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U.S. Figure Skater John Coughlin Dead by Suicide at 33 ... Amid Suspension/Investigation

1/19/2019 6:39 PM PST

Former U.S. figure skating champion John Coughlin has killed himself in the midst of an internal investigation within his sport. 

Coughlin -- a two-time U.S. Pairs champion -- took his own life Friday in Kansas City, according to his sister, Angela Laune, who revealed the news on Facebook. Police have reportedly confirmed his death as well.

The Olympic skater had recently been temporarily barred from participating in any skating events in any capacity due to an investigation launched by SafeSport last month. SafeSport is an independent body that investigates allegations of misconduct, and has "exclusive jurisdiction over allegations of sexual misconduct but also looks into other forms of abuse," per USA Today.

The investigation quickly escalated, as he was suspended by U.S. Figure Skating following a recommendation from SafeSport. The details of what he'd been accused of remain unclear for now.

Coughlin was 33.

Usain Bolt & Longtime GF Hit Cabo ... Bikinis And Mojitos!!!

1/11/2019 11:05 AM PST

Usain Bolt and his GF are still going strong ... the two hit up Cabo this week -- and the bikini she was rockin' and the mojitos they were drinkin' say they're doing just fine.

Of course ... Bolt and Kasi Bennett have had a very unique relationship over the years -- 'memba the EPIC hall pass she allegedly gave him during the 2016 Rio Olympics??

But, doesn't seem all that other tail has put a strain on their relationship ... 'cause the two soaked in the Mexico rays just fine on Thursday.

There was rum ... white sand ... and Bennett even flaunted all her assets in a tiny bikini for the ex-track star.

Yeah, Bolt likey.

It all begs the question ... could Usain finally be ready to trade in Olympic rings for wedding ones???

#PutARingOnIt!!!

Ryan Lochte Do I Swim Blindfolded??? ... Jeah.

1/6/2019 12:15 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Ryan Lochte swims blindfolded. 

And, he's been doing it WAY before the "Bird Box Challenge" became a thing. 

First off, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME -- IT'S SUPER DANGEROUS AND YOU MIGHT DIE. 

But, Lochte is a pro -- surrounded by a team of coaches -- and tells TMZ Sports there's a real benefit to swimming laps with his eyes covered. 

"I do that sometimes just for fun in practice. I'll swim blindfolded a couple laps just to make sure my stroke count is perfect."

Again ... DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!!! 

Speaking of training, Lochte says he's laser-focused on competing in the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo ... even after the drama he was involved in during the last Olympics, in Brazil. 

You know ... when he was arrested for allegedly trashing a gas station in Rio. That became an international incident, and U.S. Swimming banned him from competition for 10 months

He's now 34-years-old -- but tells TMZ Sports he's got his eye on a gold medal ... and wouldn't put himself through all the hellacious training to settle for a silver or a bronze. 

Good luck!! 

Gold Medalist Missy Franklin Retires From Swimming ... At 23 Years Old

12/19/2018 10:56 AM PST
Breaking News

Missy Franklin -- the Olympic prodigy who won 4 gold medals as a 17-year-old in the London Games -- has announced she's putting an end to her swimming career at just 23 years old.

The first American woman ever to earn 4 golds in one Olympics in any sport announced in a statement on ESPN on Wednesday that shoulder injuries are putting an end to her career.

"It took me a long time to say the words, 'I am retiring,'" Franklin wrote ... "A long, long time. But now I'm ready. I'm ready to not be in pain every day."

"I'm ready to become a wife, one day a mother. I'm ready to continue growing each and every day to be the best person and role model I can be. I'm ready for the rest of my life."

Franklin was an absolute monster in the 2012 Olympics ... smashing world records and boat racing the competition.

But, Missy is perhaps MOST famous for turning down all the cash that coulda come from her success in those Games ... 'cause she opted to not go pro and instead swim at Cal Berkeley.

Franklin disappointed years later in the 2016 Olympics in Rio ... failing to earn medals in her individual's events -- and later revealing she battled injuries, depression, insomnia and anxiety during those Games.

"This is by no means the end," Franklin wrote of her retirement.

"Rather, I choose to look at this as a new beginning. Swimming has been, and always will be, a big part of my life and I absolutely plan to stay involved in what I feel is the best sport in the world, just in a different way."

Simone Biles Takes Anxiety Meds, Therapy ... Over Larry Nassar Sexual Abuse

12/11/2018 7:01 AM PST
Breaking News

U.S. Olympic superstar Simone Biles says she's still traumatized from the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of Larry Nassar ... and has sought professional help for treatment. 

Biles appeared on "Good Morning America" on Tuesday where Robin Roberts asked her how she's been able to handle the emotional rollercoaster connected to the Nassar scandal. 

"It's definitely not easy," Biles said ... "I have my ups and downs. I still go to therapy and I'm on anxiety medication now."

"I had a lot of ups and downs throughout the year and trying to figure out what was wrong, and so I go to therapy pretty regularly and it’s not easy but the people surrounding me are some of the best so it makes it a little easier."

Roberts thanked Biles for being so open about her treatment and said, "Bless you for taking care of you like you're doing."

Back in January, Biles revealed she -- like scores of gymnasts -- was abused by the former Team USA gymnastics doctor. 

"I've felt a bit broken and the more I try to shut off the voice in my head the louder it screams," Biles posted on social media back in January along with the hashtag #MeToo.

"I am not afraid to tell my story anymore."

Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for child porn -- and has been sentenced to up to 175 more years for sexually abusing more than 140 athletes. 

NFL's Jared Allen Dead Serious About Olympic Curling ... After Bet with Buddies

11/30/2018 12:30 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Ex-NFL star Jared Allen says his new career as a pro curler -- the ice sport -- is NOT a joke ... and it all began after making a stupid bet with some buddies. 

After Allen retired from football in 2016, the future Hall of Famer still had a burning desire to play sports -- so he tried to be a pro golfer, but quickly realized he's no Tiger Woods

That's when he made a bet with a friend that he could become an Olympian -- and after watching the movie "Eddie the Eagle" ... he got serious about finding the right sport for him. 

First, it was badminton ... Allen tells TMZ Sports he called up his good buddy and fellow NFL alum Marc Bulger, but they decided the sport was too tough on their bodies. 

That's when they moved on to curling -- which is basically shuffleboard on ice -- and decided that was the place where they'd strike!

Since that day, Allen recruited a few other NFL friends including Pro Bowl linebacker Keith Bulluck and Pro Bowl tackle Michael Roos ... and they started a curling team. 

Now, they're REALLY competing against other elite curling teams and Jared says they're dead serious about making it to the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. 

In fact, Jared says they've hired a sweeping coach and train on the ice at least 2 hours a week. 

"You have to sweep a lot," Allen says ... "I've been known for my cardio, sweeping is frickin' tough!" 

So, what's the hardest part of the game for Jared?

"You're really not supposed to talk trash ... so that's gonna be hard for me."

LET'S GO JARED -- USA! USA! USA!!!

Ex-Michigan State Prez Charged with Lying to Police About Nassar Investigation

11/20/2018 1:58 PM PST
Breaking News

Ex-Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon has been charged with lying to cops to cover up the Larry Nassar scandal ... and now she's facing years behind bars.

The ex-prez has been charged with 2 felony and 2 misdemeanor counts after an investigation determined she lied about knowing of complaints against Nassar in 2014.

According to court docs, the felony counts carry up to 4 years in prison and the misdemeanors up to 2 years.

In the docs, Simon said she was aware of a review of allegations against a sports doctor, but didn't reveal she knew it was Nassar.

Simon resigned from her position in January ... shortly after Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexual abuse.

This is the 3rd school official charged as a result of the investigation into the Nassar scandal ... the school's former dean of Osteopathic Medicine, William Strampel, and ex-gymnastics coach Kathie Klages were also charged.

Simon's arraignment is set for Monday.

Aly Raisman Scorched Earth on USA Gymnastics ... They Can't Be Trusted!

10/30/2018 6:49 AM PDT
Breaking News

Aly Raisman just went OFF on USA Gymnastics -- saying the organization is still not being transparent about the child abuse scandal and warns the public ... THEY CAN'T BE TRUSTED.

Raisman is really pissed about the fact there still has not been a full, independent investigation by law enforcement ... despite the fact she's been calling for one since JANUARY!!!

Raisman calls the situation "absolutely absurd."

During her interview with Hoda Kotb on "Today," Aly also stated, "We can't trust USA Gymnastics because they're not being transparent."

She was referring to 2 major recent developments in the program. First, Team USA tumbling coach Sergio Galvez being forced to resign amid undisclosed accusations of misconduct on Monday. 

Second, Steve Penny -- the former president of USA Gymnastics -- being arrested by U.S. Marshals for allegedly tampering with evidence in the Larry Nassar case.

Aly's problem ... she claims Team USA Gymnastics needs to be more open about what really happened behind the scenes. Instead, she claims the org is more concerned with fixing a PR problem than a "child abuse problem."

Hoda asks Aly if she'll ever consider taking over Team USA Gymnastics herself -- and she doesn't exactly say no. 

Shaun White Apologizes to Special Olympics For 'Insensitive' Costume

10/29/2018 3:57 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

3:58 PM PT -- Shaun White has pulled the photo of his "Simple Jack" costume off of his social and has issued an apology.

"I owe everyone in the Special Olympics community an apology for my poor choice of Halloween costume the other night."

"It was a last minute decision. It was the wrong one." White says. 

"The Special Olympics were right to call me out on it. They do great work supporting so many tremendous athletes and I am sorry for being insensitive. Lesson learned."

Shaun White is under fire from special needs parents AND the Special Olympics over his Halloween costume -- Simple Jack from "Tropic Thunder." 

Remember, when the movie came out back in 2008, several disabilities groups blasted Ben Stiller and the flick for the character -- an intellectually disabled man who is repeatedly referred to as the r-word. 

Now, 10 years later ... White thought it would be a good idea to trot out the costume for a Halloween party and people are pissed. 

In fact, a rep for the Special Olympics tells TMZ Sports ...

"We are truly disappointed that Shaun White, an acclaimed Olympian, would choose this costume which is so offensive and causes so much pain."

"Disability is not a joke nor should it be a punchline. We hope that Shaun White and others learn that this just continues stigma, stereotypes and discrimination."

Others have sounded off on Shaun's IG page -- where he posted the pic. 

"I'm not sure if it’s worse that this is an actual movie or that you’d think it’s okay to mock individuals who have disabilities. It’s 2018, man. #spreadthewordtoendtheword #rwordhurts," one person wrote. 

Another wrote, "You’re a real POS! Really? At the expense of those who can’t defend themselves?? Hope you’re working on your lame apology speech...I know this will be deleted!! Grow up you douche! #spreadthewordtoendtheword #specialolympics."

We reached out to White's agent for comment -- so far, no word back.  

Originally published -- 9:20 AM PDT 

Caitlyn Jenner Olympic 'Bruce' Costume Maker ... Refuses to Yank It Despite Backlash

10/23/2018 9:36 AM PDT
Exclusive Details

9:26 AM PT -- A rep for Costume Agent, which originally created and distributed the controversial Caitlyn costume, tells TMZ they're not yanking it from their own site, and certainly not discontinuing it ... backlash be damned.

We're told the 'stume is one of their best sellers -- it's the #6 overall bestseller. Although they have received multiple threats over it this past week, they're standing by their product. The rep says, "It's a costume. It's funny."

A Caitlyn Jenner costume -- which harkens back to her Olympic glory days as Bruce Jenner -- is getting destroyed by critics who say it's insensitive to transgender people ... and it's already being yanked from at least one outlet.

The getup is called "I Am Cait" ... and features a decathlete's jersey with Bruce's number 935, a gold medal and those teeny tiny shorts -- all of that vintage Bruce from his 1976 decathlon victory. However, it also comes with a long-haired wig that's all Caitlyn.

eBay was flooded with criticism for selling the $44.95 costume -- several transgender charities are calling it out as mocking, instead of being an homage.

The caption for one online promo says, "Show your love for Caitlyn Jenner with this awesome adult costume." 

The backlash has been enough for eBay to remove the costume, but as of now ... it's still available on Amazon.

Originally Published -- 6:54 AM PT

Adam Rippon Praises Aly Raisman and Survivors They're Changing Dangerous Sports Culture

10/19/2018 7:34 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Aly Raisman and her Team USA teammates are heroically disrupting a dangerous belief system that athletes must blindly trust their coaches and doctors -- so says fellow Olympian Adam Rippon

The Team USA figure skating star says he's so proud of Aly, Simone Biles and others for refusing to be victims -- and instead, uniting to change the culture for the better. 

"I think when you're an athlete and you have somebody who's in power, you feel like they're in the right," Rippon says.

"You're in that position where you wanna listen to them. You want to do everything that they tell you to do, even if it sounds wrong. You still do it because that's what you're told. You want to be the best."

Obviously, it was that mentality that explains why so many girls and young women stayed quiet about the abuse they suffered at the hands of team doctor Larry Nassar, who sexually assaulted more than 180 women under the guise of performing medical techniques. 

"There were people [like Larry Nassar] that really took advantage of that. But, then those younger gymnasts, those younger athletes, they can look to athletes like Simone Biles and Aly Raisman and all of the survivors who've really come forward and help give those other victims a lot of courage and like a zero tolerance."

Respect. 

Ex-USA Gymnastics President Arrested by U.S. Marshals ... Connected to Nassar Case

10/18/2018 6:01 AM PDT
Breaking News

Steve Penny -- the former president of USA Gymnastics -- was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Tennessee on Wednesday stemming from allegations he tampered with evidence in the Larry Nassar case. 

Officials say Penny went to the famed Karolyi Ranch training facility in Texas and removed documents linked to Nassar's sexual assault case.

It's interesting considering one of Penny's former top staffers testified back in June that she told him about Nassar's misconduct and was told to keep her mouth shut. 

The Walker County District Attorney says Penny was indicted by a grand jury roughly 3 weeks ago. They tracked him down at a cabin in Tennessee this week and took him into custody. 

"The indictment further alleges that the removal of the documents was done for the purpose of impairing the ongoing investigation by destroying or hiding the documents," the U.S. Marshals said.

Prosecutors say Penny had the documents be sent to him at USA Gymnastics headquarters in Indianapolis. Officials still have not located the documents. 

If convicted, Penny -- who resigned as USA Gymnastics president in 2017 -- faces up to 10 years in prison.

Attorney John Manly -- whose firm represents more than 180 of Nassar's sexual assault victims -- says his clients are "grateful" for the arrest. 

"Mr. Penny is exactly where he belongs for his enabling a pedophile."

"These brave young women and girls deserve justice."

Usain Bolt Scores 2 Goals in Pro Soccer Game ... Busts Out 'Shoot' Dance!

10/12/2018 6:16 AM PDT
Breaking News

Usain Bolt was Usain GOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLTT in his Australian pro soccer game on Friday ... hittin' the back of the net TWICE ... and celebrating with the "shoot" dance!!

The 8-time Olympic gold medalist suited up for the Central Coast Mariners -- wearing a #95 jersey -- and he BALLED OUT in his second appearance for the club ... scoring 2 goals.

Of course, Bolt christened the goals with his signature "lightning bolt" pose for the first goal he scored, an hour into the match ... then followed up with the BlocBoy JB dance for his 2nd goal in the 69th minute.

BTW -- even though he's on a trial with the Mariners, Bolt is serious about this whole soccer thing ... and he's even told TMZ Sports he'd be down to join the MLS -- if they pay up.

The challenge for Bolt, he's gotta convince the old school soccer dudes he's for real -- because when we spoke with Alexi Lalas about Usain joining the MLS, he basically told us there's no shot

But, if Bolt continues to torch defenses ... ya gotta think it's a matter of time before he gets a contract offer. 

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