News, views and noise from the non-stop, worldwide circus of Olympic sport:
● Games of the XXX Olympiad: London 2012 ● The International Olympic Committee announced yet another doping re-test positive on Wednesday, disqualifying Canoe Sprint C-1 silver medalist Jevgeniy Shuklin of Lithuania.
The re-testing process resulted in “a positive test for the prohibited substances Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (oral turinabol).” The new silver medalist will be Russia’s Ivan Shytl and the new bronze winner will be Spain’s Alfonso Benavides.
The IOC’s tally sheet now shows 67 positives in London – nine during the Games and 58 from the re-testing – second only to the 72 from Beijing 2008 (7+65). And the re-testing goes on.
● Athletics ● Sad news that former Minnesota 1,500 m All-American and 2014 USATF Indoor 3,000 m champion Gabe Grunewald passed away on Tuesday (11th) after a 10-year battle against cancer.
Grunewald was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma in 2009 and had multiple surgeries to try and arrest the disease, but finally succumbed at age 32.
On the track, she was fourth in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials at 1,500 m and 12th in the 2016 Trials final. Off the track, she was an inspiration for everyone fighting a disease and made the #BraveLikeGabe hashtag a universal call for hope. Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden posted a moving story on Grunewald here. She is survived by her husband Justin.
● Athletics ● To the surprise of almost no one, LSU frosh Sha’Carri Richardson – the NCAA 100 m champ in a stunning 10.75 – announced that she was turning professional after one year of collegiate competition. She noted on Twitter that “after talking to family and praying for guidance with this decision, I would like to announce that I have decided to pursue my life long dream and become a professional athlete.”
She’ll be a hot commodity for endorsements, not only because of her speed, but also style. Since her NCAA run to stardom, she has been posting multiple photos of Florence Griffith Joyner, including:
It’s worth remembering that FloJo finished her senior year at UCLA in 1983, then won the Olympic silver medal in the 200 m in 1984 and didn’t break into superstardom until 1988.
For Richardson, who one year ago had just graduated from Dallas Carter High School, the future is now.
● Athletics ● If this seems like a busy time on and off the track, it is. More world-leading marks came in smaller meets in the last few days:
In Rehlingen (GER), home favorite Andreas Hofmann took the javelin lead at 89.65 m (294-1) while Ukraine’s Iryna Herashchenko cleared 1.99 m (6-6 1/4) for the women’s high jump lead.
In a closely-watched 2,000 m race in Montreuil (FRA) on Tuesday, South Africa’s Caster Semenya won the 2,000 m in 5:38.19, best of the year. While not a world leader, Christian Taylor of the U.S. showed he is warming up, winning the triple jump at 17.41 m (57-1 1/2).
On Wednesday, Poland’s Wojciech Nowicki, the 2018 world leader in the hammer, reached 80.26 m (263-4) at the Irena Szewinska Memorial in Bydgoszcz (POL), to take the world lead for 2019.
There was also an excellent IAAF World Challenge meet – the Paavo Nurmi Games – in Turku (FIN) on Tuesday, headlined by Mike Rodgers edging World Champion Justin Gatlin in the 100 m final, 10.00-10.01 (wind: +1/3 m/s). American Christina Clemons jumped to no. 4 on the world list with a 12.58 win in her heat in the 100 m hurdles; she won the final in 12.85. Shot putter Chase Ealey of the U.S. got out to 19.38 m (63-7) to win the shot put.
More coming in Oslo on Thursday, no doubt!
● Football ● Commenting on the U.S. women’s 13-0 rout of Thailand, long-time international sports observer Rene Henry noted:
“All of the critics of the USA team for scoring should put their energy to getting FIFA to have a mercy rule like softball. With a certain lead, let there be as many substitutions as the coach wants. Also remember FIFA counts scoring differential as part of the championship.”
These are actual suggestions to address the continued U.S. scoring, even into stoppage time. The question of celebrations is another matter.
● At the BuZZer ● Some good news for the City of Calgary on the referendum that rejected the city’s idea to bid on the 2026 Olympic Winter Games: the effort came in under budget.
The Calgary Herald reported that “Having budgeted $14.637 million for an Olympic Games bid, the city said it spent a total of $6,994,566.
“The city set aside $9.5 million as a contribution toward bid development costs, with another $3.337 million to fund the work of the city secretariat in 2018 and $1.8 million to fund the work of the secretariat in 2019.”
City Council member Evan Woolley even thought there were some legacy benefits to the project. “[T]he money that we spent, while it might seem frivolous and unnecessary, a lot of that work was detailed engineering reports of our infrastructure, getting a better knowledge and understanding of sport in the city, and a whole bunch of other things. To say that we didn’t get any value of the dollars that we invested is not true.”