Freeskier Beau-James Wells named NZ flag bearer at Winter Olympics

Beau-James Wells has been named New Zealand's flag bearer for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games held in PyeongChang in South Korea.

Wells, 22, is a freeski Olympian and was today announced the flag bearer by Chef de Mission Pete Wardell.

"It is my great honour to name Beau-James Wells as flag bearer,” said Wardell, Chef de Mission of the New Zealand Olympic team.

"Beau-James is an inspiring athlete who has been at the forefront of freesking in New Zealand. He did us proud in Sochi with a sixth place in the halfpipe while he was still a teenager and competing at his first Olympic Games."

The opening ceremony begins tonight at 11.50pm (NZ time) at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium.

New Zealand will be marching in seventh place in the opening ceremony with the Korean alphabet putting New Zealand in seventh spot behind Norway.

The freeskier says he 'certainly hopes' the Kiwis can pick up a medal at the games. Source: 1 NEWS

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Ronnie O'Sullivan labels English Open snooker venue a 'hellhole' that smells of urine

Ronnie O'Sullivan has branded the venue for snooker's English Open a "hellhole" and claimed he could smell urine in the player interview area.

The five-time world champion says event organiser World Snooker is "cutting corners" because he feels the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley is not of a good enough standard for this week's tournament.

O'Sullivan was speaking after winning his opening match against Kurt Maflin 4-1 on Monday.

The 42-year-old said on the BBC: "It's such a bad venue, it demotivates you to want to play.

"This is about as bad as I've ever seen. It's a bit of a hellhole."

He added: "I don't know what this gaff is, but I've just done an interview and all I can smell is urine.

"It's just got no atmosphere in there. I'm practising and I've got wires all around the table. There's no security, you've got people running at you left, right and centre.

"It's not the fans' fault. They (World Snooker) obviously haven't got the budget to run it properly.

"I don't know where their budget is but they're cutting corners. I think they should invest in good venues. Players deserve better."

World Snooker claimed O'Sullivan's comments bore no resemblance to feedback from other players about the venue.

A statement from K2 Crawley added: "We are sorry and disappointed to hear that Ronnie has voiced some concerns over the venue, especially after feedback from everybody else has been so positive.

18th January 2018, Alexandra Palace, London, England; 2018 Dafabet Masters, quarter-finals; Ronnie O’Sullivan reacting disappointingly after missing a chance to pocket the black ball
Ronnie O'Sullivan. Source: Photosport


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Exclusive: Hamish Carter handed confidential athlete feedback to Cycling NZ coach Anthony Peden

In the wake of this morning's findings of the review into Cycling New Zealand, 1 NEWS can reveal that the distribution of highly confidential documents can be traced back to former triathlon Olympic gold medallist, Hamish Carter.

Carter was acting as the HPSNZ representative overseeing the sprint programme and he conducted the debrief after the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Jainero.

Highly confidential athlete and staff notes from that debrief were obtained by 1 NEWS and they were given to Anthony Peden by Carter. 

Athletes have told 1 NEWS there was a bias due to Peden also being a selector. Source: 1 NEWS

High Performance Sport New Zealand boss Michael Scott says that the distribution of the confidential testimonies to Peden is "the area of the report that concerns me the most".

"Confidentiality is fundamental to having a trustful relationship with our athletes.

The breach of confidentiality was addressed by Michael Heron QC, who fronted media today.

"The person who did that has given me their explanation in detail. I've interviewed that person, I've recorded details of that explanation.

"I've found that it was inappropriate... No one else made that mistake."

In his review Mr Heron also identified how some of the sprint athletes' concerns identified in their review were not passed on to those in charge.

Mr Heron goes on to say the omissions meant the sprint report left "a materially different impression" and there was little mention of the "lack of accountability, bullying, boozy drinking culture and shit behaviour," identified by athletes and staff.

Those spoken to by 1 NEWS have said that Carter was seen as "untouchable" within the HPSNZ setup, and many knew he operated outside the rules.

HPSNZ CEO Michael Scott confirmed that the conduct of the individual in question - believed to be Carter - was now under review.

"A process has commenced with the individual concerned. The individual is still working with us but a process has commenced.

"To those athletes whose confidentiality was breached, and to any others impacted by the conduct of High Performance Sport New Zealand, I am sorry."

Carter, an Olympic gold medallist, was the High Performance Sport Representative overseeing the sprint programme. Source: 1 NEWS


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Damning review finds ‘dysfunctional culture’ within Cycling NZ’s high performance programme

A review into the Cycling New Zealand High Performance programme has found the allegations revealed by 1 NEWS about former head sprint coach Anthony Peden are true.

Michael Heron QC has spent the past five months looking into the culture at the sporting organisation and released his findings this morning.

In his 84-page report, he identified instances of bullying, an inappropriate relationship between Peden and one of the female athletes he coached and a dysfunctional culture which Cycling NZ failed to deal with.

"The Cycling NZ response was ineffective and inadequate."

He also found High Performance Sport New Zealand knew of the issues and should have done more to ensure they were dealt with.

It found a toxic culture and an inappropriate relationship between a coach. Source: 1 NEWS

"HPSNZ ought to take some responsibility for the cultural and leadership issues identified."

In regards to the relationship, the report specifically details an incident that happened weeks out from the Rio Olympics at a training camp in Bordeaux, France where Peden and the athlete remained in town drinking alone.

At 2:30am, "the coach and the athlete returned in a taxi to the team hotel. They were clearly intoxicated. A witness at the hotel describes seeing 'an intimate moment between them'."

Heron goes on to reveal how a young female athlete and the team manager were put under pressure to lie or not speak about the incident during an investigation.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Neither Peden nor the female athlete he had a relationship with participated in the review but both gave feedback on the report in its draft stage.

In a statement, which Peden's lawyer insisted was included in full, he says "the report is grossly inaccurate in many respects" and based on "anecdote, hearsay, gossip and rumour".

However, he declined to "critique the many errors in the report... because that may only lead to the airing of further untruths and inaccuracies". He added that he's reflected on his behaviour and is committed to ensuring "no criticism can be legitimately levelled at him in the future".

In his summary, Mr Heron identified shortcomings in the high performance system including no way to escalate and deal with situations like these. He also says his findings suggest the current system may not give enough priority to athlete and participant welfare.

See Abby Wilson's full coverage of the Cycling New Zealand saga

May 30: Exclusive: Kiwi cyclists accuse NZ coach Anthony Peden, who has stepped down, of inappropriate behaviour and bullying

May 31: High Performance Sport NZ announces formal investigation into allegations against former Cycling NZ coach

June 1: Exclusive: Former Cycling NZ coach had access to deeply personal and damning confidential athlete interviews with HPSNZ

June 2: Exclusive: More people coming forward to speak out against Cycling NZ's handling of departed coach Anthony Peden

June 2: Exclusive: NZ cycling coach needed medical treatment during 2016 Rio Olympic Games after consuming alcohol

June 5: 'Controlling and intimidating' - More details emerge of Anthony Peden's inappropriate behaviour while coaching at Cycling NZ

June 8: Man who led review into All Blacks failed 2007 World Cup to investigate allegations against Cycling NZ & HPSNZ

June 18: Exclusive: Independent investigation into High Performance Sport NZ, Cycling NZ already under fire

August 30: Independent Review into Cycling NZ fails to meet deadline

Peden is accused of bullying and an inappropriate relationship with an athlete. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch as boxing champion Deontay Wilder breaks jaw of mascot in promo stunt gone wrong

Heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder has apologised after reportedly breaking the jaw of a mascot he punched during a US television appearance.

Wilder was doing a promotional appearance on Spanish language show Nacion ESPN to promote his upcoming fight with Tyson Fury when he punched a man dressed in a mascot suit.

The WBC heavyweight champion also denied he did not know there was a person in the suit.

"Anything headlining I didn't know a human being was in there is just straight click-baiting," Wilder said on Instagram.

"I sincerely apologise to the brave man that was injured (if this is true). I have the utmost respect for him, his participation, willingness and courage.”

Wilder said reports of the injury were true, he would like to invite the man to his fight on December 1 against Fury in Los Angeles where he will defend his title.

A promo for Wilder’s upcoming fight with Tyson Fury went badly wrong for the person in the suit. Source: Breakfast