News, views and noise from the non-stop, worldwide circus of Olympic sport:
● Athletics ● Uneasy signs for the sport in Jamaica, where this weekend’s Jamaica International Invitational – an IAAF World Challenge meet – was canceled for lack of funding. Jamaica Athletics president Dr. Warren Blake said in a statement, “We have managed to run the meet on a tight budget over the past 15 years. The current reality is that the level of sponsorship received is insufficient to allow us to stage anything but a watered down version of what is expected of the Jamaica International Invitational Meet.”
This comes after February’s Gibson McCook Relays, a long-time island showcase, had “a paucity in attendance” per columnist Laurie Foster of The Gleaner. She suggested better promotion, bur also – sadly – “a greater menu of sponsor giveaways at the event, again a way of involving the persons who come out to support. Traditionally, there is prepaid cell phone credit, but that is added to their phones. Something tangible which can be taken away from the venue could be an added incentive. As exciting as it may be, patrons tend to want a little more than the competition, if only to say, ‘This is what I won at the Gibson McCook Relays.’”
All this just two years post-Usain Bolt. Not a good sign for Jamaica and bad for worldwide track & field.
● Athletics ● A great London Marathon ended with a record number of finishers: 42,549, or 99.2% of the record 42,906 starters. Including the fund-raising expected to be tallied for this year’s race, more than £1,000,000,000 will have been raised for charities since the event began in 1981.
Said superstar men’s winner Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) after running the second-fastest time in history (2:02:37), “I think celebrations ended yesterday at the Finish Line. It’s good to go home and spend time with the family. Now it’s massage and ice bath for two or three weeks and total rest.”
● Athletics ● Bad news for fans of summer camp obstacle-course races, but good news for track & field fans: the “Track’athlon” scheduled for the 2019 European Games in Minsk (BLR) has been canceled from the program.
The event was a “new form” of athletics which was an “athletics assault course featuring a sled run, shot put toss, standing long jump, water jump and a medicine ball run.” REAX: It was a bad idea to begin with and a great idea to cancel it. No doubt a new international federation will be formed to try and get this event into the Games on its own, perhaps with a BreakDance component included between the sled run and shot put.
● Cycling & Triathlon ● USA Cycling and USA Triathlon announced a partnership program that will offer a joint membership option for those who want to belong to both National Governing Bodies for a discounted rate: $99 combined instead of $130 for both separately.
REAX: This is a really good and forward-looking idea as the cross-training craze continues unabated. For USA Triathlon especially, it a great way to expose sub-elite cyclists to the sport, who might find a better competitive fit in three disciplines instead of one.
● Gymnastics ● USA Gymnastics fired the latest shot into its own foot on Tuesday, when it posted a statement that “Dr. Nyman’s employment will not continue due to a conflict of interest, and we will immediately renew our search to identify a qualified individual to lead our sports medicine and research efforts.”
This came one day after Dr. Ed Nyman had been announced as the first full-time director for sports medicine and science for USAG. His job was supposed to be to manage “the team of medical professionals, ensuring medical training personnel comply with athlete safety policies, monitor and advice USA Gymnastics staff on developments in sports medicine protocols, communicate with the membership about sports-medicine-related issues, serve as liaison with the U.S. Olympic Committee on sports medicine matters, the U.S. Anti-doping Agency and other organizations related to health and wellness of athletes.”
REAX: And now he’s gone. In a day. This is a bad look for USAG at a time when it needs to look good.
● Gymnastics ● The U.S. women’s national team is meeting en masse for a training camp from Friday through Sunday to continue preparations for the summer competitions ahead, including the Pan American Games and World Championships.
Remember that such camps used to be held at the Karolyi Ranch outside of Houston, Texas, but no more. This camp will be held at EVO Athletics in Sarasota, Florida, a recreational and elite-athlete training gymnasium opened in 2016, hardly the remote location favored by the Karolyis.
● Gymnastics ● The Denver Post reported Monday that Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co. filed suit against the United States Olympic Committee, seeking to remove the company from any liability in the sexual-assault cases against the USOC. The insurer is claiming that because the USOC stated in its 2015 application for insurance that it denied ever having an allegation or claim of sexual abuse against it, when evidence shows that the USOC knew about such incidents from at least 2010.
The story said the insurer wanted to rescind the policies and return the premiums to the USOC, while asking for $75,000 or more in damages. This follows a filing in February by another USOC insurer, Arch Specialty Insurance, asking to relieve it from any requirement to defend the USOC on the same grounds.
● Gymnastics ● The filing deadline for survivors of sexual abuse closed last Monday (29 April), but no details of the number of claims was announced. The next hearing date before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana is scheduled from 15 May.
● At the Buzzer ● The folks at World Archery are determined not to leave the field littered with empty water bottles.
So for the opening World Cup of the 2019 season in Medellin (COL), the tournament regulations included a reminder that “In an effort to aid the environment, water will be distributed using the familiar World Archery bottle deposit system. 2 tokens will be given to all accredited persons at registration. Two bottles of water will be given in exchange for 2 tokens. A new bottle of water will only be issued by the return of the empty bottle or with a token. If the empty bottle has been lost, please contact the Organising Committee in the LOC Office. Please make sure to give empty bottles back to the water station. Do not throw them in the trash bin. There is a refund and recycling system for all bottles and bins.”
Every little bit counts.