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Maggie Hendricks

USOC finally investigates judo Olympian's allegations

Fourth-Place Medal

The USOC told the New York Times that they will investigate claims made by Ronda Rousey, America's best chance for a medal, that a judo official molested athletes. The investigation is in response to Rousey's claims about official Fletcher Thornton, posted on a judo forum and her personal blog. She wrote that USA Judo did nothing about "dozens of documented allegations" of Thornton molesting young girls. She then shared these documents with Michael David Smith at Fanhouse, who chose not to post them. USA Judo declined to comment at the time, both to me and Fanhouse.

After the initial firestorm of the story, it seemed that nothing was being done. Rousey took the allegations off her blog, but did not remove them from the judo forum. Weeks later, USA Judo prepared a statement for the USOC, and now it finally seems that there will be some action on the matter. The New York Times noted that the CEO of USA Judo, Jose Rodriguez, is standing by Thornton. This may explain why the USOC felt the need to step in and start the investigation.

The allegations are nearly 30 years old, but they still need to be dealt with. After judo coach Daniel Doyle was sentenced to 10 years in jail for molesting athletes, I would think that USA Judo would want to be transparent and above reproach on handling issues like this.

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