Saturday sports: sexual abuse, Russian doping.
We discuss sexual abuse in sports, the new development of state-sponsored Russian doping and the Boston celtics’ winning streak.
Scott Simon, host:
It’s time for sport.
Simon: two great American athletes came forward to talk about the sexual abuse they suffered in sports – and new evidence of Russian doping. We’re joining NPR’s sports reporter Tom Goldman. Thanks for being with us, Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN, wired: thank you, Scott.
Simon: let’s start with the great Diana nyad, perhaps the longest distance ever swimmer, man or woman – by the way, a former NPR commentator. She this week on the New York times has an article about her longtime coach jack nelson (he died in 2014), died in 2014 received praise – she has suffered sexual abuse at the age of 11. Diana’s record is both disgusting and necessary to read.
GOLDMAN: yes. Not surprisingly, she is joining the chorus of voices in the midst of so many stories of harassment and abuse. Of course, coaches and athletes are one of the most common power-trust relationships, especially for children. And it was violated. Diana has the advantage of being a public figure and a platform. Now she wants to use it like this. She says she has been telling stories for nearly 50 years to help herself and to help people who don’t have a platform to comment on the issue.
Simon: in the last 24 hours, we should mention the great gold medal gymnast ally reesman.
Simon:… Talk about being mistreated by former team doctor larry nasar.
GOLDMAN: yes. Yesterday, she became the most prominent of more than a hundred former female athletes who made the allegations. Naxala-larry nasar is currently in jail. He is awaiting charges of sexual misconduct. He said the charges were innocent, although he pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography. Aly Raisman, now 23, says Nassar began treating her when she was 15. Now she is also questioning the culture of the Olympics, allowing Dr Nassar to abuse young women for more than two decades because of allegations.
Simon: are we hoping that more young athletes are going to say it now, rather than take it out?
GOLDMAN: yes, we do. And, you know, Scott wants them to feel like the organization behind the campaign is totally behind them. In recent involved in gymnastics, swimming, etc scandal, the Olympic sports events reveals the ruling authorities are not always quick and allow the predatory coaches in sports, just go to different places. Governing bodies respond to these scandals by adopting and strengthening so-called safe sports policies. They hired a new leader. They stressed the importance of reporting the incident. It is hoped that this awareness is happening and helping.
Simon: another scandal – said I don’t mind a little problem – the world anti-doping agency, says it has received a database, identified more than one thousand Russian athletes participated in more than 30 sports doping. The results show that doping is routine and is no exception for Russian athletes. How can the other athletes of next year’s winter Olympics compete with Russian athletes?
Gorman (laughter) I assure you, this is what the other athletes are asking for, and the ioc is considering how to deal with Russia. The database from the Moscow laboratory will clearly show the extent of the doping system, even more than the number you quoted. Of course, this would increase Russia’s call to ban direct bans in February. But, of course, Russia is a huge Olympic power. We’ll see what the ioc did when they met in early December.
Simon: there are some actual games – the Boston celtics beat the charlotte hornets 90-87 last night. Many people think the celtics – Gordon hayward suffered a terrible injury last month and their season will end.
Simon: so they’re back, aren’t they?
GOLDMAN: a huge leap forward. You know, last night at the start of the last season, they didn’t have two of the best players, kyrie irving and al horford, and they weren’t hurt. The celtics have won 11 consecutive games and are the league’s best defensive player. And Scott, let’s talk about one of the league’s most underrated young coaches, Brad Stevens. He looks like he’s 17, but don’t let that fool you. He took the team with a lot of calm and wisdom. Since losing hayward, Boston has not jumped over the beast they are now in the east.
Simon: yeah. In fact, I even wondered if they had room when Gordon Hayward came back.
Gorman :(laughter) yes.
Gorman: I think they have a little space.
SIMON: NPR’s Tom Goldman, thanks for being with us.
Goldman: you’re welcome.
(the sound of “PEDRO’s FEVER”)