IOC sanctions 3 boxers for betting on fights at Rio Olympics
LONDON (AP) Three Olympic boxers - including one who bet on himself to lose - received ''severe reprimands'' on Wednesday for betting on fights during last month's Rio de Janeiro Games.
Ireland's Michael Conlan and Steve Donnelly and Britain's Antony Fowler were censured by the International Olympic Committee for violating anti-betting rules.
None of the three won medals in Rio, although Irish amateur champion Conlan lost in the quarterfinals in a disputed decision to Russia's Vladimir Nikitin. Donnelly bet against himself in a first-round bout but still won the fight.
The IOC said the three boxers received only reprimands - rather than retroactive disqualifications or bans - because a disciplinary panel determined ''there was no intent to manipulate any event'' and the athletes have apologized.
Under IOC rules, athletes and officials are barred from betting on Olympic events and required to report any approach or suspicion of fixing.
All three boxers acknowledged they had made a mistake and ''regretted it,'' the IOC said. They must undergo an ''educational program'' in order to be eligible to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the committee said.
The IOC also issued simple reprimands to the Irish and British national Olympic committees for ''not having properly informed'' their athletes of the betting rules. They were told to ensure that their athletes at future games go through a ''complete education'' process on the rules on betting and match-fixing.
The IOC also urged the international boxing association, AIBA, to make its own rules compliant with Olympic regulations and to put anti-betting education programs in place.
The 24-year-old Conlan is the most prominent of the three boxers sanctioned by the IOC. He won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and claimed the bantamweight world title in 2015.
In Rio, Conlan reacted furiously to his loss to the bloodied Nikitin, stripping off his vest and making obscene gestures at the judges from the ring. He also made wide-reaching claims of corruption against AIBA and vowed never to fight as an amateur again.
Conlan signed with Top Rank Promotions in Las Vegas last week.
The IOC said Conlan placed cumulative bets on several fights, though none of his own, and lost all of the wagers. At least two bets were placed on fights in his own weight class. The bets were ''of a relatively low amount of money'' - a maximum of 200 pounds ($260) - but ''had created opportunities to make large amounts of money if they had been successful,'' the IOC said.
Conlan appeared at a hearing in Rio, saying he had not read the Olympic anti-betting rules and wasn't aware of them. He said he bet regularly on sports as a ''hobby'' and had done so ''for fun'' in Rio because he was ''bored'' in the athletes village, the IOC said.
Irish Olympic officials told the hearing they had placed more emphasis on anti-doping issues rather than the betting ban in preparing their athletes for the games.
Donnelly placed eight cumulative bets, including two on his opponent, Tuvshinbat Byamba of Mongolia, to win their first-round welterweight bout, the IOC said.
Donnelly, who won the fight, told the IOC hearing that he bet against himself not to fix the bout but because it would have offered ''some compensation'' had he lost.
Donnelly, who lost all of his bets, said he was unaware of the ban on betting and did it to pass the time as he was bored in the village, the IOC said.
Fowler, a middleweight who lost his only fight in Rio, made seven bets, including at least one on a bout involving a British teammate, the IOC said. He won three of the bets, which ranged between 30 pounds ($39) and 300 pounds ($390).
Fowler told the IOC he knew he couldn't bet on his own fights, but wasn't aware of the overall ban on betting. He said he bet in Rio to pass the time and ''make a bit of money.''