Olympic Gold Medalist, Ruthie Bolton: ‘I Felt Like I Didn’t Deserve My Medals’


Ruthie Bolton won gold medals in the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics. Her left ring fingernail is painted purple as her vow against domestic violence, as part of Safe Horizon’s #PutTheNailinIt campaign. Photo Credit: Felicia Rule Photography

Competing in the Olympics should be a dream come true. But for basketball player Ruthie Bolton, it was hard to enjoy her success when her life at home was a nightmare.

In 1996, Bolton was a star of the United States women’s basketball team, training for hours every day in preparation for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Every night, her then-husband would go to bed next to her with a gun.

Bolton tells me that her husband’s warning — that he had the gun “in case you try something” — was loud and clear. Over time, she actually got so used to his guns that she even bought him one for his birthday. “It was like a psychological thing,” she says. “In my mind, there was no way, if he ever tried to hurt me, that he would shoot me with the gun I bought him.”

Yet, guns actually place domestic violence victims at great risk. Statistics show that domestic violence is more likely to turn deadly when an abusive partner has access to firearms, and firearms increase the risk of intimate partner homicide more than five times.

But Bolton was determined to make her marriage work. Looking back, she feels that her mentality of “work hard and defy the odds,” her biggest strength on the basketball court, was her biggest weakness at home. At Safe Horizon, we know that Bolton did not contribute to the abuse perpetrated against her: Abuse is a choice an abuser makes and is never the fault of the victim. But in Bolton’s heart, she felt that if she just worked at her marriage hard enough, her husband would see how much she loved him, and things would get better.

They didn’t get better. As an Olympic champion, Bolton should’ve felt on the top of the world. Instead, she believed she had failed. “At one point, I felt like throwing my Olympic gold medals away,” she recalls. “I felt like I didn’t deserve them because I couldn’t keep my home happy. My husband was constantly upset with me. It was hard. The world seemed to be proud of me, but at home, I was miserable.”

After shattering glass ceilings for women in sports, Bolton is now shattering the silence around the domestic violence she endured for years so that her story of survival can help others. That’s why she is painting the nail of her left ring-finger purple — the color of the anti-domestic violence movement — to declare her vow to help end domestic violence. The painted fingernail represents her support for Safe Horizon’s #PutTheNailinIt campaign, which has already touched the lives of millions.


I was honored to speak with Bolton recently about her experience with domestic violence as a basketball player, a woman, and an Olympian. To read that inspiring interview please head over to Refinery29.

Safe Horizon’s #PutTheNailinIt campaign asks people to support survivors of abuse and take a stand against domestic violence. Have you taken the #PutTheNailinIt vow to end domestic violence? Visit www.putthenailinit.org to learn how your vow can help victims become survivors.


Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-656-HOPE for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

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Stephen A. Smith Is Not Happy That Carmelo is in the Olympics

Carmelo Anthony had a very impressive and somewhat historically relevant performance in Team USA’s 98-88 victory over Australia on Wednesday. Scoring 31 points and hitting nine three-pointers he is on route to becoming the leader scorer in U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball history. This is Melo’s fourth Olympic games and he has a good shot to […]

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Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie Sings Goodbye With Grace (Too)

From left, Paul Langlois, Johnny Fay, Gord Downie, Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker of The Tragically Hip perform on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, in Toronto. (Photo: Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

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Katy Perry unleashed a feline chatbot to help fans get their paws on her new perfume



If you are one of 90 million and counting hoping for a morsel of Katy Perry’s digital love, the wait can sometimes seem cold and lonely.

Lucky for you, she’s launching a new chat bot to tap into her online fanbase. 

Kik unleashed a Katy Perry bot with personality quizzes that will determine stuff like whether “Firework” or Roar” was about your soul. You can also win her new perfume, Mad Love, including a chance to score one of five bottles Perry signed with her own paws. 

Your new BFF bot’s avatar is a cat named Maddie, naturally, for Mad Love.  Read more…

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Basketball Breathes New Life Into Brazil’s Largest Favela

RIO DE JANEIRO ― On a Saturday morning in June, coach Rodrigo Kanbach was busy trying to get a group of youngsters ready for a two-hour basketball practice. “Where are your sneakers?” “Where are your socks?” “Are you just going to wait over there?” he asked a group of kids at the newly renovated multi-sports complex in Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela. “Come on! Come on! Come on!” he called out. 

This year, Rocinha became the first location in Brazil — and in South America — to establish a junior NBA program, after the Rio de Janeiro State Secretariat for Sports, Leisure and Youth partnered with the NBA. The youth league for children aged 6-14, has so far reached more than 30 countries.

Kanbach, who directs the program, explains that it seeks to teach more than just basketball to youth in Rocinha ― which is home to up to 180,000 people, according to unofficial estimates.

“We have four principles here: leadership, respect, teamwork and living a healthy life. We encourage them to pass on these values to friends and family,” Kanbach says. 

The Jr. NBA program has been very well-received in the community, largely due to the fact that sports has always been popular in the sprawling favela, according to Kanbach. 

The recently renovated sports complex had for years drawn young ballers. “Youth have always shown respect when it comes to sports,” Kanbach explains.

14-year-old Luís Eduardo Braga takes basketball practice very seriously. Before joining the Jr. NBA program, he only played basketball during physical education classes at school — but the courts and balls were always in poor condition.

The NBA has supplied the state-run renovated sports complex with new hoops and stands, and sent uniforms and equipment to Rocinha.

Now, Braga and his friends have the chance to develop their skills, and maybe even pursue the game professionally.

“Basketball is not only fun: It is something I take seriously and in which I will try and build a career,” he says.

Other players, such as 14-year-old João Gabriel Gonzaga Dulce, find in basketball a way to stay out of harm’s way. “When I started playing, I thought: ‘It is better than roaming the streets and getting into trouble,’”Dulce says.

Ashley Albuquerque, 10, whose favorite NBA star is Stephen Curry, says she chose basketball over swimming and volleyball. “I have been coming here since the first class,” she says.

Kanbach explains that the program seeks to promote gender inclusivity in sports. “The inclusion of girls is positive, but the difference in physical strength is an issue and sometimes boys try to isolate them,” he says.

“Our role as coaches is to interfere. When something like that happens, we interrupt the training and create exercises that show that the ball must pass through everyone in order to reach the hoop,” he explains.

The promotion of values such as tolerance and respect is at the heart of the project, according to Kanbach. The program sets it sights beyond sports, and hopes to cultivate a meaningful community for the children who visit the complex every day. 

“It’s great to be able to form athletes,” he says. “But the real goal isn’t that: it’s to form citizens.”

This post first appeared on HuffPost Brazil. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.

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The Olympic Gymnast Whose Leg Snapped Is Already Walking Again

Samir Aït Said, the French Olympic gymnast who suffered a stomach-churning double leg break Saturday, is already back on his feet and taking the first steps toward recovery. 

Said was participating in the men’s qualification round at the 2016 Rio Olympics when he sustained the gruesome leg injury. After he somersaulted over the vault, Said landed on his leg, instantly breaking his tibia and fibula. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the sound of Said’s leg snapping could be heard in the live coverage of the event.

Now, six days after the incident, Said is back on feet following surgery. Although he needs the help of a walking frame to support his weight, the Frenchman appeared to be in good spirits. 

À Rio il y a @samiraitsaid1 qui se casse la jambe mais jure à l’hôpital de revenir en 2020

Et il y a Benoît Paire pic.twitter.com/IylMHw1BiH

— Antoine Adam (@Ant1Adam) August 9, 2016

Since his injury, USA today reported that Said has been receiving overwhelming support from fans all over the world. One of those fans was USA basketball player Paul George, who experienced a similar freak accident when he broke his leg during a USA team exhibition game in August, 2014.

@samiraitsaid1 I feel for you brother.. You’ll be in my prayers! You’ll come back stronger from this trust me … https://t.co/pPbBOxKIST

— Paul George (@Yg_Trece) August 7, 2016

According to French gymnastics journalist Anouk Corge, Said plans to return to gymnastics and compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 

“[Said] says he will be back stronger than ever for Tokyo in four years time,” Corge told USA Today“He said that even with what happened, he feels that 26 is to young for him personally to stop competing in gymnastics.”

Here’s to wishing Said a full and speedy recovery. 


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Paul George Calls Australia ‘Dirty’ After Team USA Almost Suffers Upset in Rio

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