SportsEvents Magazine

JUN 2018

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June 2018 10 www.sportseventsmagazine.com Industry U.S. Olympic Committee Announces $1.3 Million Grant to Support Abuse Victims COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — On May 22, as part of its reforms and initiatives to further protect athletes, the United States Olympic Com- mittee (USOC) announced an initial grant of $1.3 million to the Athlete Assistance Fund, established by the National Gymnastics Foundation. The grant is designated to provide financial means and assistance for gymnasts who are or were members of USA Gymnastics and have suffered sexual abuse in the sport of gymnastics to obtain guidance and counseling services. Eli- gible individuals may request access to counseling services through the Athlete Assistance Fund (AAF). "Though we unfortunately cannot erase the horrific acts of abuse suffered by too many gymnasts, we must support their courageous recovery efforts in every way possi- ble," said USOC Acting CEO Susanne Lyons. "This is among a series of reforms and actions we are taking to address prob- lems within USA Gymnastics but also more broadly within the entire U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community. We failed these athletes once and will not do so again." The USOC is working on a number of items concurrently with the independent investi- gation that is being conducted by the firm Ropes & Gray. In addition to the AAF funding, the USOC has doubled its funding to the U.S. Center for SafeSport. Further, the USOC is taking actions to ensure athletes have a stronger voice within the USOC, forming a working group to review the governance structure across the U.S. Olym- pic and Paralympic community, and is overseeing efforts to rebuild USA Gymnastics. In addition to the $1.3 million grant to the AAF, the USOC is setting up a separate program for abuse survivors from other sports, to include counseling, treatment and testing services. It is expected to be in place by the end of the year. Additional information on the USOC's efforts can be found at www.teamusa.org/safesport. USA Swimming Hit with Lawsuit Over Sexual Abuse Allegations Months after Larry Nassar, a doctor convicted of sexually abusing female gymnasts, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for criminal sexual con- duct, Ariana Kukors Smith, an Olympic swimmer has filed suit against her former coach, USA Swimming and others, claiming her coach sexually abused her when she was a minor. She also alleges that the national governing body and its leaders were aware of the abuse. Smith, 29, claims that her coach began grooming her when she was 13 years old and molesting her by the time she was 16. Earlier this year, during the Nassar trial, USA Swimming wrote a letter to its members stating that the organization was reviewing its current Safe Sport abuse-prevention efforts, and outlining priorities and initiatives for the future. "Our top priority is the safety t SPORTS Talk Virginia's Blue Ridge has been awarded a Silver- Level Ride Center designation by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), elevating this region to a new level as a mountain biking destination. David Wiens, executive director of IMBA, made a trip from Colorado to officially announce the Ride Center designation. "Virginia's Blue Ridge IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center status solidifies the enthu- siasm for mountain biking along the East Coast and puts Virginia on par with some of the greatest mountain bike destinations," Wiens said. "We look forward to the many ways Virginia's Blue Ridge will thrive with its new Ride Center designation." "It took nearly two years of hard work by many people throughout Virginia's Blue Ridge to get to this point," said Lee Wilhelm, chair of Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge. "This announcement is a real game changer." The Ride Center application criteria served as a blueprint for achieving and improving the trail systems. "We see it as a catalyst for increased investment in our current trail systems, and it will help develop new trail projects similar to those at Explore Park, as well as throughout Virginia's Blue Ridge," said Kristine McCormick, president of Roanoke IMBA. "With only 15 Silver-Level Ride Centers in the world and the only Ride Center on the East Coast, we are ready to stake our claim as 'America's East Coast Mountain Biking Capital.' The growth and expansion of mountain biking in Virginia's Blue Ridge will attract biking enthusiasts of all levels to experience a Metro-Mountain Adventure though the variety of trails and destination amenities." For more information, www.visitvbr.com. n Virginia's Blue Ridge is Official IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center

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