Welcome to The Sports Examiner SPEED READ, a 100 mph (44.7 m/s) review of what happened over the last 72 hours in Olympic sport (this time, with links!):
The news that the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, is under serious investigation by a French judge concerning potential bribes paid to influence IOC votes for the selection of the 2020 Games host, is a blow to the International Olympic Committee. It also explains why the trial of former IAAF President Lamine Diack (SEN) – accused of extortion and bribery – was not held in 2018. The French are still at work investigating the matter, which appears to revolve very much around Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, who continues to stay in Senegal and away from France. Now the IOC may have to face the dual issues of cost concerns and corruption at the same time.
The International Olympic Committee issued a little-noted statement in late December about the future of the Olympic, featuring new , “more urban” sports and events. Does that mean the IOC is really ready to reform the sports program and eliminate sports which are out of touch with the interests of today’s youth and Olympic spectators … like Canoeing, Equestrian, Handball, Hockey, Sailing, Taekwondo, Triathlon and Modern Pentathlon? We explore the idea.
After five potential bidders left the contest, two bids for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games were actually submitted to the IOC last Friday, from Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy and Stockholm and Are in Sweden. Both have problems, but at least they met (most of) the deadline.
The World Anti-Doping Agency data extraction team was working in Moscow over the weekend to retrieve the elusive Moscow Lab data from 2011-15. That’s just in time – maybe – for the WADA Compliance Review Committee, which meets on Monday and Tuesday and is expected to recommend whether Russia will continue to be provisionally reinstated, or suspended once again because the 31 December deadline was not respected.
Much attention has been paid to the meteoric rise of American skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who could possibly challenge the all-time record of 86 World Cup wins by Swede Ingemar Stenmark, or a new mark set by American Lindsey Vonn. But it’s Austria’s Marcel Hirscher, who won two more times this weekend in Adelboden (SUI) who might be the record-breaker and could set the all-time victories record past 100! We have the numbers.
Shocking win by unheralded Kean Yew Loh of Singapore over Olympic champ Dan Lin of China in the men’s Singles final of the Thailand Masters in Bangkok!
Up until last weekend, Italy’s former World Junior Champion Liza Vittozzi had never won a World Cup race. Now she’s won two, sweeping the weekend races in Oberhof (GER). The men’s races saw someone other than Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) or Martin Fourcade (FRA) win a World Cup race: Alexander Loginov of Russia.
More German domination in Konigssee, as Francesco Friedrich won the men’s 2, Johannes Lochner won the men’s 4 and Mariama Jamanka took the women’s 2, just ahead of Americans Elana Meyers Taylor and Lake Kwaza. For Friedrich, he’s now won all four two-man races this season and has medals in all eight men’s held so far.
Sweden’s 2018 Olympic gold medalist Stina Nilsson led a 1-2-3 sweep of the women’s Sprint at Dresden (GER) and a 1-2 finish in the Team Sprint.
Canada’s Rachel Homan won her record 10th Grand Slam of Curling title with a 4-3 win over Swiss Silvana Tirinzoni in the final of the Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford, Canada. Canadian Brendan Bottcher’s rink won their first title in the series, skipping past John Epping (CAN), 6-3.
The FIE World Cup resumed with four tournaments. No. 1-ranked Foil stars Alessio Foconi (ITA) and Inna Deriglazova (RUS) won their tournaments in Paris (FRA) and Katowice (POL), respectively, but the U.S. also won five medals. Gerek Meinhart won silver and Race Imboden took a bronze in Paris, and Lee Kiefer won a bronze in Poland, and both U.S. teams won medals.
Canada’s Moguls star, Mikael Kingsbury, continued his 2018-19 seasonal winning streak with his fourth victory in four tries this season in Calgary. He also extended his record for the most World Cup Moguls wins, now with 53.
Americans Alex Hall and Eileen Gu were impressive in the Slopestyle event on Font Romeu (FRA). Hall won the men’s competition for his second-ever World Cup win and Gu, just 15, earned her first World Cup medal with a silver behind Swiss Sarah Hoefflin.
Russians were the stars of the races in Sigulda (LAT), as former World Champion Semen Pavlichenko won there for the third year in a row, and Tatyana Ivanova won the sixth individual race of her career on that track. American Summer Britcher won a medal in her third straight World Cup race, a bronze.
Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi tied a World Cup record with his sixth straight victory in World Cup competitions with another victory in the first competition at Val di Fiemme. But he couldn’t get a record seventh and Poland’s Dawid Kubacki won his first career World Cup gold in the second competition, held on Sunday.
Final-round heroics were the theme at the Slopestyle events in Kreischberg (AUT). Japan’s Miyabi Onitsuka edged Austria’s Olympic gold medalist Anna Gasser in the final round of the women’s event and Norwegian Mons Roisland scored just enough to stay ahead of American Chris Corning’s final run in the men’s event.
The first leg in the Tyr Pro Swim Series was held in Knoxville, with Katie Ledecky winning four events, including a win in the 400 m Medley … which she will not be trying for in Tokyo. Denmark’s Anton Ipsen was the only other swimmer to take three wins, all in the distance Freestyle events.
Highlights of the coming week, with coverage in the coming days on TheSportsExaminer.com:
● Handball: The IHF men’s World Championships continues in Germany and Denmark.
● Cycling: The 2019 UCI World Tour begins with the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia.
● Figure Skating: The U.S. National Championships start on the 19th in Detroit, Michigan.
● Football: The no. 1-ranked U.S. women’s National Team opens its 2019 schedule against no. 3 France in one of its Women’s World Cup venues, Le Havre, on the 19th (Saturday).
And don’t forget that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Compliance Review Committee is meeting Monday and Tuesday to figure out what to do – if anything – about the situation with Russia.