US athlete banned from Olympic village over sexual misconduct claims

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Alen Hadzic, pictured here in action for America in fencing.
Alen Hadzic has been banned from the Olympic village over sexual misconduct claims. Image: Getty

An American fencer has lost an appeal after he was banned from staying in the Olympic village in Tokyo amid serious sexual misconduct claims.

Alen Hadzic has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women and is currently under investigation.

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The fencer filed a complaint with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee alleging that he is being forced to undergo “arbitrary and unnecessary” restrictions in Tokyo.

But an arbitrator upheld the decision of USA Fencing on Thursday, sayiing it was preventing Hadzic from staying at the Olympic Village as part of a “safety plan."

“The process was properly followed," United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) spokesperson Jon Mason said after the ruling. 

"The athletes had the opportunity to be heard, and we are satisfied with the decision.”

Alen Hadzic, pictured here in action against Vadim Anokhin at the Men's Epee World Cup in 2019.
Alen Hadzic (L) in action against Vadim Anokhin at the Men's Epee World Cup in 2019. (Photo by Devin Manky/Getty Images)

Hadzic has been staying at a hotel about 30 minutes away from the Olympic Village and was made to fly to Japan two days after his teammates separately.

On Thursday, the arbiter permitted him to get a hotel room closer to the training centre.

Hadzic, 29, was suspended in June by the US Centre for SafeSport after three women alleged that he committed sexual misconduct against them between 2013 and 2015.

One woman said that Hadzic groped her in 2015, after she and a fencing teammate at Columbia were invited by Hadzic over to his home after walking home one night. 

Another woman reported Hadzic for sexual misconduct in 2013, when they both were at Columbia fencing. He was suspended for one year amid a Title IX investigation.

“I think one case is enough for you to not be allowed to compete at the f****** Olympics,” one of the women told USA Today anonymously. 

“It really makes you question how far someone needs to go in order for them not to be able to compete.’’

Alen Hadzic denies sexual misconduct allegations

Hadzic has denied the allegations against him.

“Frankly, they're untruths,” he said. “They’re just frankly not true.”

Hadzic’s suspension was lifted in time for him to make the trip to Tokyo for the Olympics. 

He is the men’s epee alternate, and will compete if necessary once the competition starts on Sunday.

USA Fencing CEO Kris Ekeren wrote an email to Hadzic earlier this month explaining the decision to impose the restrictions.

“Team athletes have expressed concerns for their safety and well-being arising from your presence, which they say are likely to adversely affect their mental and emotional abilities to prepare and compete at the highest levels required for success in the Olympic Games,” the email said. 

“Several have asked that USA Fencing put measures in place to keep them safe and minimize distractions from training and competition. 

Accordingly, USA Fencing, in conjunction with the USOPC, will implement a safety plan for the upcoming Olympic Games.”

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