US gymnastics coach facing criminal probe

Gymnastics coach John Geddert is seen at the American Cup gymnastics meet at Madison Square Garden in New York. Geddert, a former US women’s gymnastics national team coach, is facing a criminal investigation in Michigan after the sentencing of disgraced ex-sports doctor Larry Nassar, who treated girls at his elite club Twistars near Lansing. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
Updated 07 February 2018
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US gymnastics coach facing criminal probe

CHICAGO: The coach of the gold-medal-winning US women's gymnastics team at the London Olympics in 2012 is under criminal investigation following accusations that came to light during the sexual assault case against disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar.
The sheriff's office in Eaton County, Michigan, where John Geddert owns a training facility, said there is an open criminal investigation against the high-profile coach.
"We have had people coming forward, and our investigation is ongoing," Eaton County Sheriff spokeswoman Jerri Nesbitt told AFP. She would not provide further details.
Geddert has come under intense scrutiny because of his close personal and professional relationships with Nassar, the former US national team doctor sentenced to life in prison over the sexual abuse of many young female gymnasts under the guise of medical treatment.
A personal coach to US gymnast Jordyn Wieber and owner of the Twistars training facility, Geddert was accused by many Nassar victims of requiring them to be treated by Nassar.
In three weeks of sentencing hearings during which some 200 women, girls and victims' family members confronted Nassar by reading victim impact statements, Twistars gymnasts said they had endured physical and verbal abuse by Geddert.
Amy Preston, mother of an unidentified Nassar victim who was trained at Twistars, said in court that her daughter suffered under Geddert's emotional abuse, which she said Nassar exploited to build trust with the young gymnast.
"John Geddert behaved as brutally as they say, and Larry was as kind as they speak. A very toxic and lethal combination as it turns out," Preston said.
USA Gymnastics suspended Geddert two weeks ago, and hours later he announced his retirement.
Nassar pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct and additional counts of child pornography possession. He received three prison sentences totaling at least 140 years.


Lewis Hamilton tells rivals ‘catch me if you can’

Updated 20 February 2019
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Lewis Hamilton tells rivals ‘catch me if you can’

  • Five-time world champion feeling confident of a sixth crown ahead of new season.
  • Pre-season testing going well in Barcelona.

BARCELONA: Lewis Hamilton has warned his rivals they had better get ready to catch his dust as he is feeling “better than ever” ahead of the season.
The 34-year-old Briton enjoyed a near flawless run to secure his fifth drivers’ title last year. He won 11 of the 21 races to beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with two races to spare, and he expects the Italian marque to once again keep him on his toes.
“Ferrari are very strong,” Hamilton said in Barcelona on the third day of pre-season testing.
“It appears they have a better package than last year, which means it will be a bigger challenge for us.
“In the last few years, Ferrari has looked good from the very beginning so that’s to be expected.”
But he said it would be a mistake to draw any hard and fast conclusions from the evidence thrown up by testing.
“We’ll have a better idea I guess this time next week where we stand but still then we won’t know what fuel loads everybody is on and who is showing their cars and who isn’t.”
Hamilton, with a new two-year deal that will earn him £40 million ($52 million) a season, is buzzing after the winter recess.
“I feel in the best shape that I’ve been in,” he assured his fans, as he embarks on his quest for a sixth championship and record sixth consecutive constructors’ crown for Mercedes.
On a sixth title he shrugged: “I am not even focusing on that. It’s a new season, a new year, a new chapter and we have to approach like it’s our first.
“We’re going for number one, that’s how I approach it.
“But it’s not something that I allow my peers to talk about. It’s not what we are here for to focus on that number.”
He dismissed out of hand any notion of complacency setting in at his all-conquering team.
“We are always driven to do something new and to break boundaries and do stuff that no one else has done before but we are fully aware of the work that it will take to deliver something like that and it’s by no means like ‘yeah we are going for the sixth’ like it’s a relaxed thing.
“It’s not like that.”
Hamilton’s bid for title number six begins at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17.