Welcome to The Sports Examiner SPEED READ, a 100 mph (44.7 m/s) review of what happened this week in Olympic sport:
Wednesday: The United States Olympic Committee is making some strategic moved to shore up support among NCAA-member schools for Olympic-sport programs outside of basketball. The USOC ha a new program to allow the use of some Olympic symbols in combination with school logos to increase the profile of Olympic success on the campuses. It’s a good and well-timed move.
Friday: Never think one person can’t make a difference. This week saw the retirement – sort of – of the man who had an idea for economic development through sports in Los Angeles in the aftermath of the 1984 Olympic Games. He became the head of the Los Angeles Sports Council and his concept turned into more than $1 billion in economic impact for the area. We profile David Simon; be sure to read his comments on what sports can do for a community.
THE BIG PICTURE
Tuesday: USA Gymnastics isn’t acting like an organization on its death bed. It’s making new hires and creating a new way of supporting its members. It could even help it survive a USOC vote to de-certify it as the National Governing for its sport!
Friday: Major decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, confirming 12 doping positives for Russian athletes competing between 2012-14. On the list were London 2012 high jump champ Ivan Ukhov and 2013 World Champions Svetlana Shkolina (high jump) and Tatyana Lysenko (hammer). Five of the dopers were second-time losers. There are far-reaching implications for this finding, all of which place more pressure on Russia for contrition.
Tuesday: A huge crowd of more than 45,000 came out to see Austrian skiing star Marcel Hirscher in the Slalom at Schladming … and he delivered, for his 10th World Cup win of the season.
Friday: American skiing superstars in opposite directions in Europe. Mikaela Shiffrin tied for the Giant Slalom title with Petra Vlhova (SVK) for her 13th win of the World Cup season, one short of the record. Also on Friday, Lindsey Vonn – the all-time women’s victory leader in World Cup history – announced that injuries have taken their toll and the Downhill and Super-G at next week’s World Championships will be her last races. At 34, she will retire while she is still upright.
Tuesday: Remembering two men who made track & field better: Fred Thompson and Steve Prefontaine, and the amazing Franklin Jacobs, who set a record by jumping more than a foot-and-a-half … over his head!
Friday: The second leg of the IAAF World Indoor Tour is in Karlsruhe (GER), with the meet already sold out. Lots of eyes will be on Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria, who looked like he could threaten Mike Powell’s world record in the long jump, before injuries ended his 2018 season. Another comeback is underway, by Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi in the high jump, after injuries ended his bid for a medal in Rio in 2016.
Friday: The U.S. Cross Country Championships are Saturday over 10 km in Tallahassee, Florida, with Leonard Korir looking for his third straight title. He will face some stiff challengers, especially 2017 runner-up Stanley Kebenei and 2017 bronze medalist Shadrack Kipchirchir. The women’s race could come down to a fight between American Record holders: Shelby Houlihan (5.000 m), Molly Huddle (10,000 m) and Courtney Frerichs (Steeplechase). The top six in each race will qualify for the U.S. team to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March.
Thursday: Third leg of the World Curling World Cup ha started in Jonkoping (SWE). Lots of new faces in this round, but they include and U.S. brother-and-sister combo of Matt and Becca Hamilton in the Mixed Doubles.
Thursday: A light schedule this week for the FIE World Cup, with only a men’s Sabre event in Warsaw (POL). That will be a test for the no. 1-ranked men’s Sabre fencer, American Eli Dershwitz!
Friday: The young U.S. men’s National Team, fresh off a 3-0 win over Panama in Gregg Berhalter’s first game as coach, travels to San Jose, California for a match against a young Costa Rican team that also has a new coach. This is a step up in class for the Americans, but also against a team rebuilding towards 2022.
Thursday: Both the men and women’s World Rugby Sevens Series is in Sydney (AUS), with the American men in a tie with Fiji for the lead in the men’s standings, and the women sitting in third place. The men have been 2-2-2 in the three legs so far; can they win this one?
Monday: A preview of the Miami World Cup regatta, going on now, with six Olympic and six World Championships medalists among the sailors and excellent fields in every class.
Friday: Youth marches on, as Slovenia’s Timi Zajc, just 18, takes the first of three events off the mammoth ski-flying hill – 235 m! – in Obertsdorf (GER). Two more competitions coming this weekend.
Tuesday: New accusations of doping problems from a London newspaper about China’s Yang Sun, which his representatives hotly deny and threaten a suit for libel. Better news about a cancer scare dealt with in surgery for American sprint star Nathan Adrian.
Highlights of the coming week, with plenty of coverage at TheSportsExaminer.com:
● Alpine Skiing: Start of the FIS World Championships in Are, Sweden;
● Athletics: Strong fields for the annual Millrose Games in New York;
● Freestyle Skiing & Snowboard: The FIS World Championships, all next week in Utah!
And a heavy schedule of nearly 30 events, for which we’ll have full coverage!