Wednesday’s Sports in Brief
GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) In a rare sight, North Korean flags flew in South Korea as the South prepared for the Winter Olympics that has brought a temporary lull in tensions surrounding the North’s nuclear program.
The Olympic village in Gangneung turned into a selfie site as volunteer workers posed under a North Korean flag that has been raised in the country for the first time since a hockey tournament in April last year.
North Korean flags were also raised at the other athletes’ village in Pyeongchang and stadiums in both Pyeongchang and Gangneng, where North Korean athletes are expected to compete during the games, according to Pyeongchang’s Olympic Organizing Committee.
North Korea is sending 22 athletes to the games that start on Feb. 9, including 10 North Korean skiers and skaters who are expected to arrive in the South later on Thursday via a rare flight between the war-separated rivals. Twelve North Korean female ice hockey players are already in the South practicing with their South Korean teammates for a unified team that will compete during the Olympics.
MONTREAL (AP) – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recommended to the International Olympic Committee that it use 2016 doping sample bottles for the upcoming Winter Olympics after the agency’s inquiry into the 2017 version showed the bottles could be re-opened after a sample was produced.
On Tuesday, the IOC said it was ”very concerned” about claims the new sample bottles, provided by Swiss manufacturer Berlinger, could be opened, and the Swedish anti-doping agency said it would stop using them.
WADA said in a statement it had confirmed that a proportion of the new generation of BEREG-KIT Geneva security bottles were ”susceptible to manual opening without evidence of tampering, whether they have been frozen or not.” Those security bottles were introduced in September 2017.
After determining that some of the newer bottles could be ”manually opened after initial proper locking,” WADA said it had sourced enough of the 2016 doping sample bottles, which were first used at the Rio Olympics, to cover the entire testing program for the Pyeongchang Games, which start Feb. 9 in South Korea.
GYMNASTICS SEXUAL ASSAULT
CHARLOTTE, Mich. (AP) – Another wave of victims confronted Larry Nassar, this time about sexual abuse at an elite Michigan gymnastics club where young athletes felt they had to use the disgraced doctor’s services and could not question the adults who ran the facility.
The judge presiding over the case said the number of people who allege they were abused by Nassar has topped 265. That total includes 150-plus victims who offered statements at a different hearing last week, as well as scores of new ones expected to speak over the next few days.
Nassar faces another long prison sentence on top of the two he has already received. He was sentenced to 60 years on federal child-pornography charges and another 40 to 175 years on state charges that he abused women and girls while working for Michigan State University. Either one of those sentences effectively mean life in prison for the 54-year-old.
NEW YORK (AP) – Simone Biles met the new president of USA Gymnastics but hasn’t heard from the U.S. Olympic Committee regarding the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.
The four-time gold medalist at the Rio Olympics is among those who say they were sexually abused by Nassar, a former team doctor for the governing body for American gymnastics.
USA Gymnastics president Kerry Perry spoke with Biles at her gym in suburban Houston, where she is training for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
”I have not heard from the USOC, but the new president of USA Gymnastics did fly down and introduce herself to me, but not in regards to the whole entire situation,” Biles said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. ”There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, like independent investigations. So they can ensure this never happens in any sport again.”
Nassar has been sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges and 40 to 175 years for abusing young women and girls while working at Michigan State University. He also is facing sentencing for molesting gymnasts at an elite club in Lansing, Michigan.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -Roger Goodell wants to see the mystery of the NFL’s catch rule solved, and he’s ensured that the process has begun.
The commissioner said at his annual Super Bowl news conference that he personally sees that rule as the most obvious to address.
Asked about the scrutiny that NFL officiating came under this season, Goodell said ”on the catch/no catch rule, we need to find a rule we think will address that. We certainly need to get this rule right so everyone can appreciate.”
Goodell recently spent three hours with former players, including Pro Football Hall of Famers, going over 150 plays. He said there were many good ideas offered, but as for the specifics of what should be a catch, there was little consensus.
”There were a lot of people with different perspectives and lot of disagreement in the room,” he said.
NEW YORK (AP) – Oscar Gamble, an outfielder who hit 200 home runs over 17 major league seasons and was famous during his playing days for an Afro that spilled out of his helmet, died Wednesday of a rare tumor of the jaw. He was 68.
His second wife, Lovell Woods Gamble, said he was diagnosed with a benign tumor, ameloblastoma, about nine years ago. It became ameloblastic carcinoma in 2016 and he had the first of several operations that August. Gamble, who lived in Montgomery, Alabama, entered UAB Hospital in Birmingham on Jan. 22 and died there early Wednesday. His wife said he never chewed tobacco.
A left-handed hitter known for the crouch in his batting stance, Gamble had a .265 batting average and 666 RBIs while playing for seven big league teams.