'For too long we were ignored' - 141 survivors of sexual abuse by former US gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar stand united at ESPY awards

The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together in a powerful and solemn closing to the show highlighting the past year's top US athletes and moments in sports.

Gymnast Aly Raisman, softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez and gymnast Sarah Klein, who said she was Nassar's first victim 30 years ago, took turns speaking at the ESPYs today.

Klein chided the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State for placing "money and medals above the safety of child athletes."

Olympic snowboarding champion Chloe Kim won a leading three ESPYs, including best female athlete, while Alex Ovechkin claimed best male athlete.

Kim had tears in her eyes as she listened to the Arthur Ashe recipients.

"We must start caring about children's safety more than we care about adults' reputations," Klein said. "If we can just give one person the courage to use their voice, this is worth it."

Raisman added, "For too long we were ignored. It could have been avoided. All we needed was one adult to have the integrity to stand between us and Larry Nassar."

The audience gave the group a prolonged standing ovation and remained on its feet while the women spoke.

"What a powerful stage up here," host Danica Patrick said before signing off.


Topics



Swimming coach who trained Aussie legend Ian Thorpe sees huge potential in upcoming Kiwi – ‘the world’s his oyster’

He shot to fame as New Zealand's first medallist in the pool at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and now teenage swimmer Lewis Clareburt is eyeing up even more success.

The 19-year-old has even managed to capture the attention of one of swimming most famous coaches with Doug Frost coming in to coach the Kiwi.

"I'm quite impressed actually - and his whole attitude has been really good," Frost said.

Frost coached Australian swimming legend Ian Thorpe to his five-medal haul at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, but now he’s helping out at Wellington's Capital Swim Club in the build up to the Pan-Pacific Championships next month.

It’s an opportunity Clareburt says he is taking full advantage of.

"Even though he coached Ian Thorpe when he was a freestyler, he's mainly been looking at my breaststroke and my backstroke, and a lot to do with my turns, and just swimming-specific gym work that he's going to bring in the next week."

Clareburt turned down an opportunity to move his training to Auckland, choosing instead to stay in Wellington.

"I get to live at home which is still pretty cool - get the support from mum and dad.

"In the past. Swimming NZ and HPSNZ haven't supported us swimmers in Wellington and I think I changed that after my medal which is all good."

With the Pan-Pacific Champs being his immediate focus, Clareburt says Tokyo 2020 is his next major goal – something Frost sees on the youngster’s horizon.

"I think right now, the world's his oyster, I really believe that.

"He can do anything. It's just a matter of giving the opportunities, and I think that's happening."

Doug Frost has been helping Lewis Clareburt and he sees something special. Source: 1 NEWS


Topics

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

More claims mean NFL concussion payout could jump by $590 million

Lawyers representing former NFL players estimated today that payouts from the concussion settlement with the league will top $US1.4 billion ($NZ2.1 billion), a $US400 million ($NZ590 million) jump because of thousands more players filing claims.

The number of players who filed to be a part of the settlement is out-pacing all previous estimates and could keep growing, the lawyers said in a federal court filing based on estimates from an actuary. The estimate accounts for players who have filed claims and those who have officially given notice that they intend to file claims.

The actuary said participation rates are 21 per cent higher than estimated when the settlement was reached. As of July 16, 499 claims totaling more than $US485 million ($NZ714 million) had been approved, according to the filing.

The massive increase in estimated payout came the same day a judge denied a request from the league to appoint a special investigator to look into what the league said are extensive fraudulent claims against the settlement fund.

Judge Anita Brody wrote in her federal court ruling that the league's attorneys had demonstrated that there is "sufficient evidence of probable fraud to warrant serious concern." But Brody said a special master and a claims administrator have effectively ferreted out those claims for now.

"The audit process is working effectively," Brody wrote in her deferral ruling, saying if the claims administrator or special master notify the court an investigator is needed, "the Court will rule on the motion at that time."

The league requested an investigator and cited in its May argument an independent study it said found more than 400 claims recommended for denial based on evidence of fraud by attorneys, doctors and former players attempting to cheat the program. The league has said those attempts to scam the $US1 billion settlement fund have slowed down the awarding of valid claims.

The settlement, which took effect January 2017, resolved thousands of lawsuits that accused the NFL of hiding what it knew about the risks of repeated concussions.

It covers retired players who develop Lou Gehrig's disease, dementia or other neurological problems believed to be caused by concussions suffered during their pro careers, with awards as high as $US5 million ($NZ7.3 million) for the most serious cases.

Attorneys for the league had cited practices such as doctors seeing players for evaluation not in clinical settings, but in hotel rooms, law offices or other places. They also cited a doctor who said she spent seven to 12 hours evaluating each patient, but approved sometimes as many as eight patients a day.

A lawyer for several plaintiffs said Wednesday that he and others representing the players supported Brody's decision.

"Since the NFL filed its motion more than three months ago, the claims process has continued to accelerate and the current audit process is working effectively," said Chris Seeger, co-lead counsel for the retired players. "We will not allow a small number of potentially fraudulent claims to be used as an excuse by the NFL to deny payment to legitimately injured former players."

In their May arguments, Seeger and other attorneys noted that the instances of fraudulent claims would be cut dramatically after the most recent rules for claims went into effect, including a list of approved physicians to determine eligibility.

Brody warned in her ruling that she expects the process to ensure valid claims are promptly paid.

TEMPE, AZ - MAY 23: The NFL logo during the Arizona Cardinals OTA on May 23, 2018 at the Arizona Cardinals Training Facility in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NFL logo. Source: Getty


Topics