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Jimmy Feigen apologizes for ‘serious distraction’ in Rio

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NEW YORK — U.S. swimmer James Feigen apologized for the “serious distraction” he and three teammates caused at a gas station during the Rio Olympics, saying he omitted facts in his statement to police.

“I omitted the facts that we urinated behind the building and that Ryan Lochte pulled a poster off the wall,” Feigen said in a statement Tuesday on the website of his lawyer in Austin, Texas.

He maintains the group didn’t force their way into a bathroom and a gun was pointed at them.

Feigen said the group left the French House party around 5 a.m. in a taxi to travel back to the Athlete Village.

“We pulled over to a gas station to use the bathroom but the door was locked,” Feigen’s statement read. “We did not force entry into the bathroom, nor did we ever enter the bathroom. We did, however, make the regrettable decision to urinate in the grass behind the building.”

Feigen said he paid the driver the cab fare and “As I walked away, the man with the gun pointed it at me and my teammate and ordered us, in Portuguese, to sit.”

Feigen said it “became apparent that the man with the gun was telling us to pay,” and he and teammate Gunnar Bentz gave the man some money. They took another cab to the village and arrived around 7 a.m.

Feigen, who was pulled off an airplane last week by Brazilian police for more questioning, said he paid a fine of $10,800 for return of his passport so he could travel back to the U.S.

US Olympic cyclist Catlin found dead in her home at age 23

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) Olympic track cyclist Kelly Catlin, who helped the U.S. women’s pursuit team win the silver medal at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, died Friday at her home in California. She was 23.

USA Cycling chief executive Rob DeMartini said in a statement Sunday that “the entire cycling community is mourning this immense loss. We are offering continuous support to Kelly’s teammates, coaches and staff. We also encourage all those who knew Kelly to support each other through the grieving.”

Catlin’s father, Mark Catlin, told VeloNews that his daughter killed herself.

Catlin was born and raised near Minneapolis, Minnesota, and rose to prominence on the track as a member of the U.S. national team. She also raced on the road for the Rally UHC Pro Cycling Team, and she was pursuing a graduate degree in computational mathematics at Stanford.

Don’t expect to puff away at next year’s Tokyo Olympics

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TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo is still a smoker’s heaven.

Despite tougher laws enacted last year, smokers can light up in some restaurants and bars. Tobacco advertising is allowed on television, cigarette packages don’t contain graphic health warnings, and tobacco is cheap compared to other major cities.

However, don’t expect to puff away at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Organizers on Thursday announced a stringent ban on all tobacco products and vaping devices. Smoking will be banned at all indoor and outdoor Olympic and Paralympic venues, plus within all perimeter areas of the Tokyo Games.

Organizers say the prohibition is tougher than regulations for the last two Summer Olympics in London and Rio de Janeiro.

“Tokyo 2020 aims to leave a legacy of improved health for the country at large,” organizers said in a statement.

Japan’s national legislature last year approved a ban on smoking inside public facilities, but the measure was seen as weak and excluded many bars and restaurants.

Tokyo’s city government separately enacted tougher rules last year to protect from second-hand smoke. All provisions kick in during the run-up to the Olympics.

Smoking is still allowed in small eateries and bars. They make up half of Japanese establishments, where it’s common to see a customer eating with chopsticks in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

“Countering passive smoking has long been a concern,” Keiko Nakayama, a Tokyo city government health official, said in a statement to The Associated Press. “We would like to push for approving more anti-smoking measures so people stay healthy longer.”

The city’s smoking policy will be reviewed in five years. But more regulation will always face tough opposition despite the fact that smoking has declined in recent years.

The Japanese government has a large stake in tobacco. It owns a third of the stock and is the top investor in major cigarette company Japan Tobacco Inc. The industry was a government monopoly until 1985, and is a huge source of tax revenue.

Smoking is cheap in Japan compared to other developed countries. A pack of Marlboro cigarettes costs about $5. In London and New York it’s about $14, and in Sydney it’s $20.

According to World Health Organization data for 2015, 32.7 percent of Japanese males smoke, compared to 24.4 in the United States. The highest figures were East Timor (78.0) and Indonesia (74.9), and the lowest two were in Africa: Ethiopia (7.6) and Ghana (7.1).