Aly Raisman files lawsuit against Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics

Alex Livesey/Getty Images(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- Olympic gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics in the wake of the Larry Nassar sex abuse case.

In the suit filed Wednesday, but announced Friday morning, in Santa Clara County, California, attorneys representing Raisman say the USOC was "aware, at the highest levels of its organization, that Defendant Nassar had molested Olympic and National Team level gymnasts."

The complaint says Nassar sexually abused Raisman at the Karolyi Ranch National Training Center in Walker County, Texas, at national and international competitions and during the London Olympics in 2012.

USA Gymnastics released a statement saying, it "supports our athletes, like Aly Raisman, Jacob Moore and others, who have shared their experiences with abuse, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been hurt by the despicable crimes of Larry Nassar."

"USA Gymnastics first became aware that an athlete had expressed concern about a procedure by Larry Nassar in June 2015, which led USA Gymnastics to report Nassar to the FBI and dismiss him from further involvement with USA Gymnastics," the statement adds.

Moore, who joined a previous federal lawsuit against Nassar, Michigan State and USA Gymnastics filed by gymnast Rachael Denhollander this week, is the first male gymnast to allege misconduct by Nassar, according to International Gymnast Magazine.

ABC News has also reached out to the USOC for comment, but have not yet heard back.

Nassar pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison in January on seven counts of criminal sexual misconduct in the first degree. During the trial, Raisman and scores of other gymnasts addressed Nassar in court during his sentencing.

"You are so sick, I can’t even comprehend how angry I feel when I think of you," Raisman said during her sentencing statement. "The tables have turned Larry. We are here, we have our voices, and we are not going anywhere. And now, Larry, it’s your turn to listen to me."

Following the sentencing, the entire board of USA Gymnastics resigned under pressure from the USOC. Also, the president and athletic director of Michigan State University, where Nassar worked for decades, stepped down.

In two other cases, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison for possession of child pornography in December 2017 and 40 to 125 years in prison for three more criminal sexual conduct cases in early February. He pleaded guilty in both of those cases as well.

He was never tried for assaulting Raisman, nor was he tried for any alleged assaults at the Karolyi Ranch.

Raisman has previously called for an independent investigation of the USOC and USA Gymnastics by federal authorities.

In a statement on Friday, Raisman said her "highest priority has been to push for change, so future generations of athletes will be safer."

"It has become painfully clear that these organizations have no intention of properly addressing this problem," Raisman said. "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. Meanwhile, thousands of young athletes continue to train and compete every day in this same broken system. I refuse to wait any longer for these organizations to do the right thing. It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed.”

John Manly, Raisman's attorney, accuses the USOC and USA Gymnastics of a "conspiracy to silence victims and cover-up the largest child sex abuse scandal in history.”

Nassar, former USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny and Chairman of the Board Paul Parilla are also named as individual defendants in the complaint, which asks for a jury trial. The suit also alleges that besides the psychological and physical damage, Raisman lost millions of dollars in economic damages as a result of the sexual abuse from Nassar.

Kerry Perry, the new president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, released a video on Thursday, promising to “keep the powerful words and experiences from the Larry Nassar sentencing at the core of every decision I make.”

She goes on to talk about some of the steps taken in the last 90 days, including terminating the lease with the Karolyi Ranch, and creating an Athlete Assistance Fund to provide survivor financial resources.

Raisman is a two-time Olympian and three-time gold medalist. She is one of the most decorated gymnasts in U.S. history with a total of six Olympic medals, two team golds at world championships and 13 national championship medals.

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Scoreboard roundup -- 3/2/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:

Minnesota 3, St. Louis 3
N.Y. Yankees 6, Philadelphia 4
Atlanta 5, Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 4, Toronto 1
Cincinnati 8, Chicago White Sox 7
L.A. Angels 11, San Francisco 4
San Diego 9, Texas 9
Cleveland 8, L.A. Dodgers 7

Houston 10, Boston 5
Baltimore 5, Tampa Bay 2
Texas 9, Oakland 4
Kansas City 4, Seattle 3

Washington 6, Atlanta 2
Miami 3, N.Y. Mets 2
Colorado 2, Chicago Cubs 2
Milwaukee 6, Arizona 1

L.A. Lakers 131, Miami 113
Philadelphia 108, Cleveland 97
Sacramento 116, Brooklyn 111
Portland 108, Minnesota 99

Carolina 4, Philadelphia 1
Boston 8, Pittsburgh 4
Florida 3, New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 5, Dallas 4
Nashville 4, Edmonton 2
Arizona 5, Minnesota 3
San Jose 7, Chicago 2
L.A. Kings 5, Columbus 2

(1) Virginia 67, Louisville 66
(10) Cincinnati 78, Tulane 49
(11) Wichita St. 75, UCF 71
(15) Michigan 77, Iowa 71
(19) Arizona 75, Stanford 67
(24) Middle Tennessee 82, W. Kentucky 64

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Texas Wesleyan University baseball coach fired after saying players from Colorado have 'trouble passing drug tests'

Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- A Texas university baseball coach has been fired after telling an 18-year-old high school player from Colorado over email that he doesn't recruit players from his state because they "had trouble" passing drug tests in the past.

Texas Wesleyan University -- a private liberal arts university in Fort Worth -- announced Thursday that head baseball coach Mike Jeffcoat was "no longer an employee" after the contents of the email he sent to the high school senior went public.

Gavin Bell, a senior at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colorado, had expressed interest in attending the university and playing for its baseball program, he told ABC Denver affiliate KMGH.

Jeffcoat then sent him a politically charged email that said the program decided "to not take a chance" on student-athletes from Colorado due to the failed drug tests in the past, KHMG reported.

The email reads:

"Hi Gavin,
Thanks for the interest in our program. Unfortunately, we are not recruiting players from the state of Colorado. In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test. We have made a decision to not take a chance on Student-athletes from your state. You can thank your liberal politicians. Best of Luck wherever you decide to play.

Mike Jeffcoat
Head Baseball Coach
Texas Wesleyan University"

On Wednesday, the university confirmed that the email was sent by a school baseball coach, saying, "The comments he made are in no way a reflection of Texas Wesleyan University, its values or its recruiting practices."

The next day, the school announced Jeffcoat's departure after a personnel investigation was conducted.

"This university and its athletic program does not discriminate on the basis of the public policy of any state," Texas Wesleyan University President Fred Slabach said in a press conference Thursday. "We look at the individual student. We care about those students."

In addition, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics violation "took place under Jeffcoat's watch," a school statement read, but it did not disclose the details of the violation due to the ongoing investigation. The university self-reported the violations, which have to do with player eligibility, to the NAIA.

"We are proud of our historically diverse campus, and the students, faculty, staff and alumni that thrive here," the school said. "We have a history of athletic excellence that will not change."

Bell told KMGH that he is "just a high school student looking to play baseball somewhere." He is originally from Texas and lived there until he was 12, which is why he was interested in playing for Texas Wesleyan, he said.

"I'm a good student-athlete," he said. "I am just sad he couldn't take a chance on me."

Bell's former high school baseball coach, Allan Dyer, told KMGH that he decided to make Jeffcoat's email public after he said he complained to the university and did not receive a response. Dyer described Bell as a "great kid" and a leader both on and off the field.

"To hold the political ideals of a state against an 18-year-old kid who has nothing to do with that -- I was shocked," Dyer said. "How do you do that?"

The university received Dyer's email on Monday afternoon, and it immediately triggered an investigation into Jeffcoat, John Veilleux, Texas Wesleyan University vice president for marketing and communications, told ABC News.

Jeffcoat is a former pitcher for Major League Baseball, ESPN reported.

ABC News could not reach Jeffcoat or Bell for comment.

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Duquesne basketball player scores big off the court by helping homeless woman

WTAE-TV(PITTSBURGH) -- College basketball player Mike Lewis II has orchestrated several comebacks for the Duquesne Dukes this season, but it was a 30-second video on his Twitter account that earned the sophomore guard MVP praises.

Lewis had noticed a woman living in a car near the team's practice facility in Pittsburgh.

“It started last Wednesday. I was walking back from practice when I saw the lady after practice. Thursday, I noticed her again. I saw her on Friday, and I confirmed that she was living in her car,” Lewis told ABC News.

After Duquesne's 71-60 loss to Davidson on Saturday, he grabbed some of the team's food and walked toward the woman.

"First, he scared the living daylight out of me. I was sleeping. He knocked on the window, and I was, like, 'Ah,'” Patricia Smith told ABC Pittsburgh affiliate WTAE-TV.

“He gave me a pizza and chicken wings. He said, 'We're doing this for people.' I'm, like, 'Really?' Couldn't have asked for a better time," she added.

Lewis decided to share his good deed on Twitter. “Noticed a lady living in her car the past week and did what I could,” he wrote.

At first, Lewis was unsure whether to share the moment with his Twitter followers.

“I was skeptical about posting on social media, but I was trying to show positivity on social media to kids that follow me,” he said.

Smith said she stays at a nearby shelter and was waiting for a Social Security check when she was surprised by Lewis.

“It felt good, you know -- somebody remembers you,” she said.

Lewis, a psychology major at Duquesne University, earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team in 2017.

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Scoreboard roundup -- 2/27/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Tuesday's sports events:

St. Louis 6, Boston 1
Detroit 11, Philadelphia 6
Houston 8, N.Y. Mets 2
Chicago Cubs 6, Chicago White Sox 5
Texas 4, L.A. Dodgers 4
San Diego 11, Seattle 6
L.A. Angels 5, Colorado 2

Baltimore 2, Tampa Bay 1
N.Y. Yankees 9, Toronto 8
Cleveland 16, Oakland 8
Kansas City 14, Seattle 9
Boston 3, Minnesota 2

Miami 2, Washington 2
Pittsburgh 3, Atlanta 3
Milwaukee 6, Cincinnati 3
San Francisco 14, Arizona 12

Cleveland 129, Brooklyn 123
Charlotte 118, Chicago 103
Miami 102, Philadelphia 101
Washington 107, Milwaukee 104
Portland 116, Sacramento 99
L.A. Clippers 122, Denver 120

Washington 3, Ottawa 2
New Jersey 3, Pittsburgh 2
Boston 4, Carolina 3
Florida 3, Toronto 2
Nashville 6, Winnipeg 5
Minnesota 8, St. Louis 3
Dallas 2, Calgary 0
San Jose 5, Edmonton 2
L.A. Kings 4, Vegas 1

Miami 91, (9) North Carolina 88
Arkansas 91, (14) Auburn 82
(16) Tennessee 76, Mississippi St. 54
Saint Joseph's 78, (17) Rhode Island 48

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Dwyane Wade's emotional response to school shooting victim buried in his Miami Heat jersey

Sean Gardner/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- In an emotional response to a Florida school shooting victim being buried in his Miami Heat jersey, Dwyane Wade said he "hurts" for the loved ones left grieving from the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Joaquin Oliver was a 17-year-old Miami Heat fan and was excited about Wade's return to the team just days before he and 16 others were gunned down in the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, his parents told Univision talk show "Al Punto."

"You really can't put that in words. You hurt for the family," Wade told reporters on Monday. "If you ever get the opportunity to speak to them, you just try to hope the time where he was alive that you were able to bring some type of joy to his life and something memorable. A story that his family and you guys can talk about."

Joaquin, who was born in Venezuela and became a U.S. citizen in January 2017, was buried in Wade's No. 3 jersey on Feb. 17.

"His heart was so big; all he did was love everyone," Joaquin's girlfriend, Victoria Gonzalez, told ABC's Good Morning America.

"He told me all the time that what he wanted in life was to make everyone else feel loved," she said. "He was everyone's hero."

After hearing that Joaquin was buried in his jersey, Wade tweeted that the tragedy was "way BIGGER than basketball."

Wade returned to the Heat earlier this month after he was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He had previously played for 13 years in Miami -- helping the team win three NBA championships, the last in 2013.

"Like I said, I retweeted on Twitter, you're going to make me cry," Wade said when asked in Miami about Joaquin being buried in his jersey. "It's emotional even thinking about that, that his parents felt that, buried him in my jersey was something that he wanted. I take pride in what I've done in this state and what I've meant for the youth. I appreciate it."
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Stoneman Douglas hockey team wins state championship, drapes medals on victims' memorial

ABC News(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's ice hockey team won the Florida championship game this weekend, just 11 days after the mass shooting that killed 17 at the school.

The state championship medals are now back in Parkland, draped over the white crosses and Stars of David erected to honor the 17 victims.

Before the game, one of the players, Joey Zenobi, told ABC affiliate WZVN-TV in Fort Myers they were playing for the victims.

"We came into the game knowing we had to give it our all to get the win, and that's what we did," Zenobi said, according to WZVN-TV. "And now we get to bring the trophy back to the best high school in America."

Some players also honored slain student Joaquin Oliver by using yellow hair dye on the tops of their hair, WZVN-TV reported.

The fourth-seeded Stoneman Douglas team won the semifinals Sunday morning before beating Tampa Jesuit 7-4 in the finals that afternoon, according to The Associated Press.

Stoneman Douglas is now qualified to compete in the high school hockey national championships tournament in March, WZVN-TV reported.

Seventeen students and staff were fatally shot and more than a dozen others were injured in the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. The suspect allegedly fled after the shooting, but was later apprehended.

The school plans to resume classes later this week.

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With Pyeongchang Games over, Beijing gears up to host Winter Olympics in 2022

VCG/VCG via Getty Images(PYEONGCHANG, South Korea) -- With the Pyeongchang Olympics behind us, the winter sports world now directs its attention to Beijing in 2022.

Just 14 years after their memorable 2008 Summer Games, the Chinese capital will host the world again, becoming the first city to ever to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

Beijing was narrowly awarded the Winter Games in 2015 by only four votes over Almaty, Kazakhstan. At the time it was a surprising choice because China was not particularly known for winter sports and Beijing, while frigid in Winter, is not known for reliable snowfall. But what Beijing had was potential -- and the power of the China market.

Mark Dreyer, who has closely followed the Chinese sports industry since 2007, told ABC News China was seen as a safe bet because Beijing has already pulled off a successful Summer Games.

"2008 was seen as China's coming-out party on the world stage. That was a much bigger splash and bigger event," said Dreyer, a Beijing-based sports journalist who runs "So I think now it's more interested in trying to grow the sports industry and the sports economy."

In October 2014, in the runup to being awarded the Winter Games, China announced plans to grow its nascent domestic sports industry into the world’s biggest -- worth $800 billion -- by 2025.

Dreyer said Beijing was able to woo the International Olympic Committee, or the IOC, with the prospect of having 300 more participants in winter sports.

"Even if it's a fraction of that, [China] could still revolutionize the winter global sports industry, which is not particularly big,” Dreyer added.

Another selling point Beijing 2022 had to offer was the potential to reduce the overall costs of the Games. In its proposal, the usually "spare-no-expense" Beijing vowed to budget the 2022 Games at a relatively paltry $3.9 billion. That’s far less than the $43 billion it spent on the 2008 Games, and even less than what was spent in Pyeongchang.

The final price tag for Pyeongchang was $14 billion, about double the $7 billion it was budgeted for, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

The 2022 Games will also reuse many of the 2008 venues for the ice events in Beijing: the iconic the Bird's Nest Stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies were held; the Water Cube; and much of the existing Olympic Park and Olympic Village.

Beijing will actually be co-hosting the Winter Games with neighboring Zhangjiakou, which has a burgeoning ski town, Chongli, about 140 miles away.

The Beijing Winter Games will take place in three main event clusters: The Beijing cluster at the existing venues will play host to the ice and skating events; the Yanqing cluster in the outskirts of Beijing will host the luge, bobsleigh and alpine skiing events in the backdrop of the Great Wall; and the Zhangjiakou cluster will be home to the rest of the skiing and snowboarding events.

Beijing is also currently investing in an infrastructure boom. To cut down on travel time between clusters, the city is building a new dedicated high-speed rail with trains that will travel at speeds up to 217 miles per hour.

The normal three-hour travel time between Beijing and Zhangjiakou, for example, would only take 50 minutes.

In addition, Beijing is building what is being billed as the world’s largest international airport south of the city. The Zaha Hadid-designed airport is expected to be completed next year.

In 2008, China topped the gold medal tally, besting even the United States. China, however, only took home one gold in Pyeongchang, for the Men’s 500m short track speed skating.

It's too early to say if China, not known as a winter sports powerhouse, will repeat its home field advantage.

"They're not going to be able to compete with Norway’s, Canada’s and Germany’s of the world," said Dreyer, "but I would be shocked if they didn't have their best-ever Winter Games."

A sample of China's very vocal netizens seemed to agree on two popular online sports forums.

"Wu Dajing's record-breaking gold medal in men's 500m short track is really heartening. The Chinese athletes are really great no matter how unfair the judges are, gold just glitters. I hope winter sports become more and more popular in China, and I'm proud of the Chinese athletes," user xrazr wrote on Tencent Sports BBS. "Go China, see you everyone four years later in the Beijing Winter Olympics!"

Another user, YangLaoJushi, wrote on Hupu BBS: "To think optimistically, we have not a few chances to win gold medals...basically for our Olympics, I feel like perhaps we can get at least six of them."

Dreyer, meanwhile, predicted Beijing perform better in 2022 than it did in these last Games.

"They [are] definitely going to do much better than they [did] in South Korea. The home nation always does," he told ABC News. "China, more than anyone, will really pull out all the stops. And the type of funding that China will be pumping in some of these [winter] sports is the envy of many other countries.

"So [China] really could haul itself up very very quickly," Dreyer added. "Perhaps 2022 is going to come just a little bit too soon but they're not going to embarrass themselves.”

Dreyer points out that China is putting a lot of funding into its ice hockey program and hiring North American coaches for its men's and women’s Olympic teams.

“They’ve been talking about the 'Beijing Miracle' for 2022," Dreyer said, referring the United States' own 'Miracle on Ice' in 1980 when the American hockey team defeated the seemingly unbeatable Soviet team.

"That shows you the kind of ambition they have, to basically go from nobody on the world stage to potential medalists four years from now," Dreyer said. "Which goes hand-in-hand with China's ambitions everywhere else."

And it so happens that Chinese President Xi Jinping was photographed this week encouraging a team of young hockey players to start preparing for 2022.
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Arizona Cardinals' Fitzgerald visits Sen. McCain at his Arizona cabin

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald paid a visit Saturday to one of his team's biggest cheerleaders: Sen. John McCain.

McCain's wife, Cindy, posted a photo of the trio on Instagram at the McCains' Arizona cabin.

Fitzgerald and the 81-year-old Arizona Republican lawmaker -- who has been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer for months -- have been friendly for years.

In December, the football player penned a touching tribute to McCain for Sports Illustrated.

"When I think about Christmas, and I think about Senator McCain, I think of giving," Fitzgerald wrote.

In a nod to McCain's military service, Fitzgerald continued, "The sacrifices John McCain has made for our country, and especially the men and women he served with in the military, are incredible. I saw the very jail cell where he was held as a POW, and I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be him. I took a photo of myself next to his flight suit, the suit he was wearing when he got shot down. So powerful. So meaningful. Those images will never leave my mind."

And of McCain's health, Fitzgerald wrote, "Sen. John McCain again finds himself in a battle. This time it’s with cancer, and the treatment he’s undergoing is exhausting. I'll wish him a Merry Christmas today, and I pray he lives another 20 years."

McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma over the summer. In July, he began chemotherapy and radiation treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

In December, McCain spent time in a hospital. "He’s receiving treatment for the side effects of the therapy," his longtime friend, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told ABC News at the time. "I feel pretty good about the way the treatment is affecting his underlying cancer. But the treatment has a downside. So he’s trying to get rested up."

Graham added, "I’m very confident he’ll come back and continue to participate for a long time to come."

In an interview with the Arizona Republic last month, McCain's son Jack said of his dad, "He is a tough old person. I usually use the term 'bastard.' He's a tough old bastard. And he has an indomitable spirit. It is impossible to keep the man down."

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Scoreboard roundup -- 2/24/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Saturday’s sports events:
N.Y. Yankees 4, Pittsburgh 1
Houston 6, Atlanta 1
Philadelphia 9, Baltimore 6
Kansas City 8, L.A. Dodgers 4
Oakland 8, San Diego 3
Chicago Cubs 6, Texas 1
Cleveland 11, Arizona 2
L.A. Angels 6, Milwaukee 5
Boston 4, Tampa Bay 3
Detroit 5, Toronto 4
Chicago White Sox 5, Seattle 3
Minnesota 1, Baltimore 1
Miami 3, Washington 2
St. Louis 10, N.Y. Mets 5
Colorado 11, Cincinnati 4
San Francisco 9, L.A. Dodgers 3
Philadelphia 116, Orlando 105
Miami 115, Memphis 89
Boston 121, N.Y. Knicks 112
Golden State 112, Oklahoma City 80
Utah 97, Dallas 90
Minnesota 122, Chicago 104
Portland 106, Phoenix 104
L.A. Lakers 113, Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 5, Ottawa 3
Calgary 5, Colorado 1
Florida 6, Pittsburgh 5
New Jersey 2, N.Y. Islanders 1
Detroit 3, Carolina 1
Winnipeg 5, Dallas 3
Toronto 4, Boston 3
Columbus 3, Chicago 2
Washington 5, Buffalo 1
Tampa Bay 4, Montreal 3
Arizona 2, Anaheim 0
Edmonton 4, L.A. Kings 3

(1) Virginia 66, Pittsburgh 37
Creighton 89, (3) Villanova 83
(5) Duke 60, Syracuse 44
(6) Gonzaga 79, BYU 65
(8) Kansas 74, (7) Texas Tech 72
Florida 72, (12) Auburn 66
(13) Wichita St. 84, SMU 78
Oregon 98, (14) Arizona 93
(15) Clemson 75, Georgia Tech 67
(17) Michigan 85, Maryland 61
(19) Tennessee 73, Mississippi 65
(21) West Virginia 85, Iowa St. 70
(22) Saint Mary's (Cal) 67, Santa Clara 40
(24) Middle Tennessee 79, UAB 54

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