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UPI NewsTrack Sports

Jan. 17, 2013 at 5:15 PM   |   Comments

Notre Dame knew of Te'o hoax weeks ago

SOUTH BEND, Ind., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Notre Dame knew for weeks the story of the death of linebacker Manti Te'o's girlfriend was a hoax but waited until after a title game to talk, the school said.

University spokesman Dennis Brown said in a statement the Heisman Trophy runner-up was the victim of "what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia."

Brown said Notre Dame learned of the apparent hoax Dec. 26, 2012, almost two weeks before Alabama beat Notre Dame 42-14 in the NCAA Bowl Championship Series Jan. 7.

Te'o, 21, released a separate statement saying he was the target of "what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies."

He said he was duped into having a long-term "emotional relationship" with an Internet impostor -- a deception he called "painful and humiliating."

"To think that I shared ... my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been," his statement said.

The syndicated TV show "Inside Edition" said Thursday it has identified the woman whose image was used in the hoax as Diane O'Meara, a 23-year-old marketing professional from Los Angeles, and a former classmate of a friend of Te'o.

The Deadspin sports website, which broke the story about the apparent hoax Wednesday, raised questions about whether Te'o was duped or whether he somehow perpetrated the fictitious story of having a girlfriend who died in September.

Although both Te'o and Notre Dame knew about the fraud before the BCS title game, neither corrected the record until the Deadspin article was published.

Notre Dame said it had hired a private investigator who produced a final report Jan. 4, and the university shared the findings with the Te'o family Jan. 5.

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick told reporters Wednesday night he believed the Te'o family had planned to come clean with the hoax story next week, but Deadspin beat them to the punch.

Swarbrick said neither Notre Dame nor Te'o tried to conceal the story. But Notre Dame acknowledged Wednesday it persuaded Te'o to wait and set the record straight after the title game.


IOC strips Armstrong of 2000 bronze medal

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has been stripped of the medal he won at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, the International Olympic Committee said Thursday.

The announcement came in advance of an interview of Armstrong by Oprah Winfrey to be televised Thursday night in which he reportedly confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs, CNN reported.

An IOC spokesman said Armstrong has been ordered to return the bronze medal he won at the Olympic Games.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles in October by the International Cycling Union.

Dallas attorney Jeffrey Tillotson said Wednesday he may sue Armstrong as early as Friday to recover $12.5 million in bonuses an insurance company he represented was forced to pay the cyclist after he won the Tour de France in 2002, 2003 and 2004, The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday.

Sports-insurance company SCA had insured the bonuses on behalf of Tailwind Sports, which owned the team for which Armstrong raced.

Under questioning by Tillotson in 2005, Armstrong repeatedly denied his wins were a result of doping.

Armstrong says he doesn't have to repay the money because of contract language that says "no party can challenge, appeal or attempt to set aside the arbitration award."


DeCamillis leaves Cowboys, goes to Bears

DALLAS, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis has left the team to serve as assistant head coach of the Chicago Bears, he said.

DeCamillis, 47, on the Cowboy's staff for four years, will also be the Bears' special teams coordinator, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Thursday.

"It's one of the great franchises in the league," he said of his new employer. "I'm hoping I can help any way I can and hopefully add to it."

In Chicago DeCamillis replaces Dave Toub, who will join new Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid.

DeCamillis will work under Marc Trestman, who was introduced as the new Bears head coach Thursday, replacing Lovie Smith.


'Vertical forces' led to Olympian's death

OTTAWA, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A curve in the luge track's ice caused a Georgian athlete to become airborne, hit a post and die at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, a U.S. researcher says.

"Very large vertical forces" launched Nodar Kumaritashvili over the wall and into a support post, said Mont Hubbard, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California at Davis, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Thursday.

Hubbard was interviewed as part of a three-year investigation by the CBC into Kumaritashvili's death.

Kumaritashvili was traveling at nearly 90 miles per hour when the right runner of his sled, coming down high from the outside wall, hit a curved joint of the track where the sidewall meets the floor.

Hubbard said the interaction created enough force "to shoot, to give him upward velocity and to allow him to pass over the wall."

Hubbard's scientific analysis is the first of the deadly accident.

The International Luge Federation, in its official explanation, said the sled compressed and then acted like a spring, catapulting Kumaritashvili off the track.

Hubbard termed the ILF's explanation a "non-explanation."

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