Marvin Sharp was a coach during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Every four years, young female gymnasts from all over the world draw the eyes of many nations and become stars of the summer Olympics. But with less than a year to Rio 2016′s opening ceremony, a Team USA gymnastics coach faces state and federal charges of child molestation and child pornography.
The coach, Marvin Sharp, owns and directs Sharp’s Gymnastics Academy in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was arrested on August 25, 2015, on suspicion of child molestation. Two days later, he appeared in court to hear the state charges against him: four counts of child molestation and three counts of sexual misconduct
In the investigation that followed Sharp’s arrest, officers searched his home and business and found thousands of child pornography images. Sharp faces additional federal charges related to the child pornography.
USA Gymnastics issued a statement the day of Sharp’s arrest. They affirmed that athlete safety is their top priority, saying these charges go against their philosophy and standards. They also stated they are cooperating with investigators regarding Sharp’s case.
Still, when situations like this arise, it’s helpful to examine how coaches become Team USA and Olympic team coaches. To qualify as a Team USA gymnastics coach, coaches must obtain a membership with USA Gymnastics. Membership requirements include a background check that lasts two years. Any coach at a Team USA–sponsored gymnastic event must have a membership.
Team USA Gymnastics coaches become Olympic coaches only if an athlete they train earns a spot as an Olympic athlete. To earn the five open spots, gymnasts must place among the top competitors at the US Olympic Trials. The individual all-around champion earns an automatic spot; a selection committee names four other team members and up to three alternates. Read the rest of this entry →
The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was only 20 years old in 1955 when he collected a league-leading 200 hits and won the American League batting title with a .340 batting title.
Much like the young stars of today, Al Kaline took the baseball world by storm in the 1950s when he made his major league debut at 18 and just two years later finished second in the MVP voting. In making his first All-Star team in 1955, Kaline not only won the only batting title of his career, but he also hit 27 home runs, scored 121 runs and drove home 102 runs. Read the rest of this entry →
Jean Beliveau – Hockey Hall of Famer – 83 years old
A member of the Montreal Canadiens for 20 years and a member of the NHL Hall of Fame, Jean Beliveau helped lead his team to 10 Stanley Cup Championships and is considered by many as one of the 10 greatest players in NHL history.
Rob Bironas – NFL Kicker – 36 years old
After bouncing around the Arena Football League and several NFL tryouts, Rob Bironas finally got his shot with the Tennessee Titans in 2005 and was their kicker for nine seasons before being released prior to the 2014 season. He developed into a Pro Bowl kicker and scored 1,032 points while converting 85.7% of his field goal attempts.
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter – Professional Boxer – 76 years old
Best known by many for the feature film “The Hurricane” in which Denzel Washington chronicled his life as a professional boxer and 20 years in prison, Rubin Carter had a career record of 27-12-1 as a middleweight and lost to Joey Giardello in his only championship bought. He was twice convicted of a triple murder, but the conviction was eventually overturned and Carter became a champion for those wrongly accused of crimes. Read the rest of this entry →
Abebe Bikila was known for running marathons barefoot, including his victory in the 1960 Olympics.
Of all the sports and exercises in the history of the world, the most fundamental and common is undoubtedly running. The prizes in the very first footraces were the largest. In the first footraces ever it was a race to elude predators. It is easy to visualize early man going into a sprint to reach the safety of a cave or fire while pursued by a sabre tooth tiger or equally ferocious animal. While hard to call it a sport with those stakes, it is none the less undoubtedly the origin of the sport of running.
As the centuries went past the first Marathon was thought to be run around 500 BC and the survival skill of running evolved into a sport. Since those earliest days the question of what is the best footgear to run in has been asked, answered, and refined hundreds of times. The sandals laced up around the ankles protected the feet from rough terrain but the earliest Olympiads foreswore those often times for bare feet to save those few ounces in weight. That is not dissimilar to the last 100 years where shedding of weight while preserving protection and support has become a billion dollar industry highlighted by the likes of Nike, Adidas, and New Balance among many others.
The technology and science has gone from the basics of protecting the soles of feet and proving traction, to increasing cushioning and comfort, to literally having loaded springs that artificially increase stride and speed. Throughout all this advancement in technology, there were still famous runners like Abebe Bikila that won a gold medal in the 1960 Olympic Games while running the marathon barefooted. Read the rest of this entry →
Jim McKay kept the world abreast on the tragic events of the 1972 Munich Olympics.
It was 40 years ago, September 5, 1972, when sports and politics merged in a tragic manner with the killing of 11 Israeli hostages during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.
One of the things that made this tragedy so engaging was that it was broadcast live across the country and world through the reporting of ABC News and Sports. While today having cameras covering live-action events is standard practice, this was ground breaking real-time access in 1972 and gave viewers a far different perspective of what was happening than ever before.
Anchoring the coverage for ABC was renowned sports broadcaster Jim McKay. In addition, Chris Schenkel in the studio and Howard Cosell and Peter Jennings posted on the grounds added unique perspective and insight.
Now 40 years later re-watching the coverage it looks a little primitive and dated compared to modern high-definition video, but for the times it was amazing that they were able to get such close-up footage of the terrorists, police and negotiators.
While there is little doubt that the negotiations and rescue mission associated with the tragedy were badly managed and plagued by confusion and ineptitude by the Germany police, the broadcast by ABC was handled with amazing professionalism and grace.
The final announcement by Jim McKay that they were “all gone” was done with amazing humility, sadness and grace and stand as one of the most memorable live broadcasts in television history.
It is quite sad that 40 years later the Olympic leaders refused to recognize this tragic event with a moment of silence. The tragic occurrences of Munich transcend politics and political views and should be remembered as a sad moment where innocent athletes had their dreams and lives snatched away. Acknowledging and remembering these athletes is not a political statement, but a statement about the importance of human life and the mission of the Olympics to bring together people from different nations around a common purpose.
In remembrance of the 40th anniversary, here are some clips from the amazing ABC coverage as well as documentaries that look back at the tragic events.
With the baseball playoffs upon us, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a two-time World Series MVP who hurled eight complete games in the Fall Classic and still holds the record for strikeouts in a World Series game.
Throughout his 17 year career with the St. Louis Cardinals, opponents knew they were in for a battle every time they faced Bob Gibson.