● Plus: IOC: Annual report issued, showing revenues of $7.6 billion from 2017-21; study shows 85% of Olympic venues all-time still in use = GAISF: Will vote on dissolution in September = Football: FIFA to announce 2026 venue choices on 16 June = SCOREBOARD => Cycling: Demare wins third Giro stage = Swimming: Titmus swims third-fastest 200 m Free in history ●
What you need to know now, from the worldwide Five-Ring Circus:
≡ SPOTLIGHT ≡
“We condemned the blatant violation of the Olympic Truce on the day of the invasion. We
sanctioned the Russian and Belarusian states and governments that are responsible for this war. We did so by recommending that no international sporting events be held in Russia and Belarus; by not allowing national symbols to be displayed; and even for the first time in our history by withdrawing Olympic Orders that had been awarded to the President and the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.
“At the same time, we also had to take protective measures to ensure the integrity of international competitions. For this we had to recommend not to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials to take part in international competitions, or to at least prohibit any identification of their nationality.
“Let me emphasise again that these are protective measures – not sanctions – measures to protect the integrity of competitions. The safety of the Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials could not be guaranteed because of the deep anti-Russian and anti-Belarusian feelings in so many countries following the invasion.
“We had to move quickly because it was evident that governments wanted to decide who can take part in which international competitions. This is true not only for governments of host countries of such competitions. There are governments who prohibit athletes from their country to take part in any competition with Russian or Belarusian athletes. There are governments who are threatening to withdraw funding from any athlete who would participate in such a competition. There are governments who are putting public and political pressure on National Olympic Committees and national sports federations.
“We had to and continue to have to consider this situation from the end. Today it is Russia and Belarus, but if we do not act, tomorrow it will be the government from country A not wanting athletes from country B to participate. Or government C demanding its athletes not to compete against athletes from country D and so on and so forth.
“This would be a situation that is contrary to all the principles we are based on. If it is in the hands of politicians to decide who can take part in which competition, then the nondiscriminatory foundation of our global sports system is gone. This would be the full politicisation of sport. This would mean that sport and the athletes would become just a tool of the political sanctions system.”
That was International Committee President Thomas Bach (GER) during his address to the 139th IOC Session, held mostly online, explaining the IOC’s stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine, but also not asking for any further actions against Russia or Belarus. He explained further:
“[W]hy are our sanctions limited to the government and national symbols and not extended to all members of the Russian Olympic community?
“The answer is: according to international rule of law, sanctions can and should only be imposed on those who are responsible for something. This war has not been started by the Russian people, the Russian athletes, the Russian Olympic Committee or the IOC Members in Russia.
“Imagine where the precedent of such a breach of the rule of law by us would lead to. Every individual, every athlete, every sports official, every sports organisation would have to be punished for any illegitimate political action of their governments.
“There is no justice if you paint everyone with the same brush. This would even be counterproductive because it would play into the propaganda of those who are claiming that sanctions are just a part of a wider conspiracy directed against their country.
“By the way, our approach is in line with the governments who are also bound by this rule of law when it comes to their sanctioning measures. Also they cannot sanction individuals only because of the passport they hold.
“Therefore, we are monitoring closely who is supporting this war with their statements or actions and have drawn and will draw the necessary consequences.”
That was it on Russia (and Belarus). Asked about Russian participation at Paris 2024 as the qualification events are starting soon, Bach replied, “We have to take this step-by-step” and that the situation will depend on future events; for now, the bans continue.
During the speech, Bach noted that “our relationship with the Russian political leadership has dramatically deteriorated over the past years. It deteriorated following the doping scandal, cyber attacks and even personal threats to individuals from the IOC and Olympic Movement.”
At the post-Session news conference, Bach provided details on the other hot topics:
● With regard to the International Boxing Association situation, including its recent election circus, Bach said:
“We are monitoring this very closely, and – how can I say – I think we are not amused to see the circumstances of such an election, and now the election being challenged in [the Court of Arbitration for Sport]. This is not what we imagine as good governance, but we will now have to wait for the respective CAS decision. We will not make a statement regarding the facts since this is a pending procedure in front of CAS and we hope that this decision will come soon, and then that we will have more clarity.
“Having said this, many of the other concerns are still there. This is the financial dependency on a state-owned company [Gazprom]; these are other concerns. While we have to also acknowledge that during the Women’s World Championships that we did not get any reports about manipulation of the refereeing and judging system.
“So all this, then, at the appropriate moment in time has to be taken into account to make the decision.”
● Bach said there was nothing to report on the situation with the International Weightlifting Federation, as its elections are still forthcoming. As regards the status of Modern Pentathlon for 2028:
“There is contact with the International Federation [UIPM], there is also direct contact between our Sports Department and the Athletes Commission of Modern Pentathlon and, and we are now waiting for their decisions and their plans, and then our Program Commission will look at it and will then come with a recommendation to the IOC Executive Board.”
This comment is bad news for the PentUnited athlete group, not mentioned by Bach, who referred to the UIPM’s Athlete Commission, which has sided with its recommendation to replace riding in a bid to be on the 2028 sports program.
● Bach was also asked about an update on the invitation to Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai to visit Lausanne, from their meeting during the Beijing Winter Games:
“With Peng Shuai, our Athletes’ Commission and in particular, the Chair, Emma Terho [FIN], there also with other members – Astrid Jacobsen [NOR] and others – they are in contact, also after the Winter Games in Beijing. If I am well informed, then the last contact was about two weeks ago. It was the second or third after Beijing, and she is looking forward to be able to come to Europe and to visit Lausanne, apparently in particular, the Olympic Museum. This is what I have been told from the calls, but then also maybe to watch one or the other tennis tournaments.
“But for this moment in time, you know about the very strict anti-Covid measures in China and about also the quarantine requirements, if ever you can leave at all. So we have to see how this develops, but the contact, we always said, is ongoing.”
● On the Russian Kamila Valieva doping case and when the Beijing Figure Skating Team Event medals will be awarded:
“We are in contact with the [World Anti-Doping Agency] and the [International Testing Agency] on this, and WADA and ITA are following up on this. This is in the hands of the anti-doping authorities; this is independent from the IOC, but we have made it over clear to them we are hoping for a fast and quick resolution of the issue and then, once this is resolved, as soon as possible we will have this ceremony.
“And this is not something we should be guessing about, we should all work in a way that it’s happening as soon as possible.
● What about the award of the 2030 Winter Games?
“We are looking to a decision next year. In the best of the worlds, it would happen during the IOC Session in Mumbai in May next year. That would mean … I guess, in order to get there, the Executive Board would have to make the decision about a Targeted Dialogue in December.”
IOC Executive Director for the Olympic Games Christophe Dubi (SUI) confirmed the timeline and said the current effort is “in-depth technical analysis” with the interested bid cities and regions. The idea is that one bidder would be selected for the Targeted Dialogue.
The IOC published its annual report – 230 pages worth – which detailed its efforts in 2021, and the financial report, which showed a sensational $7.6 billion in total revenue from 2017-2021, including the Tokyo Games.
Of this total, the IOC provided over the course of the last five years:
● $1.892 billion to support the Tokyo 2020 organizers
● $887 million to support the PyeongChang 2018 Winter organizers
● $540 million to the National Olympic Committees for Tokyo 2020
● $215 million to the National Olympic Committees for PyeongChang 2018
● $540 million to the International Federations for Tokyo 2020
● $215 million to the International Federations for PyeongChang 2018
● $90 million to the organizers of the 2018 and 2020 Youth Olympic Games
The IOC’s sources of revenue have not changed: 61% from television broadcasting rights and 30% from TOP sponsorships and the rest from merchandising and licensing.
The IOC’s current statements show $5.61 billion in assets and $3.36 billion in reserves, not bad amid the pandemic. There’s a lot more to unpack from this report; that’s coming in future posts.
The IOC unveiled a fascinating study of Olympic venue use from 1896 to today, which specified 817 permanent and 106 temporary venues across 51 editions of the Olympic and Winter Games:
“It shows that, of the 817 permanent venues, some 85 per cent are still in use, a proportion that rises to 92 per cent for the 206 permanent venues used in the 21st century.”
The impact of the Games on existing and new venues was about the same: 83% of existing venues used for the Games are still in use today vs. 87% of new construction. One of the worst grades went to Athens 2004, with only 75% of its permanent sites still in use: “At the Helliniko Olympic Complex five venues remain closed and in a state of disrepair. They have faced political, economic and administrative problems and several changes in ownership.”
The report further noted:
“Of the 15 per cent of permanent venues not in use, the majority were unbuilt or demolished for a variety of reasons: some reached their end of life, some were destroyed during a period of war or in accidents, while others gave way to new urban development projects. Only 35 venues – or 4 per cent of all 817 permanent venues – are closed, inactive or abandoned.”
≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
● GAISF ● The chatter around the Global Assembly of International Sports Federations is whether it will dissolve. On Friday, an online General Assembly of the organization finally brought some clarity.
President Ivo Ferriani (ITA), also the head of the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation told the members:
“GAISF has long served useful functions and purposes. However, it has experienced a significant reduction of the scope of its activities over the past few years. For example, the umbrella organisations, which also represent GAISF Members, cover collective services for their own members and they can do so at a more specific level. ASOIF, AIOWF, ARISF, and AIMS – are doing more for their Members than ever before and this is certainly positive.
“As such, the GAISF Council has come to the conclusion that the logical consequence of these developments has to be explored. This is why we today announce that an Extraordinary General Meeting will be called, in September, to decide on the dissolution of GAISF.”
(ASOIF is the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations; AIOWF is the Association of Olympic Winter Federations; ARISF is the Association of IOC-Recognized International Sports Federations and AIMS is the Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport.)
GAISF has already awarded its 2023 Combat Games to Saudi Arabia; what happens with that event is not clear.
GAISF is not a large organization and had assets of CHF 5.664 million at the end of 2021, so if dissolved, it could be wrapped up pretty quickly.
● Collegiate Sport ● California Senate Bill 1401 failed to move out of the Appropriations Committee and will die for this session, to the relief of every college and university in the state that sponsors intercollegiate athletics.
The National College Players Association, led by former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma, and focused almost entirely on football and men’s basketball players, tweeted:
“Unfortunately CA SB 1401, which would pay college athletes w degree completion funds, was held in committee & won’t go forward. The legislative session isn’t over however, we’ll keep you updated. Thanks to @SteveBradford for authoring this bill and fighting for our rights!”
Thursday’s Senate Appropriations “Suspense file” hearing went through hundreds of bills and determined whether they would got forward to the Senate floor, based on the financial impact of each proposal and the State’s ability to handle the costs. SB 1401 was determined to be “Held in Committee and under submission,” meaning it will not move forward.
The bill, which was approved by the State Senate Education Committee and the State Senate Judiciary Committee, would have taken 50% of each school’s income for each sport and given it to the athletes, allowing withdrawals of $25,000 per year. The first of many problems with this bill is that only football and, at some schools, men’s basketball, have any significant revenues at all. By siphoning off much of the money generated by football and basketball, the bill would have imploded all of the other sports at each school and up to 90% of the total number of student-athletes at each campus.
No doubt Huma will keep trying, but this threat to collegiate sport is off the table for now.
● Football ● FIFA announced that it will announce the host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup on 16 June.
There are 22 cities in the mix:
● Canada (3): Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver
● Mexico (3): Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey
● United States (16): Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C./Baltimore.
The expectations are that the three Canadian and Mexican facilities are set and that 11 sites in the U.S. will be chosen for the new format of 48 teams.
● Tennis ● So now the world of tennis is in chaos. Steve Simon (USA), the chief executive of the Women’s Tennis Association, issued a statement today:
“The WTA believes that individual athletes participating in an individual sport should not be penalized or prevented from competing solely because of their nationalities or the decisions made by the governments of their countries.
“The recent decisions made by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to ban athletes from competing in the upcoming UK grass-court events violate that fundamental principle, which is clearly embodied in the WTA rules, the Grand Slam rules and the agreement the WTA has with the Grand Slams.
“As a result of the AELTC’s position that it will not honor its obligation to use the WTA Rankings for entry into Wimbledon and proceed with a partial field not based on merit, the WTA has made the difficult decision to not award WTA ranking points for this year’s Wimbledon Championships.
“In addition, each of the WTA-sanctioned events (Nottingham, Birmingham, and Eastbourne) will be penalized and their WTA tournament sanctions will be placed on probation. Since alternative and comparable playing and ranking point opportunities exist in the same weeks as those events for the affected players, WTA ranking points will remain in place for those events.”
No word yet from the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals. The All-England Club replied on its Web site, including:
“[G]iven the position taken by the UK Government to limit Russia’s global influence, which removed automatic entry by ranking, and the widespread response of Government, industry, sport and creative institutions, we remain of the view that we have made the only viable decision for Wimbledon as a globally renowned sporting event and British institution, and we stand by the decision we have made. …
“We were not prepared to take any actions which could risk the personal safety of players, or their families. We believe that requiring written declarations from individual players – and that would apply to all relevant players – as a condition of entry in the high-profile circumstances of Wimbledon would carry significant scrutiny and risk.
“In addition, we remain unwilling to accept success or participation at Wimbledon being used to benefit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime, which, through its closely controlled State media, has an acknowledged history of using sporting success to support a triumphant narrative to the Russian people.”
This story is only beginning; the 2022 Wimbledon tournament starts 27 June.
≡ SCOREBOARD ≡
● Cycling ● France’s Arnaud Demare won his third stage at the 105th Giro d’Italia, winning the final sprint on 151 km ride with a massive, 34 km climb from 8 m altitude to 938 m at the summit of the Colle di Nava and then a downhill and slightly hilly 97 km to the finish.
Dozens of riders were in contention with just 650 m to go, but Demare got to the line first ahead of Phil Bauhaus (GER), Mark Cavendish (GBR) and 49 others timed in 3:18:16.
Spain’s Juan Pedro Lopez maintained the lead, at 12 seconds over Richard Carapaz (ECU) and Joao Almeida (POR). The racing gets harder with a hilly stage on Saturday and a brutal, triple-climb stage with an uphill finish in Cogne on Sunday.
● Swimming ● Australia’s Olympic champ Ariarne Titmus took the world lead in the women’s 200 m Free and swam the no. 3 performance in history in 1:53.31 at the Australian Nationals in Adelaide on Friday. Only Italian Federica Pellegrini’s 1:52.98 world record from 2009 and Titmus’ lifetime best of 1:53.09 are faster.
Titmus was trailed by Mollie O’Callaghan (1:54.94: no. 3 for 2022), Madison Wilson (1:55.86: no. 5) and five more under 1:57; Australians now rank 1-3-5-6-7-8-9-11 for the year in the event.
Elijah Winnington won his second event of the meet in the men’s 800 m Free in 7:45.30 to rank no. 4 on the 2022 world list. Zac Stubblety-Cook doubled back from his 200 m Breaststroke world record for a 59.60 win in the 100 m Breast, to move to no. 10 on the year list.
The meet continues through Sunday.
For our updated, 620-event International Sports Calendar for 2022 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!