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Entries in Olympics (17)

Thursday
Dec202012

Olympic Runner Suzy Favor Hamilton Worked as Escort in Vegas

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- Former U.S. Olympian and decorated middle-distance runner Suzy Favor Hamilton said Thursday that she had worked as a high-paid escort in Las Vegas for the past year.

In a story first reported by The Smoking Gun, Favor Hamilton, 44, said that she worked as an escort under the alias "Kelly Lundy" with Haley Heston Private Collection escort service based in Vegas.

According to the website advertising her services that was saved by The Smoking Gun, Favor Hamilton offered appointments to johns in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. She advertised her price as $600 for one hour or $1,400 for three hours.

Favor Hamilton, who lives with her husband and 7-year-old daughter in Madison, Wis., makes frequent public appearances to discuss running, including motivational speeches and had a spot in a Nike ad.

She told The Smoking Gun that her husband, Mark, 44, knew about her escort activities and did not approve.

"He tried, he tried to get me to stop. He wasn't supportive of this at all," she told them.

After the report was published Thursday morning, Favor Hamilton took to her Twitter account to apologize publicly.

"I was drawn to escorting in large part because it provided many coping mechanisms for me when I was going through a very challenging time with my marriage and my life. It provided an escape from a life that I was struggling in. It was a double life," she wrote.

"I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am to anyone I have hurt as a result of my actions and greatly appreciate the support from family and those closest to me. I fully intend to make amends and get back to being a good mother, wife, daughter and friend."

Favor Hamilton wrote on Twitter that she was going through depression when she decided to become an escort and used it as a means of escape, and that she is currently seeing a psychologist.

In an email to ABC News, Favor Hamilton wrote that her Twitter statements were her only comment on the story, but did add, "Trying my best to get better."

The phone number for Haley Heston Private Collection, listed as the contact information on Favor Hamilton's escort profile, was answered by a woman who said, "This is Haley." She declined to comment on The Smoking Gun story and said she could not confirm the details in The Smoking Gun's report.

Favor Hamilton competed in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics, without medaling in any of the races. She did win seven National Track & Field Championships, including three outdoor 1,500 meters, and was a nine-time NCAA champion while an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct252012

Former Olympic Swim Coach Charged with Child Abuse

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md.) -- A once-prominent swim coach who trained Olympic athletes and thousands of other young hopefuls was charged Thursday with abusing one of his teen swimmers 30 years ago.

It is the latest blow to USA Swimming, the sport's national governing body, since ABC News broke news of a sexual abuse scandal within its ranks.

Rick Curl, 63, who founded Maryland's Curl-Burke Swim Club in 1978, is alleged to have had a four-year sexual relationship with swimmer Kelley Davies beginning when she was 13 in 1983. When Davies' parents discovered the relationship in 1987 by reading her diary, Curl paid them $150,000 in return for their silence, according to the terms of a 1989 settlement revealed by the Washington Post earlier this year.

"The sexual abuse progressed to an inappropriate sexual relationship," the Montgomery County Police Department said in a statement. Curl has been charged with one count of child abuse, and surrendered to police Thursday.

Davies, now 43 and known by her married name, Kelley Currin, swam with Curl until she was 18 and is cooperating with the investigation. Her attorney Bob Allard, who has represented other victims, said she "is pleased that justice is going to be carried out."

Curl's lawyers, Thomas J. Kelly and Bruce L. Marcus, released a statement that said Curl is "a good man" and "a devoted father and husband."

"When the allegations were made public," said Kelly and Marcus, "many of the swimmers and their families reached out to us to offer their support and to reiterate that Rick was an excellent coach, a good person, and a man that provided them and their children with strong moral leadership. We look forward to having Mr. Curl's positions made clear in the coming weeks."

USA Swimming banned Curl for life in September. In a statement, USA Swimming said that it believed its report to the Montgomery County Police Department had "sparked the action" against Curl.

"USA Swimming's Director of Safe Sport, Susan Woessner, reported the information USA Swimming received on Rick Curl to the Montgomery County PD on July 24, 2012 via phone, and via follow-up email," said the statement. "USA Swimming has also completed its investigation and review process, which resulted in the organization permanently banning Rick Curl from USA Swimming membership on Sept. 18, 2012. "

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep102012

Gold Medal Sprinter Tianna Madison Sued by Parents

Allyson Felix (R) and Tianna Madison celebrate after winning gold and setting a new world record in the Women's 4 x 100m Relay Final at the 2012 Olympic Games. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- United States gold medalist Tianna Madison and her husband are being sued by Madison's parents for libel, slander and defamation.

The Olympic sprinter won gold in London as part of the 4x100 meter relay team that set a new world record.

Madison's parents Robert and Jo Ann Madison are claiming that she has repeatedly made and published false and defamatory statements about them. Tianna Madison has told news outlets that her parents mismanaged her finances and knowingly allowed a boy who had molested her previously to be in her presence at their home.

The lawsuit was filed at a Cuyahoga County's Court of Common Pleas in Ohio on Sept. 6. The Madisons live in Elyria, Ohio, and Tianna Madison lives in Tampa, Fla.

In the lawsuit, Robert and Jo Ann Madison say that their daughter's husband John Bartoletta told them on March 17, 2012 that she would be filing a lawsuit against them for "misappropriation of funds and fraud based on her power of attorney" and that he had hired a bodyguard to protect her.

The lawsuit was never filed, but the parents said they were "shocked by these unfounded and untrue allegations."

"Throughout her childhood, and into adulthood, Robert Madison and Jo Ann Madison have provided Tianna Madison with a loving, supportive and generous environment that has enabled her to achieve success as a sprinter, including her obtaining a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, as well as achieving success in other athletic endeavors," the lawsuit said.

Tianna Madison, 27, has also publicly accused her parents of inviting a boy into their home who she said had previously molested her. Her parents deny the claim.

"Robert Madison and Jo Ann Madison were not aware of any molestation of Defendant Tianna Madison, and at present, they remain unaware of whether Defendant Tianna Madison was ever molested or not," the lawsuit said.

In the days prior to the Olympics, the parents claim that they received a text message from their daughter in which she said that "after the Olympic Games, she would 'break the story' of the Madisons 'selfish, controlling, and utterly abusive ways and treatment' of her, and that 'it is going to be brutal.'"

Tianna Madison's representative, Brian Butler, did not respond to request for comment Monday, but told Ohio's Chronicle-Telegram that Madison and her husband would not be commenting publicly on the lawsuit.

"This should be a time for not just Tianna, but her family to celebrate all she has gone through and her winning a gold medal," Butler told the paper. "That is what she is going to focus on at this time."

Robert and Jo Ann Madison claim that their daughter's defamatory comments have caused them "humiliation, public ridicule, mental pain and anguish," according to the lawsuit. They are seeking damages in excess of $25,000.

 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug012012

Obama Congratulates Gold Medal Gymnastics Team

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images(AKRON, Ohio) -- From Air Force One this morning, President Obama phoned the “Fab Five” in London to congratulate the gold medal-winning women’s gymnastics team on their success.

The president, on his way to the battleground state of Ohio for campaign events, spoke one by one with each member of the team, lauding their individual performances and their strength as a team.

“These gymnastics folks, I don’t understand how they do what they do,” the president told the crowd in Mansfield, Ohio, at his first campaign stop of the day. “I told these young ladies, as I was congratulating them, how do you not bust your head every time you’re on those — that little balance beam? I couldn’t walk across that balance beam.”

The president, who watched the Tuesday night replays of their competition, told the crowd of roughly 2,000 supporters “we could not be prouder of them.”

Jordyn Wieber, the reigning world all-around champion, later tweeted “Just talked to the President on the phone! Pretty much the coolest thing ever!! @BarackObama #ProudAmerican.”

The president told Wieber, who missed the cut for the individual all-around competition after a disappointing performance in the qualifications, that he was impressed with how she bounced back and led the team.

Obama also watched swimmer Michael Phelps’ record-smashing win of his 19th career Olympic medal and a Twitter exchange ensued.

“Congrats to Michael Phelps for breaking the all-time Olympic medal record. You’ve made your country proud,” the president personally posted on his twitter feed.

“Thank you Mr. President!! It’s an honor representing the #USA !! The best country in the world!!” Phelps tweeted in response.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul312012

Michael Phelps Becomes Most Decorated Olympian

CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- American swimmer Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history when he struck gold Tuesday in the men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay.

The medal is Phelps' 19th overall; fifteen have been gold.

Phelps breaks a record held for 48 years by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who won nine Olympic gold medals and 18 medals in all – six each at the 1956 Melbourne games, the Rome 1960 games, and finally at Tokyo in 1964.

Latynina, now 77 years old, still holds the mark for individual medals (14) in Olympic history.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul272012

Michelle Obama’s Olympic Fantasy? Gymnastics

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Mitt Romney isn’t the only American candidate in London for the opening ceremonies. ABC’s Bill Weir sat down with first lady Michelle Obama this morning in London. The head of the official delegation from the White House told Weir that her childhood fantasy to be a gymnast was foiled by her genes.

“But I mean come on 5’11 with legs, no,” she said.  “But I love gymnastics. I was in awe of what those women could do. Men as well; the strength combined everything dance, strength, and acrobatics but that’s really a fantasy. Now if we get to something that’s a little more realistic maybe it would be track. I’d like to think I was fast.”

The back lawn of Winfield House, the stately residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. was converted into a giant playground as the first lady hosted a cross-Atlantic version of her Let’s Move! initiative. She arrived in a jog to the fanfare of the University of Florida marching band. There were cheers from the children on hand as she joined a host of U.S. Olympic luminaries such as Carl Lewis, Apollo Ono, Dikembe Mutombo and Summer Sanders.

Since swimmer Missy Franklin is from Aurora and today marks one week since the massacre there, Weir asked for her thoughts.

“It makes us all question our own safety and security but these events also remind us that this is a time we come together,” she said. “We are at our best as a country in times of tragedy. That’s when we embrace each other and we forget about the divisions. And my hope is that we continue to embrace these families and other families around the country dealing with tragedies. So hopefully these Olympics will give the families something else to look at to remember why we’re all here.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul252012

USA Swimming Calls for Emergency Hearing Over Abuse, Payoff Claims

USA Swimming requested an emergency hearing on July 24, 2012 after learning that one of its coaches, Rick Curl, pictured in this undated photo, had been accused of sexual molestation. (Curl-Burke Swim Club)(WASHINGTON) -- Days before its first Olympic event, USA Swimming has requested an emergency disciplinary hearing after learning a well-known youth swim coach and current USA Swimming member, Rick Curl, had been accused of repeatedly sexually molesting a teenage swimmer and paying off her family for their silence more than 20 years ago, a USA Swimming spokesperson told ABC News.

As The Washington Post first reported, the call for the hearing came after former swimmer Kelly Currin told the newspaper that Curl had molested her on several occasions from 1983 to 1986 -- beginning when the girl was 13 years old and Curl was 33 -- and then agreed to pay her family $150,000 for emotional damages in a settlement that would also keep them from speaking publicly about the alleged wrongdoing.

"I was stifled for 23 years from saying anything because I signed a piece of paper when I was 19," Currin, now 43, told The Post. Though the alleged molestation stopped in 1986, the settlement agreement wasn't signed until 1989. "Now, I've gotten to the point in my life where I'm done being quiet about it... It was a crime, what happened."

According to court and settlement documents posted online by The Post, Curl was originally accused of four counts of battery and one count of inflicting emotional distress. The documents allege that the abuse caused Currin, who went by Kelley Davies then, to undergo years of therapy and eventually drop out of college.

The $150,000 settlement agreement notes that it does not amount to an admission of guilt on Curl's part, and Curl, now 62, declined to comment to The Post on the allegations and said he had "no idea" what USA Swimming's request for a hearing was all about. Curl did not immediately return requests for comment from ABC News.

A statement on the Curl-Burke Swim Club website said that in response to The Post's report, Curl "has decided to take a leave of absence effective immediately."

"Curl-Burke Swim Club takes very seriously the health and well-being of your children that swim for our club," the statement says. "This article is painful for our Club and Rick Curl personally."

Olsen, the USA Swimming spokesperson, told ABC News the organization had formally requested the disciplinary hearing but the legal process could take days before action is approved.

The new allegations against yet another USA Swimming coach come more than two years after an ABC News 20/20 investigation uncovered widespread sexual abuse in the program.

At the time of that report, 36 coaches across the country had been quietly banned from the organization over the previous 10 years following allegations of inappropriate sexual relations with young swimmers.

Ken Stopkotte, named Indiana High School Boys Swimming and Diving State Coach of the year for 2009, said then the problem is pervasive and has been going on his entire 27 years in coaching.

"It's something that coaches talk about all the time," Stopkotte told ABC News.

The executive director of USA Swimming, Chuck Wielgus, acknowledged the problem, but said, "It's not nearly as serious in USA Swimming as it might be in the rest of society."

"I don't want to be the one to sit here and say 36 is not too many, one is too many, but this is not just a problem that's isolated to one sport," Wielgus said in the 20/20 report.

Nine months after the ABC News report, USA Swimming instituted a new mandatory background check program for all coaches -- an initiative in which the Curl-Burke Swim Club said it participates.

Still, nearly 30 years after he allegedly began molesting a 13-year-old girl, only now is Curl stepping away from the poolside.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul252012

Zoo's Cheetah Cubs to Be Named After Fastest US Sprinters

Jen Zoon, Smithsonian's National Zoo(WASHINGTON) -- When the runners take their mark for the 100-meter dash at the Olympic Games in London this month there will be more at stake than just a gold medal, at least for the Americans in the field.

On the line will be the names of a pair of cheetah cubs who just made their debut at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Zoo officials have announced that they will name the cubs, born April 23, after the fastest American male and female athletes in the 100-meter dash race. That means at least one cub will be named Justin (Gatlin), Tyler (Gay) or Ryan (Bailey) and one will be named Allyson (Felix), Carmelita (Jeter) or Tianna (Madison).

The fact that the cubs will receive a medal-worthy name goes along with their story of survival. The two were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., last April by an emergency C-section after their mother's labor ceased. The mother, who lost two other cubs during the delivery, then abandoned her surviving cubs.

The pair was transferred to the National Zoo in May and have been hand-raised by zoo staff ever since. On Tuesday, the now three-month-old cubs were placed in their public enclosure at the zoo for the world to see the progress they've made.

Beginning Saturday, the public will be able to view the cubs for two hours per day, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul132012

US Olympic Committee to Promise American Made Uniforms by 2014

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Two sources tell ABC News the U.S. Olympic Committee is planning to announce it will change its policy so that U.S. Olympic uniforms are made in the USA by the next Olympics, in 2014

But nothing will be done about this year’s uniforms, which were made in China.

Read more about the controversy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul132012

White House Won’t Condemn ‘Made in China’ US Olympic Uniforms

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The White House does not believe the U.S. Olympic Team’s “Made-in-China” uniforms need to be replaced with American-made apparel ahead of the London Games later this month.

“Maybe for future Olympics, those kinds of things should be considered,” deputy White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One en route Norfolk, Va., this morning.

“The United States Olympic Committee has said that they are a—they are privately funded.  This isn’t a government decision,” he said.

Earnest suggested President Obama would prefer to see the team outfitted in outfits stamped with “Made in the USA,” noting “the president’s views on the high quality of American-made products is well known. It’s something he talks about extensively.  That includes American-made clothing.”

But, echoing the position of the USOC, Earnest said the administration doesn’t want the uniform controversy to “distract from the story of young Americans…who spent a good portion of their lives preparing to compete on the international stage.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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