Alen Hadzic, a substitute fencer for the United States Olympic Fencing team, has been separated from his teammates at the Olympic Village in Tokyo and transferred to a distant hotel due to allegations of sexual misconduct made by three women in incidents that occurred between 2013. and 2015. Hadzic, 29, even had to fly to Japan separately from the rest of the team, due to complaints from other fencers who feared for their safety and well-being, according to the North American Olympic fencing team, which has described the measures as “a security plan". As a substitute, Hadzic will only compete if any of his teammates are unable to do so. The first round of men's epee is scheduled for this Sunday.
On June 2, the fencer was suspended from any fencing-related activity by the US Center for SafeSport, an independent agency created in 2017 to safeguard Olympic athletes from any sexual, physical or emotional abuse.
At that time, everything pointed to Hadzic not being among the athletes who would travel to Tokyo.
However, the shooter appealed the decision and on June 29 a mediator in the dispute decided that Hadzic's participation in the Olympic team was not "in any way detrimental to the reputation of the United States or its sport."
That same mediator established that Hadzic could not contact the women who had identified him as an abuser, but that the suspension was "inappropriate for the complaints" that existed.
According to Hadzic told
who first reported the details of the case last Wednesday, the incriminations were "frankly lies." Last Thursday, according to the fencer's lawyer, Michael Palma, Hadzic's transfer to a hotel closer to the Olympic village was authorized to facilitate his training,
The New York Times reported.
For the athlete's lawyer, the Olympic fencing team knew about the accusations against Hadzic "for years" and never raised any objection to his client competing around the world alongside the national team. For Palma, what has happened is due to a clear attempt by the US delegation sent to Tokyo to avoid "negative publicity", always according to the New York newspaper.
The fencer failed to make the cut to participate with the fencing team at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, but he qualified for Tokyo on May 7.
At the time, his face was on the Instagram account of the US fencing team, but soon after, accusations that he was a sexual predator and a rapist began to jump on social media.
Hadzic has never been charged with rape or committing any action, civil or criminal, that is related to inappropriate sexual attacks.
It is a fact that the fencer was suspended by Columbia University (New York) during the 2013-2014 academic year, after the educational center applied the university statutes that have to do with "non-consensual sex", after the complaint of a fellow fencer.
To date, there are six female fencers, including two Olympians, who have complained to the Olympic committee that Hadzic should not be able to represent the USA, as they consider her participation a "direct affront" to her fellow athletes, to the that puts you at risk.
In his account to
the shooter stated that he did not know what to expect until he landed in Tokyo.
"When I arrived at the sports facilities, all the coaches shook my hand and congratulated me on being part of the team," Hadzic said.
"All the fencers that I thought would be afraid to talk to me came up to me and greeted me."
"Even the women," concluded the athlete.
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