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Ex-Canadian gymnastics coach’s sex assault trial shows sport still in flux

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For David Brubaker, it must have felt like a million kilometres from his moment of Olympic glory.

It was only a few years ago that he had reached the top of his profession, leading Canada’s gymnastics team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

This week, the decorated coach was in a Sarnia courtroom, facing two sexual assault charges levelled by a former student.

Brubaker’s trial comes at a time when the sport of gymnastics is in a seismic flux. In the U.S., Larry Nassar, the former U.S. gymnastics national team doctor who was convicted of assaulting hundreds of young gymnasts under the guise of treatment, has brought the sport to its knees. Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in jail for his crimes. And just this week, U.S. Gymnastics declared bankruptcy as it desperately tries to make a fresh start.

Here in Canada, Brubaker is one of a number of high-profile coaches currently before the courts.

Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation The charges relate to alleged incidents between 2000 and 2007. The trial concluded Friday.

Justice Deborah Austin will determine whether or not Brubaker is guilty on Feb. 13. 

But this case offers another portrait of a sport we are assured has changed: scenarios that breed allegations like the kind seen in the Brubaker case are no longer tolerated.

But listening to the testimony in this case, you might wonder if that’s possible. The world of elite gymnastics requires the perfect union of athletic prowess and rigid discipline. It often takes an intensive partnership with a coach that can become dependent. Former Canadian Olympic gymnast Kyle Shewfelt, who captured gold at the 2004 Athens Games, has watched this case closely. He currently runs his own gymnastics club in Calgary.

« These young women who are looking just to be validated, telling them, ‘That was a good one’ makes them stand up a little taller and makes their chest puff out a little bit more, » Shewfelt says. « They feel like getting a compliment from the coach is like the best thing in the world. And I think that’s a groomed behaviour and that’s not right. »

WATCH: Ex-coach defends massage techniques:

CBC Sports’ Jamie Strashin has the latest from Sarnia on the sexual assault case against former Canadian gymnastics coach Dave Brubaker. 1:21

Kiss on the lips

In the case involving Brubaker, the complainant told the court, from the time she was 12, he would commonly greet her with a kiss on the lips.

He doesn’t deny this.

« I think it was just out of habit … that she started to kiss me, » Brubaker said, insisting the kisses were innocent. « I don’t come from a kissy family, so to me it’s just part of the gymnast culture. It’s not something I need as a man. »

One wonders if that culture still exists.

Brubaker told the court the complainant initiated the kisses after a competition in Europe.

Brubaker’s wife Liz, who worked alongside her husband, testified she found nothing odd about the kisses, but acknowledged her husband kissed other students only on the cheek.

The complainant also alleged that Brubaker touched her inappropriately while treating her for persistent pain and soreness.

Brubaker also vehemently denied this. But at the same time, an expert witness told the court that treatment, often in sensitive areas, is an integral and necessary part of maintaining the body of an elite gymnast.

« It’s required, » said sports physiologist Ronald Weese, who also worked extensively training elite coaches, including the Brubakers.

Weese told the court that maintaining the muscles required for nuanced splits and manoeuvres is extremely important.

Is this kind of treatment any less important today?

« You can’t get [to an elite level] from here without an emphasis on the small, finer details. » Weese told the court.

Brubaker denies touching a former student inappropriately while treating her for persistent pain and soreness. (Geoff Robins/Canadian Press)

Complainant lived with Brubakers

During their lengthy time as coach and student, the complainant also lived with the Brubakers. The court heard that David Brubaker took special care of her, picking her up almost daily at school before driving her home and then to practice.

On a number of occasions, it’s alleged, Brubaker invited the complainant into his bedroom to join him for a nap. She alleges Brubaker would « spoon » her and tickle her belly.

He denied this ever happened.

« She required a lot of attention, » Brubaker told the court during his testimony. « I did everything I could to give her what she needed to achieve her goals. »

WATCH: Kyle Shewfelt reacts to allegations against Brubaker:

As a gymnastics coach, Olympic champion Kyle Shewfelt describes his shocked reaction to the allegations against former national team coach, as well as how these developments could spark change in the sport’s culture. 4:03

Gymnastics officials on both sides of the border say steps have been taken to eliminate scenarios where potential allegations like these could arise from. There is a rule in place to ensure two adults are present when a child is alone. Organizations are working harder than ever to define and enforce boundaries coaches should never cross, like communicating with athletes on social media. Children are more empowered and there are more avenues to report wrongdoing, according to officials.

But we know that in sports like gymnastics, the road to the podium is achieved in solitude, often driven by a coach the athlete is willing to do anything for.

Shewfelt hopes this is all changing. He hopes the drive to be the best won’t have to come with the pain we have seen recently played out in courtrooms.

« My hope is that the sport can evolve to a place where young women are given the ability to make decisions for themselves in the sport. And I think that there are a lot of clubs in this country that do provide that opportunity, » Shewfelt says.

« And so I encourage parents to look for a place that allows their daughter to have a voice and allow others [to] allow their daughter to be the one driving the bus. »



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These US entities partnered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology — time for a criminal investigation?

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(Natural News) The Wuhan Institute of Virology from which the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is believed to have “escaped” has a number of questionable partnerships that are worth looking into in light of the pandemic.

Most of them are universities, including the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, and Harvard University. There is also the EcoHealth Alliance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Wildlife Federation.

While the relationships between these entities and the Wuhan Institute of Virology may be completely innocent, there is no way to really say for sure without a proper investigation. And this is exactly what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for, as is the nation of Australia.

Pompeo and the folks down under, along with millions of Americans, would really like to know the true origins of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). An increasing number of people simply are not buying the narrative that the novel virus originated in bat soup at a Chinese wet market, and this even includes mainstream media outlets like Fox News.

The only way to really determine what was going on at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and who else might have been involved. is to open the place up for an international investigation. But communist China is against this, of course, accusing Australia of “petty tricks” and collusion with the United States.

“Overnight, I saw comments from the Chinese Foreign Ministry talking about a course of activity with respect to Australia who had the temerity to ask for investigation,” Pompeo is quoted as saying in response to China’s aggression against a proposed investigation.

“Who in the world wouldn’t want an investigation of how this happened to the world?” he added.

As the U.S. aims to get back on track economically speaking, Pompeo believes that now is the time to hold communist China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and whoever else may have been involved accountable for unleashing this pandemic on the world.

“Not only American wealth, but the global economy’s devastation as a result of this virus,” Pompeo further stated. “There will be a time for this. We will get that timing right.”

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New U.S. analysis finds that lab in Wuhan, China was “most likely” origin of coronavirus release

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(Natural News) While American Leftists and most of the Democrat Party continue to serve as apologists for the Chinese Communist regime over its role in creating and then perpetuating the coronavirus pandemic, a new U.S. government analysis concludes that COVID-19 “most likely” escaped from a lab near Wuhan city.

The Washington Times reports that the analysis cataloged evidence linking the outbreak to the Wuhan lab and has found that other explanations for the origins of the virus are not as credible.

The paper reported:

The document, compiled from open sources and not a finished product, says there is no smoking gun to blame the virus on either the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both located in the city where the first outbreaks were reported.

However, “there is circumstantial evidence to suggest such may be the case,” the paper says.

“All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Times.

ChiCom officials have claimed that the virus’ origin is unknown. However, Beijing initially stated that coronavirus came from animals at a “wet market” in Wuhan where exotic meats are butchered and sold in disgusting conditions.

Chinese officials claim that COVID-19 went from bats to animals sold in the market last year, then infected humans.

U.S. intelligence officials have increasingly dismissed that explanation, however, as attention has begun to focus on evidence suggesting that Chinese medical researchers were working with coronavirus in the country’s only Level 4 facility, which is in Wuhan.

U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that intelligence agencies are investigating whether the virus escaped from a lab or was the result of a naturally occurring outbreak, but that analysts have ruled out reports that COVID-19 was manmade.

‘The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off’

“At this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural,” the general said on April 14, “but we don’t know for certain.”

The analysis said that the wet market explanation does not ring true because the first human diagnosis of coronavirus was made in someone who had no connection to the wet market in question. And according to Chinese reports, no bats were sold at that particular market.

At the same time, several questionable actions and a growing paper trail provide clues that the virus actually escaped from a lab, even as China begins to clamp down on those information streams.

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The biggest media lies about the coronavirus: Origins, treatments and vaccines

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(Natural News) If there is one thing that most everyone can agree on concerning the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is the fact that there is no shortage of conflicting information out there about the nature of it. And the mainstream media is certainly doing its part to steer the narrative as part of a larger agenda, using plenty of misinformation along the way.

The following are among the most commonly parroted lies about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that aim to distort the facts and deceive you into believing falsehoods about this pandemic:

Media LIE: The virus is not man-made

From the very beginning of this thing, the official narrative was that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) came from a Chinese wet market where bats and other “exotic” animals are sold as meat. But the world later learned that it actually more than likely “escaped” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The mainstream media and social media platforms went nuts trying to censor this information and even called it  “fake news.” But eventually it became undeniable that bat soup was not responsible for spreading the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) around Wuhan and eventually to the rest of the world – hence why we continue to call it the Wuhan coronavirus rather than just COVID-19.

We have even seen attempts by the media machine at making the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) a racial issue because there are supposedly more “people of color” coming down with it than people with fair skin, which further detracts attention away from the source of this virus.

Media LIE: Hydroxychloroquine is extremely dangerous and doesn’t work

The minute that President Donald Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine may be an effective, and very inexpensive, remedy for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the mainstream media immediately began decrying this claim as fake news, even though Anthony Fauci himself praised hydroxychloroquine back in 2013 under Barack Obama as being some type of “miracle cure” for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

There have even been studies conducted that were designed to intentionally smear the drug as both ineffective and dangerous, though one in particular purposely left out zinc, which appears to be a critical co-factor in supporting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine – in other words, politics as usual.

Media LIE: Only a vaccine can save us from coronavirus

Many politicians and public health officials are parroting the lie that the only way America can come out of lockdown and go back to “normal” is to get vaccinated with some future vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that does not even yet exist. A vaccine, we are repeatedly told, is the only thing, or perhaps some new “blockbuster” antiviral drug, that can cure the world of this scourge and make everything happy and wonderful once again.

Meanwhile, not a peep is being made about things like intravenous (IV) high-dose vitamin C, which is being successfully used in other countries to stem the tide of infections without the need for new drugs and vaccines.

By omission, nutrition is pointless

Speaking of natural approaches to overcoming the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that are being systematically ignored by the mainstream media and most in politics, have you heard anyone mention the importance of nutrition in all of this? We did not think so, and this is intentional.

Regular readers of this site over the years should know by now that the single-most important thing you need to do to stay healthy besides exercising regularly is to feed your body the nutrition it needs to naturally ward off illnesses, including those associated with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

Research compiled by the Lewin Group reveals that nutritional remedies such as calcium, vitamin D, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and more all play a critical role in fortifying the immune system, which, if properly nourished, should have little problem fending off disease.

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