Controversy rivals competition at Games


The biggest questions at the Beijing Olympics on Saturday were little about who would win the six gold medals up for grabs.

Not with the fate of 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva still undecided. Will the Russian be allowed to compete after testing positive for a banned substance? Can the ROC really keep the gold they helped win in the team event?

Serious investigations also emerged in the mountains, when a former US Olympian alleged she was harassed by her former coach and teammate – both at the Beijing Games.

Even the oh-so-nice Canadians got into the controversy, a dispute between compatriots stemming from an erroneous decision by the Olympic judges.

The story of the Beijing Games was the stunning revelation and ensuing legal battle over Valieva, who tested positive for a banned heart medication on December 25. The doping case came to light shortly after Valieva helped the ROC win team gold.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has confirmed it will hear appeals from the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency on Sunday challenging Valieva’s status as a medalist and her right to compete in the upcoming women’s program.

Valieva always prepares as if she is going to play, but broke down in tears on Saturday after an emotional training session. Valieva fell while attempting a triple axel – a jump she usually executes without issue – while doing a run-through of her short program. She later landed two combos, a triple flip-triple toe curl and a triple lutz-triple toe curl before skating to the boards and giving her trainer, Eteri Tutberidze, an emotional hug.

Snowboard Claims: US Ski & Snowboard is investigating allegations that longtime Olympic coach Peter Foley took nude photos of female athletes and that Olympic snowboard racer Hagen Kearney used racist language to provoke a teammate.

Former snowboard cross racer Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, a member of the 2010 Olympic team, wrote in an Instagram post that in addition to taking the photos, Foley made inappropriate comments and that Kearney repeatedly used the N-word for “intentionally getting under my skin.”

Chythlook-Sifsof is from Alaska and describes himself as Yupik and Inupiaq.

Both Foley and Kearney were in China last week for the Beijing Games.

In a text to The Associated Press, Foley said he was surprised by the allegations and denied them.

Kearney said on Instagram that he apologized for what he described as disgusting and stupid behavior. He added that he was “at risk of being fired from Team USA” due to the use of the epithet.

“I didn’t have the same head on my shoulders back then as I do now, and Callan was a big part of me changing and growing as a human,” he said. “I am a bigger and better person now. People make mistakes in life, and that was definitely my biggest one.

Chythlook-Sifsof, now 32, left the team in 2014. She did not immediately respond to an interview request.

Canadian beef: Slopestyle gold medalist Max Parrot said fellow Canadian Mark McMorris apologized on Saturday for saying Parrot only won because of questionable Olympic judging.

Parrot admitted to The Associated Press that he failed to fully execute a grab on the first jump of the slopestyle course on Monday and said he was lucky the judges didn’t see it. He maintains that he still had the best race of the day and won his first Olympic gold medal.

McMorris finished third, but told CBC Friday he deserved to beat Parrot and Chinese silver medalist Su Yiming.

Parrot said there was no hard feelings over McMorris’ comments.

“He actually came to see me earlier today and apologized for his lack of sportsmanship,” Parrot said. “I told him no worries.”


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