An American Olympic fencer claims he was unfairly isolated from the rest of his team competing in Tokyo and forced to stay at a hotel 25 minutes away from the Olympic Village after being accused of sexual misconduct by three women.
Alen Hadzic, 29, an alternate on the men’s epee fencing team, is now fighting to have what he calls “arbitrary and unnecessary” restrictions imposed on him by the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee ahead of Friday’s Tokyo Games opening ceremony .
Hadzic, of Montclair, New Jersey, was suspended in June from the US Center for SafeSport over an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct, including groping, while studying at Columbia University between 2010-2015.
Alen Hadzic, 29, a deputy for the US swordsman fencing team, wants restrictions on his movements in Tokyo to be lifted. He is under investigation over sexual misconduct allegations
Hadzic complained in a complaint that he had to fly to Tokyo alone, stay in a hotel 25 minutes’ drive from Olympic Village (pictured), and train separately from fellow fencers
Hadzic maintained his innocence and dismissed the allegations against him as “false truths.”
An arbitrator has since lifted the suspension, paving the way for Hadzic to travel to Japan and compete with the rest of the US fencing team. USA Today Sports.
Judge Sherrie Krauser said the suspension was “inappropriate for the charges” and concluded that Hadzic’s participation in the Tokyo Olympics “would not harm the reputation of the United States or its sport.”
But according to the athlete and his lawyer, he is being denied the full Olympic experience by being kept separate from his teammates.
An official complaint filed by Hadzic alleges that his sport’s governing body forced him to fly alone to Tokyo, stay in a hotel 25 minutes’ drive from the Olympic Village, and train separately from his fellow fencers.
USA Fencing responded to Hadzic’s complaint by saying that “team athletes have expressed concerns for their safety and well-being as a result of [Hadzic’s] presence.’
An arbitration hearing in the case was scheduled for Thursday. The men’s epee fencing competition kicks off on Sunday.
Hadzic, pictured competing in the Men’s World Epee Championship in February 2020, has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women
Hadzic’s lawyer Michael Palma wrote in the indictment that USA Fencing wants to “hide” his client and “stop him from participating in the Olympic experience he has rightly earned.”
Hadzic came under scrutiny after three women came forward and accused him of sexual misconduct between 2013 and 2015.
A woman accused Hadzic of unspecified crimes in 2013, while the two were visiting Columbia University.
Hadzic was suspended from university for a year during a Title IX investigation, but was eventually allowed to resume his studies, graduating in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
That same year, a second woman claimed that Hadzic groped her bottom and pushed her against a dresser.
Speaking to USA Today Sports, the second accuser condemned the decision to lift Hadzic’s suspension and allow him to represent the US at the Olympics amid an ongoing SafeSport investigation.
“I think one case is enough to get out of the damn Olympics,” she said. “You really start to wonder how far someone has to go in order not to compete.”
Hadzic was suspended by the US Center for SafeSport in June, but an arbiter lifted his suspension, allowing him to compete in Tokyo
USA Fencing’s CEO explained in an email to Hadzic that the organization did not have the authority to sideline him from the Tokyo Games, but has put in place a “safety plan” in response to complaints from multiple athletes raising concerns. have uttered’. for their safety and well-being arising from your presence…’
Palma said USA Fencing has been aware of the allegations of misconduct against its client for years, but has so far allowed Hadzic to participate in fencing competitions around the world without any restrictions.
Hadzic, who founded a clinical research company last year, qualified for the Tokyo Games in May after narrowly missing a spot in Team USA for the 2016 Olympics, the Olympic Games reported. New York Times.
As an alternate on the men’s fencing team, Hadzic will intervene if another athlete is unable to participate due to injury or illness.