to share a similar story of assault. The number of women reporting they had endured the same soon reached double digits, and Nassar was fired from Michigan State University on September 20, 2016.

Now a lawyer, Denhollander was the first to file a federal lawsuit against Nassar and Michigan State University in January 2017 and has since been joined by more 150 other plaintiffs. There are multiple lawsuits linked together, with some plaintiffs suing different defendants.

Nassar has defaulted in the civil suits by failing to mount a defense, but the other defendants have filed motions to dismiss. In addition to Nassar, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, the defendants include the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, multiple individuals at MSU, the Twistars USA club and its former owner, 2012 U.S. Olympic head coach John Geddert. Geddert, who announced his retirement from coaching last month after being suspended by USA Gymnastics, has been accused of ignoring reporting reports of Nassar's abuse since 1998 and even making a joke about it after allegedly witnessing Nassar sexually assaulting a minor.

The lawsuits list dozens of charges against the various defendants related to violation of civil rights, negligence and fraud. On Wednesday, the second amended complaint brought by Katherine Payne, Maureen Baum, Katherine Rasmussen, Melissa Imrie, Jane G2 Doe, and Jane G3 Doe accuse USA Gymnastics, Twistars, Geddert and Nassar of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly known as RICO (18 United States Code §1964). The lawsuit alleges that through their actions, the defendants essentially formed an enterprise for mutual financial benefit and "engaged in racketeering activity to wit sex trafficking of children by fraud."

According to the complaint, "The purpose of the Enterprise in part was to create a system by which Defendant Nassar was enabled to engage in commercial sex acts with young gymnasts through a fraudulent representation that he was engaged in legitimate medical treatment. The Enterprise engaged in fraud by either knowingly or with reckless disregard of the truth, affirmatively representing to gymnasts and the public at large that Defendant Nassar was a competent and ethical physician."

The amended complaints include more than a dozen new plaintiffs, some of whom were members of the U.S. junior and senior national teams. Jane A93 Doe is a current member of the national team.

Written by Amanda Turner    Thursday, 01 March 2018 13:42    PDF Print
2021 World Gymnastics Championships Awarded to Copenhagen
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

The 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships have been awarded to Copenhagen, Denmark, the International Gymnastics Federation announced Thursday. Pictured: The new Royal Arena, which opened in February 2017, will be the venue for the 2021 World Championships.

The 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships have been awarded to Copenhagen, Denmark, the International Gymnastics Federation announced Thursday.

The artistic gymnastics world championships were first staged in Denmark in 2006, when Aarhus played host to the event. The competition is scheduled for October 18-24, 2021.

"As Hans Christian Andersen has inspired the imagination of thousands of children around the world with his famous tales that give food for thought, I hope that these world championships will inspire the young generation by showing the values of sport," FIG President Morinari Watanabe said.

The Copenhagen worlds will take place at the city's new Royal Arena venue, a 35,000-square-meter sporting and cultural center that opened in February 2017. With a seating capacity between 13,000 to 17,000, Royal Arena has became the Danish capital's premiere staging facility for concerts and shows, already used as a tour stop for musical acts such as Metallica, Aerosmith, Rod Stewart and Céline Dion, comedians Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais, and Cirque du Soleil's Varekai. The 2017 European Short-Course Swimming Championships also took place at the arena.

2021 will mark the 50th edition of the world championships for artistic gymnastics, which were first held in Antwerp in 1903. Copenhagen was the site of the 1967 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships as well as the 1979 European Gymnastics Championships for women, where Nadia Comăneci won her third straight all-around crown.

"It's a great achievement to be awarded the 50th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships," Danish Gymnastics Federation Anders Jacobsen said. "Not just for the Federation, but for Danish Gymnastics as a whole. An event of this format fits very well into the course and development we have for gymnastics in Denmark."

This year's world championships will take place in Doha, Qatar — the first time the event will be held in the Middle East. Worlds return to Europe in 2019, being held for the third time in Stuttgart, also the site of the 1989 and 2007 Worlds. Only Prague — site of the 1907, 1938 and 1962 Worlds — has played host as many times.


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