Gymnastics: US 2012 Olympic coach Geddert suspended: report

This file photo taken on October 13, 2011 shows US gymnast Jordyn Wieber (R) celebrating her victory with her coach John Geddert in the women's all-around final at the World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2018
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Gymnastics: US 2012 Olympic coach Geddert suspended: report

CHICAGO: John Geddert, coach of the US women’s 2012 London Olympics gold medal team, has been suspended by USA Gymnastics pending completion of an investigation by the sport governing body, ESPN reported Monday.
Geddert, 60, was the personal coach to US gymnast Jordyn Wieber, but has come under intense scrutiny because of close personal and professional relationships to Larry Nassar, the former US national team doctor convicted of sexual abuse of young gymnasts under the guise of medical treatment.
“John Geddert has been suspended under the interim measures provisions of Section 10.5 of USA Gymnastics’ Bylaws. USA Gymnastics is unable to comment further as this is a pending matter,” ESPN reported the governing body as saying in a statement.
The bylaw provision cited is one allowing USA Gymnastics to impose interim measures to ensure safety of gymnasts, although Geddert could request a review of the suspension.
Wieber admitted Friday in a sentencing hearing for Nassar that she had been sexually abused by him, the first time she had publicly revealed the assault.
Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty in November to 10 charges of criminal sexual conduct with victims as young as six and dozens of women and girls have spoken out against him at a sentencing hearing that will reach day six on Tuesday.
Geddert operated two gyms that employed Nassar, ESPN reported.
The 2012 US Olympic women’s team won gold with all-around champion Gabby Douglas and floor exercise champion Aly Raisman joined by Wieber, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney.
USA Gymnastics required Maroney to sign a gag order not to talk about the abuse she received under terms of a $1.25 million settlement agreed in 2016, only waiving the order last week.


Historymaker: Saudi teen secures Kingdom’s first ever Olympic gold medal

Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Assiri wins historic first gold for the country.
Updated 18 October 2018
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Historymaker: Saudi teen secures Kingdom’s first ever Olympic gold medal

  • The victory marked Saudi’s third time on the podium at the two-week Youth Olympics
  • I have been working towards this moment for 10 years, said the gold medalist

BUENOS AIRES: It is said that the karate-ka who has given the necessary years of commitment and meditation to the sport is both fearless and tranquil. They can, it is said, be calm even in a burning building.

Last night, inside a furnace-like Europe Pavilion at the Youth Olympic Park, and in front of Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Assiri won the Kingdom its first ever Olympic gold medal. And welcomed it, initially at least, with utmost calm. 

Defeating Masaki Yamaoka of Japan 8-0 in the Men’s Kumite -61kg final, the 17-year-old Saudi immediately thanked his opponent and bowed to the various officials, before turning to his coach, removing his red gloves slowly, and greeting him with a starch salute. Only afterwards, once these rituals of respect were over and his opponent had slipped away, did Al-Assiri explode with joy, his face contorting into beautiful agony as he screamed in guttural Arabic and jumped around the mat.

“I am so happy, so proud,” he said, his prize glinting in the spotlight of the world’s media. “This is the first gold medal for Saudi Arabia and our first medal ever in karate. I have been working towards this moment for 10 years, especially in the past two when my training intensified. I came for gold and this is the result of years of serious work. It was very difficult, but I am just so proud. Thank you to Allah.”

The victory marked Saudi’s third time on the podium at the two-week Youth Olympics, after bronze medals in weightlifting and 400m Hurdles. It is a stellar return for a country that brought only nine athletes to Argentina and has won just one medal at this level before, a bronze in equestrian four years ago. Yousef Jalaiden, the chef de mission for the Saudi delegation, had confidently predicted medals earlier this week, but even he admits expectations have been exceeded.

“We are very happy right now,” Jalaiden said, watching as Al-Assiri, wrapped in the Saudi flag, posed for photos with Prince Fahd bin Juluwe bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed, the head of the delegation. “It’s our best achievement ever at an Olympics — be it Youth or the full Olympics. We are so happy — we hoped for three medals, like I said before, and we got them,”

Karate is making its Olympic debut this week ahead of Tokyo 2020 and Assiri had secured his place after winning at the first qualifying event in Croatia this summer. In front of vocal support from Saudis and Egyptians, he was handed the historic victory after his offensive front-footed display culminated with Yamaoka fouling four times during their bout.

“During training, people from other countries were all telling us Mohammed would take gold, but for us it was never a certainty,” Jalaiden added. “We expected him to reach the final, but when you get to a final, anything can happen. He has been training exceptionally hard though and it has all paid off.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Egypt’s Yasmin Nasr El-Gewily won the Women’s Kumite 53kg final, defeating Japan’s Rinka Tahata 2-1. “Egypt are our neighbours and we have an excellent relationship with them, so today it is like our nation is one,” said Jalaiden. “We have both enjoyed great success here.”