THE TICKER: Everyone wants in on the Russian appeal of its suspension by WADA

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The latest news, notes and quotes from the worldwide Five-Ring Circus:

Doping ● It seems that everybody is in on the appeal of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s sanctions on Russia. On Friday, the Russian Olympic Committee, the Russian Paralympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee all filed notices as “interested parties” in the appeal of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency against WADA.

The Russian Olympic Committee statement noted “By taking part in the dispute as a third party, the ROC will be defending the rights of Russian athletes and Russian sports federations for the participation under the Russian national flag, equal conditions for the qualification and access of the Russians to the Olympic Games and other international tournaments.”

The IOC statement explained “The only purpose of this intervention is limited to the interest of the IOC and the IPC that the pronounced sanctions are clear, leave no room for any interpretation and can be applied without any further procedures. The purpose of this intervention is not to intervene in the assessment of the consequences or sanctions by [the Court of Arbitration for Sport].”

No timetable has yet been issued by the Court for the proceedings, which the Russians obviously hope to extend long enough to allow their team to participate “normally” in Tokyo this summer.

Vox Populi ● Opinions from our readers (presented unedited):

● Further to our story on the IOC’s new rules concerning athlete protests at the Olympic Games:

“If the IOC wants to pay every athlete that competes in the Games, they can gain the right to control the message. Every athlete should be compensated. Otherwise, banning athletes from using this amateur platform for protest is not fair and makes athlete indentured servitude to the IOC and it’s constituents worse.”
~ Allen James (Los Angeles, California), a 1992-96 U.S. Olympian in the Race Walks

● Further to our note on the new sports being added to the 2022 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar (SEN):

“So excited to hear of the addition of a sport that I didn’t know existed on a formalized level, but one that I played regularly as a kid growing up in a Brooklyn New York City housing project.

“Due to space limitations (there were 2 baskets, 4 handball courts, and a blacktop softball field in the project playground…for about 1000 kids…no exaggeration). We also weren’t permitted to play on the grass areas surrounding the buildings, and would be fined (our parents that is) for infractions of that rule.

“Nevertheless, we played touch/tackle football and other catch games on the grass, always having a designated lookout for the project police, who were often in plain clothes to surprise us lawbreakers. Running from the cops is great practice for sprinting and middle distance running, as we had to sustain our speed until out of site of the ‘law.’

“But we played all kinds of ball games on the blacktop. Stickball, punchball, slap ball, off the wall, stoop ball: all variations of baseball in confined places. A few of us were able to get into formalized baseball, on the grass at Prospect Park, but that was quite a distance from my home in East Flatbush, on the south shore of Brooklyn. Funny, but we were very creative at coming up with games that were inclusive and utilized whatever confined space and material resources available. Great preparation for my eventual profession as an Adapted P.E. specialist in LAUSD…”
~ Ronald Brumel (Los Angeles, California)

Boxing ● The International Boxing Association (AIBA), currently suspended by the IOC, is holding the first of its “Continental Boxing Forums” on Saturday (18th) in Panama City (PAN) to share information on the progress of its reform program.

Such meetings with the national boxing federations in Africa, Asian, Europe and Oceania will take place in February. According to the federation, “The idea of such forums is to unite all the NFs around the world for best future of our sport and an opportunity to show to AIBA members the changes we are implementing in AIBA in term of Statutes, governance, competition format, development programs for coaches, medical and [refereeing and judging], anti-doping seminars, communication with NF’s leaders, marketing programs for continents and federations, [a] big platform to discuss actual issues.”

In the meantime, the head of the IOC’s working group to oversee AIBA’s affairs said last week that he continues to be concerned about how the federation will clear some or all of its debt of at least $16 million.

Nenad Lalovic (SRB), who is the President of United World Wrestling, told Reuters that “We have been informed of AIBA’s willingness to organize new competitions in order to generate revenues. We do not know if there are possibilities for clearing AIBA’s debts and we have no knowledge of any financial plan.”

Without a resolution to its debt issues, it’s hard to see how AIBA can continue as a going concern. The IOC has said it will review AIBA’s status after the 2020 Games in Tokyo are concluded.

Swimming ● One of the emerging stars for the U.S. suffered a setback, as 17-year-old Luca Urlando posted a notice on Instagram of a shoulder injury:

“Not the way I was hoping to start an Olympic year, but I dislocated my left shoulder during a swim workout last Saturday [11th]. Recovery will take a couple of months, but with the resources available to me in Colorado Springs I am optimistic that I will be able to reach my goal of swimming well at Olympic trials. I appreciate all the support as I focus to getting back in the pool competitively.”

Urlando ranked no. 3 in the world in the 200 m Butterfly in 2019 (1:53.84) and won the national title in that event. If healthy, he’s a medal contender for Tokyo.

Triathlon ● Texas Christian University (TCU) added Triathlon as a women’s intercollegiate sport, becoming the seventh NCAA Division I school to do so and the second among Power 5 Conference schools, after Arizona State.

It’s another step forward for triathlon, which could benefit immensely from collegiate competition. The USA Triathlon announcement noted that “The addition of women’s triathlon as TCU’s 22nd varsity sport is made possible through the USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant, distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the varsity level.”

Smart move by the federation.

World Beach Games ● The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) announced that the feedback on the first edition of the World Beach Games in Qatar in 2019 was good enough to continue:

“A total of 68 NOCs provided feedback along with all 13 IFs. The average feedback score for both the NOCs and IFs was above 8.5 out of 10. It was agreed by the Executive Council that the Games should be continued and that a letter will be sent out tomorrow (16 January) to all NOCs inviting them to register their interest in hosting a future edition of the Games.”

Last Word ● More bad news for one of the high-profile venues from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (BRA), as a judge ordered the closure of the Rio Olympic Park due to worries over safety.

The BBC reported that “Judge Eugenio Araujo ruled in favour of a request from the Rio prosecutor’s office asking for a ban on all major events at the facilities until authorities had seen certificates demonstrating their safety. He said the place was ‘progressively battered by the lack of care’ and ‘ready for tragedies’.”

His decision also noted that “This situation, in sites damaged by the lack of surveillance and with thousands of people present, can lead to tragedies.”

The Brazilian federal government and the city of Rio signaled that they would appeal the ruling; the site was host to basketball, swimming and tennis in 2016, but maintenance has been an issue since the end of the Paralympic Games.