News, views and noise from the non-stop, worldwide circus of Olympic sport:
● Athletics ● It’s a World Championship year, so crazy things are happening. Like Kenny Bednarek, a freshman at Indian Hills Community College running a wind-aided 19.49 in the prelims of the National Junior College Championships in Hobbs, New Mexico.
What? 19.49? What?
Bednarek has been an emerging star all season after being an outstanding high school sprinter at Rice Lake High School in Wisconsin. He won the Wisconsin State titles in the 100-200-400 m and had bests of 10.42, 20.43 and 46.68 in 2018.
But that’s nothing compared to what he’s done in 2019, exploding during the Drake Relays to win the 200 m in a lifetime best of 20.29 and then lowering his 400 m PR to 45.62 a week later.
At New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, he screamed to a win in the heats of the 200 m in a very wind-aided 19.49, with an aiding 6.1 m/s zephyr – almost 14 miles per hour – behind him. It’s an altitude-aided mark, since Hobbs is at 3,622 ft. (1,105 m), but even so – using mathematical conversion formulas – the 19.49 would be worth about 19.89 or so, which would be no. 2 in the world for 2019.
Bednarek ran in heat four and knew he had to run fast, since the first heat was won by Hinds Community College (Raymond, Mississippi) sophomore Terrance Laird in a windy 19.64 (+5.6 m/s)!
Remember, these are in the prelims! The final is tomorrow; the live timing site is here.
● Athletics ● The highlight of the 10th USATF Distance Classic at Occidental College in Los Angeles was the world-leading women’s 5,000 m by Rachel Schneider.
She shattered her prior best of 15:15.88 to win in 15:06.71, but just steps ahead of Jamaica’s Aisha Praught-Leer, who set a national record at 15:07.50, with American Lauren Paquette third at 15:14.64.
Other winners of note included Ryan Murphy in the 800 m in 1:46.10; Kalle Berglund (SWE) in the men’s 1,500 in 3:37.84 and Lawi Lalang in the 5,000 m at 13:25.14. The top women’s winners included Kate Grace at 800 m in 2:02.95, and Nikki Hiltz won the 1,500 in 4:07.71.
● Cycling ● Not that it’s all that important, but would you like to know what’s on the spectator concession menu at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Albstadt (GER) this weekend? Here you go:
€ 1.50 (~$ 1.68): Buttered Pretzel or Cake
€ 3.00 (~$ 3.35): Bratwurst or Red Bratwurst on a roll
€ 4.50 (~$ 5.02): Steak on a roll, Hamburger or Vegetarian Burger
And a selection of beverages, including beer!
● Gymnastics ● The USA Gymnastics bankruptcy process continues in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana. At a hearing on Wednesday (15th), it was confirmed that Gregg Zive, a Federal Bankruptcy Court judge in Nevada, but currently assisting with cases in Los Angeles, will act as mediator in the sexual-abuse cases in which USA Gymnastics is being sued.
USA Gymnastics also filed a statement of its operations with the Bankruptcy Court for the month of April, 2019. USAG took in $4.99 million in April, thanks to a $2.75 million grant from the National Gymnastics Foundation, and spent $2.19 million. The biggest single cost item? Legal fees, which totaled $704,191 for the month.
The USAG Balance Sheet shows about $7.4 million in assets plus $75 million in expected insurance coverage. However, the federation and its insurers are at odds over the coverage and it is not clear what the outcome will be, and therefore how much will be available to pay to survivors.
● Skateboarding ● The Pan American Games in Lima (PER) this summer will be without the skateboarding competition.
It was canceled on Thursday by the Executive Committee of PanAm Sports, the governing body of the Pan American Games. It announced that:
“Although we had the commitment of World Skate that the Pan American Games would be a qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, this was never concrete and we finally received confirmation that it would not be one of the events that offered points towards qualification to the Olympic Games. …
“The recent scheduling of a qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for the discipline of Street Skateboarding in the city of Los Angeles, on exactly the same dates as the Skateboarding events at the Pan American Games of Lima 2019, is something we understand as a lack of respect to the Pan American Games, to the athletes that were going to participate in these Games and fundamentally, to the Organizing Committee of Lima 2019.”
The qualifying event mentioned is the World Skate SLS Tour 2019 Los Angeles, scheduled for 23-28 July; the Pan Am Games dates were 27-28 July. With the deletion of skateboarding, the PAG will now have 39 sports, of which 22 will have Olympic qualifying included.
World Skate replied, noting “it was not possible to include the Pan-American Games in the Olympic qualification process and guarantee the presence of top athletes due to a basic incompatibility between the qualification system established by World Skate America for Lima 2019 and the qualification criteria as defined by the International Federation in view of Tokyo2020.”
● Doping ● The World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed at its Foundation Board meeting in Montreal (CAN) on Thursday that:
“[A] very high percentage of the data collected in the Moscow Laboratory is authentic and matching with the copy of the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) that WADA’s Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) had acquired through a whistleblower in November 2017.
“Armed with this material, as well as other evidence, WADA’s Intelligence & Investigations (I&I) has started providing International Federations (IFs) with evidentiary packages, which IFs will assess with the view to taking the cases forward as Anti-Doping Rule Violations. WADA will work in close collaboration with IFs and, in cases where IFs choose not to take action, the Agency will review the facts, discuss with the relevant IF and reserves the right to bring them forward to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
This is the beginning of what could be the final stage in the Russian doping scandal; estimates have been as high as 300-500 new doping cases could be brought. If the Russians do not hinder the investigations and prosecutions, the reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency will be considered successfully completed.
There was also an important amendment to the World Anti-Doping Code that allows laboratories to essentially allow – without penalties – a finding of clenbuterol “when established that it is as the result of ingesting contaminated meat products.
“It has been scientifically established that an athlete can test positive for clenbuterol at low levels following ingestion of contaminated meat in a small number of countries where this is an issue.”
● At the BuZZer ● The International Olympic Committee has a licensing agreement with the famed Lacoste brand to create new apparel items based on the marks of prior Games, such as the 1968 Games in Mexico City (MEX) and Winter Games in Grenoble (FRA).
The newest edition revives the famed Star-in-Motion logo of the Games of the XXIIIrd Olympiad in Los Angeles on 15 items. There are $70 T-shirts, $135 sweatshirts, $125 polo shirts and a $60 cap, plus a special $165 zip sweatshirt.
≡ REAX ≡ As an LAOOC staff member and remembering the enormous success of the Festive Federalism design scheme in 1984, the collection is a dud. Beyond the simple use of the basic red, white and blue Star-in-Motion logo, the other items are completely inauthentic.
Several feature the Star-in-Motion logo without the Olympic rings, which was never allowed on licensed items for the 1984 Games, and the color choices ignore the pastel color scheme for which the Games was so famous, especially the use of magenta and aqua as primary colors. Some use of secondary colors such as yellow and orange are included, but it’s a mis-managed attempt to share the design statement made by the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee in 1984. Sad, disrespectful and unnecessary.