The Sports Examiner

THE TICKER: Over 100 candidates in crucial weightlifting elections; Hershey sweetens USOPC, LA28 and NBC as sponsor; 5 billion to watch Qatar ‘22?

A ball with a message for the UEFA Champions League final in Paris (Photo: adidas)

Plus: Paris 2024: Worries over inflation and the budgets = Winter Games 2030: Spain’s bid continues in chaos = IOC: Promising new Olympic values school program in India = Football: UEFA Champions League final ball says “Peace” = Modern Pentathlon: Obstacle discipline to be tested in late June = SCOREBOARD => Cycling: Hirt wins rough Giro stage, with Carapaz’s lead down to 0:03 = Ice Hockey: Switzerland and Finland are group winners in IIHF men’s Worlds ●

The latest news, notes and quotes from the worldwide Five-Ring Circus:


The International Weightlifting Federation finally announced the candidate list for June’s Electoral Congress, with a legion of options for all of the federation’s top positions.

The 15-page report of the Eligibility Determination Panel detailed the process of reviewing the 139 candidate applications and published the final list just more than a month in advance of the 25-26 meeting in Tirana, Albania. The elections include:

● President
● General Secretary-Treasurer
● Vice Presidents (5)
● Executive Board (10)

In addition, elections will be held for four Commissions and three Committees.

There are 11 candidates for President, including five existing Executive Board members:

● Mohammed Jalood (IRQ: the current Secretary General)
● Mohamed Yousef Al-Mana (QAT: Asian Confederation President)
● Karolina Lundahl (FIN)
● Pyrros Dimos (GRE)
● Zhanat Tussupbekov (KAZ)

It will be interesting to see how the International Olympic Committee would receive any of these candidates warmly since they have been at the heart of one of the worst-governed federations in the Olympic Movement.

The other candidates include two Americans: former interim IWF President Ursula Papandrea, who was highly regarded by the IOC before she was removed by the IWF Board, and current USA Weightlifting Chair Paula Aranda.

There are also candidates from China (Jinqiang Zhou), Italy (Antonio Urso), Singapore (Tom Yong Joo Liaw) and Iran (Ali Moradi).

The slate for Secretary General-Treasurer is also long – 16 – with nine of the Presidential candidates list, including Papandrea and Aranda, plus one existing Executive Board member in Jose Carlos Quinones (PER: Pan American Confederation President).

There are 33 candidates for the five Vice President slots, including almost all of the Presidential and Secretary General-Treasurer candidates, and both Americans.

The 10 Executive Board slots are being sought by 46 candidates, again including Papandrea and Aranda and also everyone else already running.

There were some candidates excluded, notably including Russian Maxim Agapitov for President, Secretary General-Treasurer, Vice President and Executive Board members. No Russians or Belarusians were allowed on the ballot; neither were any Thais, as that federation is also on suspension for doping offenses. Yes, they can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Former USA Weightlifting chief executive Phil Andrews is a nominee for the IWF Governance Commission.

Observed: It’s an enormous ballot and the delegates are going to have a challenge to figure out the right way to go. It’s hard to imagine that any of the candidates who have been IWF Board members as the federation sank into chaos would make the IOC happy.

Papandrea is a possibility, but her candidature is not helped by having another American on the ballot in Aranda, the current USAW Chair.

Do not be surprised if China’s Zhou receives a considerable amount of attention, even with the building tensions between his country and the West.


● Games of the XXXIII Olympiad: Paris 2024 ● Inflation, new anxiety of Paris 2024” read the headline – in translation – of the site, about the impact of worldwide inflation and supply-chain issues affecting the construction and organizing efforts for 2024.

The story quoted Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet (FRA), speaking to the IOC Session by video last week:

“I would like to share with you an important challenge which will bring us to the second half of 2022: that of the budget. The succession of health, economic and geopolitical crises that have been linked for more than two years now pose new risks to Paris 2024 . The COVID crisis and the conflict in Ukraine have created breaks in production and supply chains. They also generated an inflationary context that was still impossible to anticipate a few months ago.”

The solution is an echo from Tokyo 2020: look for savings, eliminate the unnecessary, especially behind the scenes. Estanguet foresees a 5-8% rise in prices that will have to be handled within the already-approved €3.9 billion budget (~$4.19 billion U.S.).

On Monday, the head of the government’s Olympic construction firm, SOLIDEO, Nicolas Ferrand, noted that construction materials were becoming harder to source and the costs were rising. At present:

“SOLIDEO had inherited an initial budget of 3.2 billion euros [~$3.43 billion]. It was revised last year to be increased to 4 billion [~$4.28 billion]. The contribution of the public authorities was extended by 175 million euros, from 1.38 billion to 1.55 billion euros [~$1.48-1.66 billion].”

For now, SOLIDEO is satisfied that construction schedules will not be impacted. But the worrying has started again.

● Games of the XXXIV Olympiad: Los Angeles 2028 ● The Hershey Company announced a renewal of its sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and agreements for sponsorship with LA28 and NBCUniversal broadcasts.

Hershey had been a USOPC sponsor for Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 and now picks up sponsorship with the USOPC for 2024-26-28.

The LA28 organizers pick up their first domestic food sponsor and the deal will include “NBCUniversal’s Olympic and Paralympic media platforms to support the partnerships through 2028.” This is exactly the kind of integrated program – USOPC, LA28 and advertising on NBC – that was envisioned with the creation of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Properties unit in 2017.

Hershey is best known for its candy brands such as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers, but is also moving into salty snacks, such as Dot’s Pretzels.

● XXVI Olympic Winter Games: 2030 ● The Spanish bid for the Pyrenees and Barcelona area, to be shared between the Aragon and Catalan regions continues in confusion as the two regional governments could not come to agreement on a venue plan that would suit both.

The Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) announced there was no agreement, but:

The Spanish Olympic Committee, through its President, Alejandro Blanco, and with the support of the Government of Spain, expresses its decision to continue its work in order to present a technically unbeatable project, sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms, which contributes to the regeneration of the host territory, and that, at the same time, responds to the requirements and regulations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), for which it will continue evaluating the best options, in order to be able to materialize the presentation of said candidacy.”

Both regions have suggested that they be the sole site of a 2030 bid, but the continuing bickering is leaving Spain well behind front-runners Sapporo (JPN) and Salt Lake City in the U.S., with a bid under development from 2010 host Vancouver (CAN).

The IOC has indicated it expects to name one targeted bidder by the end of the year and award the 2030 Games formally in May 2023.

● International Olympic Committee ● A developing program that could have significant impact on a wider scale if successful was announced on Tuesday, as the Olympic Values Education Programme will be integrated into schools in the eastern India state of Odisha:

“In its first year, the programme aims to impact 32,000 children enrolled in 90 schools in the cities of Bhubaneswar and Rourkela and, once in full swing, it will reach around 7 million children. The state of Odisha intends to take OVEP to all its schools and higher education institutions in a phased manner, thereby enabling its young population to truly take on board the Olympic values.”

What is the Olympic Values Education Programme?

“The Olympic Values Education Programme is a series of free and accessible teaching resources created by the IOC, to complement academic curricula using the context of Olympic sports and the core principles of Olympism. Participants are encouraged to experience values-based learning and to assume the responsibilities of good citizenship. OVEP communicates the long-term benefits of sport and physical activity through an understanding of Olympism and its impact on individual health, enjoyment and social interaction.”

Observed: The key is the integration with schools, and while the program has been around since 2006, the opportunity to be in India is a major opportunity and bears monitoring. If successful, the IOC can begin to envision its true transformation from a mega-event producer to a worldwide, values-based movement.

● Football ● FIFA President Gianni Infantino (SUI) participated in a panel on football at the World Economic Forum in Davos (SUI) and said:

[Nelson] Mandela was saying that sport can change the world, that it can inspire, that it unites, and he was right with that. Football, as the most popular sport in the world, has a unique reach.

“The last FIFA World Cup was watched by four billion people, the last FIFA Women’s World Cup by 1.2 billion people. This World Cup in Qatar will be watched by five billion people, way above half of the world’s population. All these people who follow and pursue the same passion, they all feel the same way and they all know that football has this uniting force. …

“This is a special year. We’ve come out of the pandemic; we are in a divided world. We need excuses to bring people together. We have the best excuse with the World Cup. Come to Qatar from 21 November to 18 December, as you will experience the experience of your life, the best World Cup ever not only from a football point of view, but also from an experience point of view, witnessing the Arab culture, the history, the welcoming way of dealing with those who will come, and this will certainly contribute to maybe a little bit to making the world feel a little bit better.”

Observed: Infantino’s comments are not simply shameless self-promotion. Those who study the statistics know that the Tokyo Olympic Games last year drew an estimated 3.05 billion viewers worldwide … and now the World Cup will do 5,000,000,000?

If this becomes the reality, FIFA can make the case to the football family that staying in the Olympic Games is irrelevant and that football will be better off with an every-two-years World Cup for men and women. For FIFA, the stinging rejection of the every-two-years plan came from Europe (UEFA) and South America (CONMEBOL), the giants of the World Cup, and the two confederations are working closely together. Keep your eye on them and not on Lausanne for the future of the every-two-years World Cup concept.

The official match ball for the UEFA Champions League final on 28 May was unveiled by adidas with the word “peace” inscribed in English and Cyrillic. And it will be special:

“The ball will not be available for retail, and instead will be auctioned after the game, with the proceeds going to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to support people forced to flee their homes.”

The match between Liverpool and Real Madrid will be held at the Stade de France in Paris, and the ball is considerably less celebratory and colorful than usual, featuring panels in white and silver.

● Modern Pentathlon ● The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) announced the first test of the new fifth discipline – obstacle course – for 27-28 June, following the UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Final in Ankara (TUR). Details:

“The standalone Obstacle Discipline competition will involve two to four athletes racing each other over a course up to 100 metres long, with up to 10 obstacles” which could include:

● Ascending steps
● Rope swing
● 1.5m wall
● Monkey bars
● Offset steps
● 0.5m low crawl
● Rings rig
● Under-over-under-over
● Wheels rig
● Balance beam
● Angled ladders
● Finish ‘Tsunami’ curved wall

The course was designed in collaboration with World Obstacle (FISO).

The final decision on the replacement of Riding with Obstacle must be made by the UIPM Congress, which approved the removal of horses from the sport earlier this year.


● Cycling ● Race leader Richard Carapaz (ECU) survived a brutal test in Tuesday’s 16th stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, maintaining his lead … barely.

The route was a punishing quadruple climb from Salo to Aprica over 202 km, but with a downhill finish from the Valico di Santa Cristina. It was Czech veteran Jan Hirt who took off on the final climb and raced to the line for his biggest-ever win – and first in a Grand Tour – by seven seconds over Thymen Arensman (NED) and then Australia’s Jai Hindley, 1:24 behind the winner.

But with the bonus seconds for finishing third, Hindley moved to within three seconds of race leader Carapaz – who finished – fourth while Joao Almeida (POR) sits at 44 seconds behind. Spain’s Mikel Landa remained fourth, 59 seconds back.

Stage 17 is 168 km of more misery, with a major early climb and then two stiff ascents in the final quarter of the race.

● Ice Hockey ● The round-robin play in the IIHF men’s World Championship in Finland finally concluded on Tuesday, with the quarter-finals set to begin on the 26th.

In Group A, Switzerland finished on top with 20 points and a 7-0 record (one overtime win), followed by Germany (5-2: 16, one overtime loss), Canada (5-2: 15) and Slovakia (4-3: 12), which advanced on criteria over Denmark.

Host Finland won Group B with a 6-1 record (one overtime loss: 19 points), ahead of Sweden (6-1: 18, one overtime win and one overtime loss), the Czech Republic (4-3: 13, one overtime loss) and the U.S. (5-2: 13, two overtime wins).

So, in the quarterfinals, the Swiss will face the U.S. and Finland will play Slovakia in the top half of the bracket, with Germany and the Czechs and Sweden meeting Canada in the bottom half. The championship game is on 29 May.

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