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Olympic stain: Beijing stabbing victims related to former BYU volleyball coach

Published August 9, 2008 9:10 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Updated: 9:09 AM- BEIJING - The father-in-law of former Brigham Young men's volleyball player and coach Hugh McCutcheon was stabbed to death Saturday in a shocking attack at an ancient tower near downtown, officials said, casting a sudden pall over the Beijing Olympics only a day after they began.

The attack on Todd Bachman and his wife Barbara -- the parents of McCutcheon's wife, 2004 Olympian Elisabeth Bachman-McCutcheon, who was with them at the time -- occurred just as Hugh McCutcheon was preparing to lead the U.S. men's team, featuring former Cougars Ryan Millar of Highland and Rich Lambourne, into its first match of the Olympics against Venezuela and current Cougar Joel Silva on Sunday.

McCutcheon is the team's head coach.

Officials said a lone Chinese attacker wielding a knife attacked the Bachmans and their Chinese tour guide around noon at the Drum Tower in central Beijing, killing Todd Bachman and seriously injuring Barbara Bachman and their guide before jumping from the tower to his own death.

The U.S. Olympic Committee said Barbara Bachman is being treated for life-threatening injuries at a local hospital, but that Elisabeth Bachman-McCutcheon was not injured. The official state news agency Xinhua identified the attacker at 47-year-old Tang Yongming, from the city of Hangzhou in southeastern China.

The motive of the attack remains a mystery.

"It is impossible to describe the depth of our sadness and shock in this tragic hour," U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Peter Ueberroth said. "Our delegation comes to the Games as a family, and when one member of our family suffers a loss, we all grieve with them. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences are with the Bachman and McCutcheon families."

USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said he did not know whether McCutcheon will continue to coach the team, or if there has been any consideration given to postponing or cancelling the match against Venezuela. Seibel said the team was informed of the incident Saturday night, and its response was "as you would expect."

"It's an awful thing," Seibel said. "A terrible tragedy."

The 38-year-old McCutcheon played for the Cougars from 1991-93, and later returned as an assistant coach and top recruiter for head coach Carl McGown, who led the Cougars to national championships in 1999 and 2001. He has been the head coach of the national team since 2005, and McGown is now a team scout who's with the team in Beijing.

Word spread quickly after the attack, surprising many who have observed the massive security build-up for the Olympics. Organizers and government officials here have sought to portray China as a safe nation welcoming of foreign visitors, and the country is known as typically free from attacks on tourists.

"To tell you the truth, this is really a shock because there's so much security here," Annette Busateri, a 31-year-old communications manager from Salt Lake City told The New York Times. "We were told that even at the public markets, there was a lot of security in plainclothes. There are guards everywhere and cameras. So I'm not sure how something like this could happen."