≡ TSX DAILY ~ 25 September 2019 ≡
| 1. | LANE ONE: USOPC Hall of Fame committee selections renders USOPC’s protest sanctions toothless
Much was made of the award ceremonies protests by American gold-medal winners Race Imboden and Gwen Berry at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru last month.
Imboden went to one knee during the national anthem after being part of the men’s Team Foil winners in fencing and Berry raised her fist during the anthem after her victory in the women’s hammer throw in track & field.
Both received a letter from U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee chief executive Sarah Hirshland placing them on probation for 12 months and indicating that stronger sanctions would be in place if such behavior was repeated.
On Monday, the USOPC announced its first class of inductees into the organization’s Hall of Fame. Five Olympians, three Paralympians and one team were selected based in part on a public vote. There were also four inductees selected by the Hall of Fame nominating committee in the categories of coach, contributor and “legends.”
The “legends” were 1968 Olympic 200 m gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos, much more famous today for raising their gloved fists in the air during the awards ceremony than for their brilliant running on the track, including a world record for Smith that lasted 11 years.
By selecting Smith and Carlos, the Hall of Fame nominating committee – whose members are not identified anywhere on the USOPC’s vast Web site – have effectively torpedoed any concept of sanctions for U.S. athletes who are involved in political demonstrations in Tokyo in 2020.
Never mind that all athletes will be required – as Imboden and Berry were – to sign an agreement that they will not participate in any such demonstrations. No matter what anyone does, as long as it is not illegal in Japan, they can simply say, “You put Smith and Carlos into the Hall of Fame for doing the same thing” and they would be right.
There are many more moving parts to this, including the view of the International Olympic Committee, which has its own rules against political protests. The IOC banished Smith and Carlos from the Mexico City Games shortly after they left the victory stand, and did the same for the casual stance of Vince Matthews and Wayne Collett on the awards stand after the 400 m final in 1972.
Did the USOPC management team know about the election of Smith and Carlos? They’ve been selected now and there will be discussions with the IOC and many others about the implications of naming them as individuals who “courageously stood up for racial equality during the civil rights movement” during the Mexico City Games.
Oh yes, and have you noticed that the Tokyo Games fall between the Democratic and Republican conventions next summer? More details here.
| 2. | CYCLING: American Chloe Dygert-Owen runs away with World Champs Time Trial
There’s winning and then there’s what Chloe Dygert-Owen of the U.S. did during the rainy women’s Individual Time Trial at the UCI World Road Championships in Yorkshire (GBR).
Already the winner of the Pan American Games Time Trial in August, Dygert (pictured) started 30th in the field of 53 and despite ridiculously wet conditions, starting passing rider after rider ahead of her.
She whipped past eight in all and stopped the clock at 42:11.57 and then waited for the remaining riders to finish. No one came close.
Dutch star Anna van der Breggen, runner-up the prior three years in this race, moved into second, but was more than 1:32 behind Dygert-Owen. The final rider was two-time champ Annemiek van Vleuten (NED), but she could manage only third.
Coached by two-time Time Trial World Champion Kristin Armstrong, Dygert-Owen now moves to medal-favorite status for Tokyo. But she wasn’t the only American who shined, as Amber Neben – now 44, but also a two-time World Champion in this event – finished fourth and Leah Thomas was seventh.
The U.S. won two medals in the men’s U-23 Time Trial, with Ian Garrison and Brandon McNulty taking the silver and bronze medals behind three-time winner Mikkel Bjerg of Denmark.
The Road Worlds continue through Sunday; the men’s Time Trial is scheduled for Wednesday. More here.
| 3. | ATHLETICS Preview: Can the U.S.’s Coleman, Lyles and Norman sweep the Doha sprints?
In the first of a four-part preview of the IAAF World Championships starting Friday in Doha (QAT), the men’s running and walking events are reviewed with at least one world record in danger and good prospects for the U.S. in the sprints:
● The U.S. has the favorites in the men’s 100-200-400 with Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles and the duo of Michael Norman and Fred Kerley in the 400 m. Coleman (pictured), however, hasn’t run since the USATF Nationals while Lyles is the biggest favorite in the whole meet.
● The middle distances have a strong 1,500 m favorite in Kenya’s Tim Cheruiyot, but the 800 m should be a duel between Nijel Amos (BOT) and American Donavan Brazier, who showed great tactical sense in his recent, come-from-behind Diamond League win.
● The long distances appear ripe for Ethiopian wins in the 5,000 m, 10,000 m and marathon, but who knows if the races turn into slow, tactical affairs? The 3,000 m Steeple favorite is Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali, but he will be challenged by Kenyans Benjamin Kigen and defending champ Conseslus Kipruto.
● The 110 m hurdles looked for a long time like a 1-2 for the U.S. with Grant Holloway and Daniel Roberts. But only Roberts has looked strong in Europe and Orlando Ortega (ESP) and defending champ Omar McLeod (JAM) are coming on.
The world record is at stake in the 400 m hurdles, with the no. 2 and no. 3 performers of all time in the race: Norway’s defending champ Karsten Warholm and American Rai Benjamin. And if Qatari star Abderrahmane Samba is back in form, it could be a three-way race for gold.
● The U.S. is a huge favorite in the 4×400 m relay, but the 4×100 m is always a question about the U.S. passing. Good passes could mean the first world title for the U.S. in the event since 2007; otherwise, look for Britain, Germany or Japan.
Much more detail on each event is here; look for more previews daily this week.
| 4. | CANOE-KAYAK Preview: More medals for Martikan and Fox at Slalom Worlds?
The all-time leading medal winners in the ICF Slalom World Championships are Slovakia’s Michal Martikan (now 40) and Australia’s Jessica Fox. Both will be looking to extend their records at the 2019 Worlds in La Seu d’Urgell, Spain.
While Martikan is not among the favorites this time, he has won 22 Worlds medals in the C-1, including 14 golds, with his last podium appearance in 2017. Fox, 25, has rocketed to fame in both the C-1 and K-1, and has nine golds – the most ever – and 12 total medals. She could reach the record of 14 currently held by Czech Stepanka Hilgertova (1989-2015).
The top 18 countries in men’s and women’s K-1, and the top 11 countries in men’s and women’s C-1 will qualify one quota place for the 2020 Games. More here.
| 5. | DOPING: Latest call to throw out the WADA Board from Global Athlete group
In the aftermath of the announcement that the World Anti-Doping Agency has commenced a sanctions review over “discrepancies” in the Moscow Laboratory data retrieved in January, the Global Athlete Start-Up Group posted an open letter on Tuesday calling on the Chair, Director General and head of the Compliance Review Committee to resign.
At issue, of course, is WADA’s decision to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in September 2018, with its agreement to provide the Moscow Lab data and the stored samples according to a specified timetable. Global Athlete says the WADA has “failed to protect clean athletes” and “not fit for purpose.”
| 6. | THE LAST WORD: How much are medals worth … in Zambia?
Reader Dan Bell has studied the awards given to medal winners by various governments over the years and found a remarkable recent controversy from the All-African Games held in Morocco last month.
Zambian swimmer Tilka Paljk won a bronze medal in the women’s 50 m Breaststroke and was rewarded with 3,000 Kwacha, worth about $230.85 U.S. at current exchange rates. Wrote Paljk in a Facebook post:
“When I first heard that I got K3,000 from the government for winning a bronze at the all African games, I thought ‘wow, are these guys serious? Is this it?’ But I didn’t want to come [out] ungrateful so I just kept quiet and said ‘thank you’. After seeing this in the paper today, I am glad that this is out there and that people can see how ridiculous it is. We are the BEST athletes on the continent and to be given a K5,000 for being the African champion is honestly embarrassing and insulting. I can’t even pay my rent with that money, let alone my coach. I want to ask the government if they feel content or proud for giving us a K5,000 for being the best in Africa. It’s honestly a joke. But thanks anyway.”