Sports Shorts: US IOC member suggests joint Korean team for Nobel peace prize

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A senior American member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) called on Sunday for North and South Korea’s joint women’s ice hockey team to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Angela Ruggiero, a four-time ice hockey world champion and Olympic gold medallist, told Reuters she would ask others to nominate the team, which included 12 players from North Korea which is still technically at war with the South.

It was the first time an inter-Korean team had competed at an Olympic Games.

“I would love the team to get the Nobel Peace Prize,” Ruggiero, a member of the IOC’s executive board said a day after the unified Korean team competed at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

“Seriously, the team. Something that is recognising the sacrifice they made to adjusting their competitions,” she said.

South Korea suggested the formation of a joint team as part of its efforts to use the Games to re-engage with the North and pave the way for talks over the North’s weapons programme.

North Korea is subject to heavy UN and US sanctions designed to pressure the reclusive, one-party state to abandon its development of nuclear and ballistic missiles.

“As someone who competed in four Olympics and knows it isn’t about you, your team, or your country, I saw the power of what it did last night,” Ruggiero said.

The team took to the ice for the first time on Saturday, losing to Switzerland but winning over the crowd as North Korean cheerleaders and South Korean fans roared the players on.

The countries are still technically at war since their 1950-53 war ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

However, South Korea has been more willing to re-engage with the North than its old US war ally, which wants Seoul to keep piling diplomatic and economic pressure on its neighbour.

Last month, the North agreed with South Korea to send 22 athletes and a 230-strong cheering squad to the winter Games.

Disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor sent to Arizona federal prison

Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has been transferred to a high security federal prison in Tucson, Arizona, after being convicted of molesting scores of young women who went to him for treatment, authorities said on Saturday.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons said the 54-year-old Nassar was at the United States Penitentiary, Tucson, which holds about 1,390 male inmates. The bureau’s website listed his release date as March 23, 2069.

After weeks of horrifying testimony from nearly 200 victims about his decades of abuse, Nassar was sentenced on Monday in Michigan to 40 to 125 years in prison.

He had already received a 40-to-175-year sentence in a neighboring Michigan county, and was sentenced to a 60-year federal term for child pornography convictions.

Prosecutors have said there are about 265 known victims in total, including Olympic gold medalists McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman.

The Nassar scandal has prompted multiple investigations into why the US Olympic Committee, the sport’s governing body USA Gymnastics, as well as Michigan State University, where Nassar also worked, failed to investigate complaints about him going back years.

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