Key status updates on the urgent stories in Olympic sport:
≡ SPOTLIGHT ≡
The Los Angeles City Council approved the “Games Agreement” with the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games organizing committee by an 11-2 vote after a discussion of almost 90 minutes on Friday.
Eight of the 13 Council members spoke and asked questions of City Legislative Analyst Sharon Tso and City Administrative Officer Matt Szabo and LA28 Chair Casey Wasserman, who appeared by video.
The most dogged questioner was 11th District Council member Mike Bonin, who continually asked about the financial guarantees of the City, and then why the Games Agreement did not give the City “the power to dictate [to LA28] on some of these value-driven issues that are ancillary perhaps to the functioning of the Olympics, but vital to our neighborhoods and the people in them” such as homelessness, hiring and labor.
Fourth District Council member Nithya Raman asked why the City had given any financial backing to the organization of the Games and why the situation was not the same as for the 1984 Games, when the City had no financial responsibility. She was informed that those decisions were made prior to the signing of the Host City Contract by Mayor Eric Garcetti back in 2017. She and Bonin voted against the Games Agreement; the 11 others voted in approval.
Wasserman explained how a tight budget in 2028 would be handled the protect the City:
“We have a $615 million contingency built into that $6.8 billion [budget] number, but before we would get to a loss, the last $270 million – if you think about like a … bucket of money being used – the City would control every expenditure for that last 270, from essentially 270 to zero, so in other words, LA28 would lose control over its spending before it got into a deficit.”
Asked about future budget revisions, Wasserman noted, “Our plan will only change for two reasons: an increase in revenue or a decrease in expenses … our budget is very controlled and will only get more efficient and more effective …
“Our costs, we understand what they are, and we are continually evaluating how to make that plan better, but we have nothing that we’re building that would force us to drive the costs up.”
Tso added that a $615 million contingency amount is built into LA28’s budget, “So for LA28 to be able to tap in to use it, they would need City approval to do that.” The City would, at the point where LA28 would access that contingency amount, be working with LA28 to reduce the cost of the Games to assure financial performance.
Szabo explained the oversight process: “As we are heading in, we will just have to have active assessment of how they’re doing on their fund-raising. If we see that they’re off-schedule, we will expect and we will demand plans from them to adjust. And if their revenue is coming in as it should, then we would expect they would adjust on the expenditure side.”
Wasserman reiterated his confidence in the LA28 financial situation, adding “over 50% of our expenses are contracted in revenue today, and so we’ll have plenty of financial ability to operate the Games fully without calling on the City to do anything.”
A system of reporting to the City is set up in the Games Agreement for every six months.
The other Council members were generally positive; budget hawk Paul Krekorian (Second District), opined “I can’t see a significant risk here to the City of any exposure at all. If there is any exposure, its going to be limited because of our engagement and even if we fail in all of that engagement, it’s capped. So that gives me a lot of comfort.”
The agreement now goes to Mayor Garcetti for signature.
The USA Gymnastics reorganization plan before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana overwhelmingly passed in the vote circulated to claimants for sexual abuse and other matters.
The vote totals were posted late Thursday (2nd) and in the critical Class 6 – for abuse claims – a total of 505 ballots were received and after eliminating 29 invalid ballots, the proposal was accepted by 476-0.
The balloting for Class 5 – general claims – was also accepted by 61-1 (86 ballots were received; 24 invalid); these were for varying smaller claims from $44.26 up to $83,202.88 for unpaid bills for hotel stays, travel, apparel and so on.
The Class 8 indemnification claims – primarily by Bela and Marta Karolyi and their affiliates – were also accepted by a 6-0 vote; no dollar amounts were posted for these claims. The one Class 9 Future Claimant Representative claim and the seven Class 10 claims for abuse filed after the bar date were also accepted unanimously.
This means that a hearing will be held on 13-14 December to confirm the plan, which will allow the process to commence for payment of most of the claims. According to the Disclosure Statement, a fund of $400,659,129 is provided for the abuse claimants, of which all of the insurers have agreed except TIG Insurance Company, against which there are claims of $106,201,818 (26.5% of the total).
The deadline for TIG to join as a settling insurer is 13 December, the company has indicated it will file objections to the plan today (3rd). If it continues to refuse to settle, the non-TIG claims can be paid through a trust to be set up in early 2022. As a hold-out – and with more than a quarter of the financial burden – TIG can insist on going to trial for all 199 claims against it.
The acceptance of the plan is a major step forward in the process of completing the USA Gymnastics bankruptcy case; however, if TIG decides to go to trial – or to try to settle these cases individually on more favorable terms to it – the Nassar abuse scandal will continue to be in the headlines for months and years to come.
≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
● Athletics ● Former International Olympic Committee member and head of the worldwide track & field federation Lamine Diack of Senegal died at age 88 on Friday in Dakar.
The President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 1999 until his resignation in 2015, Diack was convicted of accepting €3.2 million (~$3.62 million U.S.) in bribes for covering up doping positives from Russian athletes, allowing them to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games and 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
His conviction in France in 2020 drew a sentence of four years in prison for corruption, but given his advanced age and failing health, he was allowed to return home, provided he returned if requested by the French authorities.
A second corruption case, concerning bribes to elect Rio de Janeiro as the site for the 2016 Olympic Games, is still pending in France. Carlos Nuzman, the then-head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and later the head of the Rio 2016 organizing committee, was convicted in the bribery scheme and sentenced to 30 years and 11 months prison time on 25 November.
Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, was also involved in the corruption program and was convicted, with a sentence of five years, in France last year. But he has remained in Senegal, which has not allowed his extradition.
● Bobsled & Skeleton ● Two-time Olympic bobsled champion Kaillie Humphries received her United States citizenship on Thursday, which will allow her to compete for the U.S. at the upcoming Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Humphries, born in Calgary, was the driver on the winning two-woman event at Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014, plus a bronze in PyeongChang in 2018. She transferred allegiance to the U.S. in 2019, but while she was able to compete in the IBSF World Championships for the U.S., she had to get citizenship to compete in the Winter Olympic Games.
The Team USA statement noted that “Humphries was training in Germany for a race this weekend when she suddenly had to fly home to San Diego, where she lives with husband and former U.S. bobsledder Travis Armbruster, to complete an in-person meeting and be sworn in as an official U.S. citizen. She’ll head back to Altenberg to rejoin the competition as she seeks to qualify for the Olympic Games.”
Humphries still needs to be named to the U.S. team for Beijing, but she is expected to be a medal contender in both the two-woman sled and the new Monobob competition.
● Football ● FIFA vice-president Victor Montagliani (CAN), the head of the CONCACAF region, told Reuters that he is in favor of some kind of event in between the current four-year spread between FIFA men’s World Cups:
“We used to have something in between the World Cups, which was the old Confederations Cup. It wasn’t a tournament that everyone was turned on to but for some confederations it was a nice link between your regional competition and an international competition and we lost that.”
He was not specific as to the kind of event to be created, but Montagliani’s view is important, as the UEFA (Europe) and CONMEBOL (South America) confederations have come out as dead-against FIFA’s biennial World Cup plan. Any chance of an every-two-years World Cup will depend on the support of the federations in CONCACAF, Asia and Africa.
FIFA will hold a “global discussion” on the plan on 20 December.
● Swimming ● Swimming World Magazine reported that British breaststroke superstar Adam Peaty did not compete for the London Roar in the ISL Final because he has not been fully paid for last season. He explained:
“I am still not paid for everything. I’ve been part-paid but not for all of it and that is from last year. If I’ve not been paid then who else hasn’t?
“That is the way it is and I don’t want to go on social media and I want the league to grow, I want to give it a chance, but there’s a certain amount of time, isn’t there? 12 months….”
The general manager of the Roar said that Peaty is the last of the team to be paid for last season and that he has assurances from the league that the money is forthcoming.
Peaty added (and there is much more in the story), “I know the league is in its infancy and I did try to say you need to put your foot down here because it’s not acceptable.”
≡ SCOREBOARD ≡
● Swimming ● American Kelsi Dahlia smashed the world record in the short-course women’s 100 m Butterfly winning the International Swimming League Final in 54.89 in Eindhoven (NED). She lowered the 54.61 mark by Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) from 2014. Sjostrom finished fourth to Dahlia on Friday in 56.17.
U.S. star Nic Fink lowered his American Record in the final of the men’s 50 m Breaststroke at 25.72, 0.03 better than his time from the 2020 ISL Final.
The Cali Condors men’s 4×100 m Medley squad of Americans Coleman Stewart, Fink, Caeleb Dressel and Justin Ress set the American Record of 3:19.64, blasting the old U.S. standard of 3:19.98 by the national team at the 2018 FINA World 25 m Championships.
The ISL final continues through tomorrow.
For our 743-event International Sports Calendar for 2021 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!