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Wednesday’s Sports in Brief

January 25, 2018

GYMNASTICS SEXUAL ASSAULT

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Once-renowned gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listened silently as a prosecutor deemed him “possibly the most prolific serial child sex abuser in history” and a judge sentenced him to decades in prison for molesting some of the sport’s top athletes, capping an extraordinary hearing during which more than 150 women and girls described his abuse.

“I just signed your death warrant,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar, who was sentenced to 40 to 175 years for molesting young female athletes under the guise of giving medical treatment.

Many confronted Nassar face to face in the Michigan courtroom, describing abuse in his home, at his Michigan State University office and while he worked for the sport’s governing body, USA Gymnastics, which also trains Olympians.

“It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again,” said Aquilina, who called his actions “precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable.”

Hours later, Michigan State — which has asked the state attorney general to conduct a review of how the university handled the Nassar case — announced President Lou Anna Simon’s resignation amid mounting pressure. Earlier in the day, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s CEO announced an independent inquiry.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman have been elected to the baseball Hall of Fame.

Designated hitter Edgar Martinez came close after a grass-roots campaign to boost him. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both tainted by the steroids scandal, edged up but again fell far short.

Jones and Thome made it 54 players elected in their first year of eligibility by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Jones was an eight-time All-Star third baseman for the Atlanta Braves. Thome hit 612 home runs, putting him eighth on the career list, and played mostly for the Cleveland Indians.

Guerrero was elected in his second try. The nine-time All-Star slugger played half his career with the Montreal Expos.

Hoffman was chosen in his third year. The former San Diego Padres closer had 601 saves, second all-time to Mariano Rivera’s 652.

OLYMPICS

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Seeking to avoid “negative surprises” about past doping by Russian athletes after they compete at the Pyeongchang Olympics, IOC President Thomas Bach explained why invitation rules must be strict.

Bach told reporters in a conference call that only clean athletes with “not the slightest doubt or suspicion” about them should go to the games that open Feb. 9. It is the first Winter Games since the doping-tainted Sochi Olympics in 2014.

“The final invited list will consist of clean athletes, so that neither Russia nor the Olympic movement will have to face any negative surprises,” the International Olympic Committee leader said.

Six-time short-track speedskating gold medalist Viktor Ahn is among several high-profile Russians blocked from competing in South Korea by an IOC panel that is assessing each athlete’s testing history and potential forensic evidence.

MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin dismissed talk of an Olympic boycott on Wednesday despite some of Russia’s top athletes being barred from competing at the Pyeongchang Games.

Several of the country’s top medal hopes, including six-time short-track speedskating gold medalist Viktor Ahn, were barred from next month’s games amid the country’s ongoing doping scandal, which has already forced Russia to compete under a neutral flag.

Asked whether the Kremlin might consider a boycott in light of the new restrictions, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said “right now it is important to avoid words like ‘boycott.’”

HOCKEY

NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL has suspended Boston forward Brad Marchand five games without pay Wednesday for elbowing New Jersey’s Marcus Johansson in the head during the Bruins’ win over the Devils the previous night.

The hit occurred with 1:59 left in the third period of Boston’s 3-2 win and knocked Johansson out of the game. There was no penalty called on the play.

In announcing the suspension , the league’s department of player safety ruled Marchand’s hit was not defensive or accidental.

The Bruins’ star has previously been suspended fined times and fined three times in his nine-year career. He will forfeit $373,475.60 in salary.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Police have issued a warrant for a suspect in last weekend’s shooting death of a North Carolina college football player.

A news release from Winston-Salem police Wednesday said warrants it obtained charge 21-year-old Jakier Shanique Austin with murder and possession of a firearm on educational property.

Austin is wanted in the fatal shooting of Winston-Salem State University football player Najee Ali Baker during a party outside an events center at Wake Forest University early last Saturday.

Police also said a 16-year-old was arrested and is charged with possession of a handgun by a minor, assault by pointing a gun and possession of a firearm on educational property. He is jailed without bond in the Forsyth County jail. It’s not known if he has an attorney.

TENNIS

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Serena Williams is returning to tournament play for the first time since the birth of her first child.

Williams was among the entries released for the BNP Paribas Open, which runs March 5-18 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

It will be the two-time champion’s first tournament after 14 months off. Her daughter was born in September.

Williams reached the semifinals in 2015 and the finals in 2016 after returning to the event that she had boycotted for years.

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