TSX REPORT: Asuncion and Lima bid for 2027 Pan Ams; U.S. marathon trials on Saturday; Beamon’s 1968 gold goes for $441,000!

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1. Asuncion and Lima bid for 2027 Pan American Games
2. U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials comes Saturday
3. Gangwon 2024 Youth Olympic Games conclude in Korea
4. Beamon’s ‘68 long jump brings $441,000 at auction
5. Cricket tops BCW federation social-media rankings

● Two bids were received by Panam Sports for the 2027 Pan American Games, removed from Barranquilla (COL) on 3 January. Asuncion, Paraguay and Lima, Peru (which hosted in 2019) are confirmed candidates with the choice to be made on 3 March.

● The U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials will be held in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, with reasonable weather expected and the top three women finishers to go to Paris. The U.S. has two men’s spots assured, with a third possible with a fast time.

● The 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games concluded in Gangwon, Korea with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach calling the event “a brilliant success.” The U.S. led the medal table with 21 total.

● Bob Beamon’s 1968 Olympic gold in the long jump – at which he set a staggering world record of 29-2 ½ – was auctioned in New York and drew a final price of $441,000.

● The annual social-media rankings by communications giant BCW showed the International Cricket Council a solid no. 1 again in 2023 across a combined total from seven platforms. FIFA was a clear second, but was far ahead of all other federations.

Panorama: Beijing 2022 (Bach asks for more sanctions on entourage) = Winter Games 2034 (Salt Lake City has contracted 21,000 rooms) = World Games (Moscoso wins Athlete of the Year for 2023) = Russia (Latvia passes law prohibiting matches against Russia or Belarus) = USOPC (Xfinity launches “Making Team USA” promo platform) = Alpine Skiing (Kilde says athlete schedule is too crowded) = Athletics (French distance star Jazy passes at 87) = Swimming (2: Worlds odds posted on open-water races; Trials warm-up pools headed to Caymans) ●

Asuncion and Lima bid for 2027 Pan American Games

As expected, two bids were received to host the 2027 Pan American Games by the deadline of 31 January, from Asuncion (PAR) and Lima (PER).

This follows the 3 January announcement by Panam Sports that it had revoked the hosting rights of Barranquilla (COL), after multiple breaches of contract, including missing a $4 million rights fee payment at the end of 2023.

Whispers about difficulties with Barranquilla had been circulating for some time, with Asuncion rumored to be ready to step in. Paraguay has never hosted the Pan American Games, which had 6,909 athletes from 41 countries competing in 425 events across 39 sports last October in Santiago (CHI).

Lima, on the other hand, hosted the 2019 Pan Am Games (and Parapan American Games) quite successfully in 2019 and has the advantage of existing venues and other infrastructure at its disposal.

Possible bids from Sao Paulo (BRA) and the Nuevo Leon state of Mexico did not materialize. It is possible that Panam Sports could award both the 2027 and 2031 Pan Ams to Asuncion and Lima in some order to take advantage of their interest. However, for now, the process is limited to 2027:

“To determine the next host city, the Panam Sports Executive Committee has organized an Extraordinary General Assembly to be held virtually on March 12.

“During the Assembly, each of the candidate cities must make a 40-minute presentation, and then proceed to the voting of the member countries, and thus choose the next city that will host the most important sporting event on the continent in 2027.”

U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials comes Saturday

After controversies over selection and starting times, the U.S. Olympic Trials for the marathon is finally here and will start just after 10 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday in downtown Orlando, Florida.

The original start time of noon was bitterly fought by the USA Track & Field Athletes Commission and a compromise of 10 a.m. was agreed, with the weather forecast now showing:

10:00 a.m.: Sunny, 59 F, wind of 4 miles per hour
11:00 a.m.: Sunny, 64 F, wind of 6 miles per hour
12:00 p.m.: Sunny, 67 F, winds of 6 miles per hour
1:00 p.m.: Sunny, 70 F, winds of 6 miles per hour

So, the start of the race will be accommodating, but the finish will be in warming temperatures, which could be significant. The men’s race will start at 10:10 a.m. and the women’s race at 10:20 a.m., with everyone running an opening 2.2-mile loop and then three loops of eight miles each.

The two races will be quite different, with the top three in the women’s race expected to be selected for Paris as the U.S. has three spots in the 80-athlete Olympic field already confirmed. For the men, however, only two have run under the 2:08:10 Olympic standard and so only two spots in Paris are confirmed; if a third athlete besides Conner Mantz and Clayton Young runs faster than 2:08:10, a third spot would be confirmed. If not, there is a World Athletics World Rankings protocol which might let a third U.S. man into the field, but that will not be finalized on 5 May.

In terms of the top entries, looking at the 2022-23 qualifying years (the qualifying period began in November 2022):

(215 entries: 206 marathon qualifiers, seven in half-marathon and two Tokyo Olympians)
● 2:07:47, Conner Mantz (2023 Chicago)
● 2:08:00, Clayton Young (2023 Chicago)
● 2:08:48, Galen Rupp (2023 Chicago)
● 2:08:50, Sam Chelanga (2023 Chicago)
● 2:08:52, Scott Fauble (2022 Boston)
● 2:09:07, Elkaneh Kibet (2022 Boston)
● 2:09:28, Zach Panning (2022 Chicago)
● 2:09:31, Leonard Korir (2023 Paris)
● 2:09:40, Futsum Zienasellassie (2023 Rotterdam)
● 2:09:46, Brian Shader (2023 Chicago)

Rupp, of course, was the Olympic 10,000 m silver winner in 2012 and the marathon bronze winner in 2016. He won the 2020 Olympic Trials at Atlanta in 2:09:20 and is fully capable – if healthy – of running the Olympic standard and winning in Orlando. But he hasn’t finished in the top three in his last five races – in 2022-23-24 – and not since the 2021 Chicago Marathon.

Mantz’s sixth-place finish in Chicago last year got the U.S. a qualifying mark and he was second in the USATF 20 km Championship last September. Training partner Young won the USATF road 10 km title and the 20 km title (over Mantz) and was right behind Mantz (2:08:00) at Chicago. Those two are at the head of the form chart.

Great interest will be paid to first-time marathoner Paul Chelimo, the Rio 2016 5,000 m silver winner and who got the 5,000 m bronze at Tokyo 2020. Five-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, now 47, will become the oldest man to run in the Olympic Marathon Trials ever; he made the Tokyo 2020 team with a Trials third.

The rest? The weather may have an impact and the smartest runner may be the one who finished third … but may not make it to the Games.

(165 entries: 153 marathon qualifiers; 12 in half-marathon)
● 2:18:29, Emily Sisson (2022 Chicago)
● 2:19:12, Keira D’Amato (2022 Houston)
● 2:21:40, Betsy Saina (2023 Tokyo)
● 2:22:10, Sara Hall (2022 Worlds)
● 2:23:07, Molly Seidel (2023 Chicago)
● 2:23:24, Sara Vaughn (2023 Chicago)
● 2:24:35, Gabriella Rooker (2023 Chicago)
● 2:24:37, Aliphine Tuliamuk (2023 Boston)
● 2:24:40, Dakotah Lindwurm (2023 Chicago)
● 2:24:43, Lindsay Flanagan (2022 Gold Coast)

This is an outstanding field, with 21 who have run faster than the Olympic qualifying standard of 2:27:30. Tuliamuk won the Tokyo 2020 Trials, ahead of Molly Seidel and Sally Kipyego; Seidel won the Tokyo Olympic bronze, but withdrew from Orlando due to a knee injury. Emma Bates, who ran 2:22:10 at Boston in 2023, also was unable to achieve the fitness she wanted and won’t run.

Sisson is the American record holder, breaking D’Amato’s mark from earlier in 2022 and was great in 2023, winning national titles at 15 km and 20 km and finishing seventh at the Chicago Marathon. Sara Hall, Bates and D’Amato finished 5-7-8 at the 2022 Worlds, the only country to place three in the top 10.

The women’s field includes 47-year-old Dot McMahon, a five-time Trials qualifier, but there will be a lot of interest in debut marathoner Jenny Simpson, the 2011 World 1,500 m champ and Olympic 1,500 m bronze winner in 2016, who qualified with a 70:35 at the Houston half in 2023. Two-time Olympian Molly Huddle, a 5,000-10,000 m star, is in the field, and Des Linden, already a two-time Olympian, will try to move up one spot from her fourth in 2020; she finished 2-2-4 at the 2012-16-20 Trials.

The races will be shown live on the Peacock subscription service, and then on NBC beginning at noon Eastern. Real-time results should be available here.

Gangwon 2024 Youth Olympic Games conclude in Korea

“You see here a very happy IOC President, and a very happy Chair of the Coordination Commission, because these Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024 have been a brilliant success. …

“These Winter Youth Olympic Games have been a great demonstration of Olympic legacy, the hard legacy and the soft legacy of the very successful Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. We saw state-of-the-art facilities, and the athletes enjoying to compete in these state-of-the-art facilities , Olympic facilities, because six years ago, they were glued to their TV screen and saw their then-Olympic idols winning gold medals. …

“But we also saw and this may be, in the long term, even more important, is the soft legacy. I met many volunteers who had been volunteers in 2018. …They really deserve a special mention.”

That was International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach (GER), at a wrap-up news conference prior to the closing of the 2024 Winter YOG in Gangwon.

The event, which finished on Thursday evening, had 1,801 athletes from 78 countries, and a heavy dose of K-pop music throughout. The U.S. was the top medal winner, with 21 in total (5-11-5), nearly double the 11 (2-3-6) won at Lausanne in 2020, and more than the 16 (10-6-0) in 2016 and eight in 2012 (2-3-3). Germany won 20 medals (9-5-6) and Italy had the most golds with 11 and was one of three countries with 18 in all.

Three athletes won four medals: biathlete Antonin Guy (FRA: 3-1-0), speed skater Angel Daleman (NED: 3-0-1) and short track star Xinzhe Zhang (CHN: 2-0-2). In addition to Guy and Daleman, Finn Sonnekalb (GER: speed skating) and Maja Waroschitz (AUT: alpine skiing) also won three golds.

Bach was thrilled with the interest in the Winter YOG, not only in Korea, but also in the U.S., noting there were about a million viewers of NBC’s coverage. Worldwide, the social-media traffic was impressive; said Bach:

“By tomorrow, there will be 250 million engagements on the Olympic social-media handles alone. This is something unprecedented, and in particular, unprecedented for any junior event.

“Here, to have over 250 million engagements is really overwhelming success, which we greatly, greatly appreciate.”

He added that the IOC had contributed $25 million to the organizing committee and spent another $12 million on travel, food, preparation and qualifications for the participating National Olympic Committees.

No host for a 2028 Winter Youth Olympic Games has been chosen yet; Bach expects a site to be named later this year or in early 2025.

Beamon’s ‘68 long jump brings $441,000 at auction

The Mexico City 1968 Olympic long jump gold medal won by American Bob Beamon with his historic 8.90 m (29-2 1/2) leap was auctioned on Thursday by Christie’s New York.

Part of the 40-lot The Exceptional Sale, the medal was estimated to sell for $400-600,00 and was sold for $441,000, the third-highest price realized during the sale.

Beamon made history on his first jump of the final and was overwhelmed by his world-record effort; he took one more jump and then skipped his remaining four attempts. Now 77, he decided to sell the medal in order to support his children.

It sold for $350,000, and $441,000 after auction house fees were added on. Said Beamon, “it’s time for me to pass it on.” Christie’s did not identify the buyer.

Cricket tops BCW federation social-media rankings

There’s no doubt about the passion of cricket followers, underscored once again by the BCW International Sports Federation Social Media Rankings for 2023.

The International Cricket Council led all federations by a wide margin, with 106.519 million total followers across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Threads, TikTok, YouTube and X (ex-Twitter); the top five:

● 106,519,541: Cricket (ICC)
● 56,836,902: Football (FIFA)
● 21,869,824: Basketball (FIBA)
● 15,825,447: Volleyball (FIVB)
● 11,983,040: Athletics (World Athletics)

These top five remained unchanged in their overall ranking from 2022 and were the only federations with more than 10 million combined followers. FIBA, which held its men’s World Cup in 2023, saw a 41% increase in total followers in 2023.

In terms of the Olympic-sport federations, the numbers go down rapidly after World Athletics, with World Rugby fifth (9.709 million) down to World Aquatics in 10th (3.172 million).

The individual platform leaders:

Facebook: 41.014 million: Cricket (ICC)
Instagram: 29.905 million: Cricket (ICC)
LinkedIn: 401,020: Football (FIFA)
Threads: 1.829 million: Cricket (ICC)
TikTok: 4.900 million: Basketball (FIBA)
YouTube: 20.200 million: Football (FIFA)
X: 27.125 million Football (FIFA)

The study noted that despite 2023 being just a year beyond the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, no winter-sport federation made the top-10 list among any of the platforms.


● Olympic Winter Games 2022: Beijing ● IOC President Bach was asked during his Gangwon news conference the IOC’s view of the Kamila Valieva doping decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He made special note of the issues with coaches, physicians and others who surround athletes:

“This case overall is another confirmation of our determination and our request which we have been making repeatedly, that in doping cases, it cannot only be a matter for the athletes concerned, but that the entourage of the athletes have to be inquired more and better and deeper and have also to be sanctioned.

“And this is even more true when it comes to minors, and so I cannot only call on all the organizations responsible there for the fight against doping, and all the agencies to really look into the entourage, and to make sure that also with regard to a member of the entourage, we have deterrent sanctions, and again, even tougher sanctions whenever a minor is involved.”

● Olympic Winter Games 2034 ● The march toward selection for the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Olympic Games continues with an announcement that 21,000 of the 24,000 rooms required by the IOC have been secured:

“The Utah bid has now contracted lodging in 11 Utah counties plus Wyoming. The coverage includes Utah’s Box Elder, Cache, Davis, Juab, Morgan, Salt Lake, Summit, Tooele, Utah, Wasatch, and Weber counties, along with Uintah (Evanston) county in Wyoming.”

The bid file must be submitted later this month, with a site visit likely coming in April.

● World Games ● The International World Games Association announced that Bolivian racquetball star Conrrado Moscoso won the World Games Athlete of the Year award for 2023. He polled 75,389 votes to 55,834 for Italy’s Luisa Rizzo (Air Sports).

German’s Latin Dance duo of Marius-Andrei Balan and Khrystyna Moshenska finished third, with 43,560.

● Russia ● Latvian state media reported:

“Latvia’s team sports national teams are prohibited from playing against the national teams of Russia and Belarus, according to the amendments to the Sports Law adopted in the Saeima [legislature] on Thursday, February 1. The ban will also apply if athletes from the aggressor countries participate in the competition in a neutral status. …

“The amendments to the law also provide for a ban on organizing team sports national team competitions in Latvia, where the national teams of Russia or Belarus participate under their flag or in a neutral status. The ban applies to both adult, youth and junior competitions both in Latvia and abroad.

“The main goal of the adopted amendments to the law is to re-emphasize Latvia’s solidarity with Ukraine and to fundamentally block any Russian efforts to legitimize its war crimes through the sports industry, the press service of the Saeima informed. In the Russian foreign policy doctrine, one of the directions of spreading its values is the so-called ‘soft power’ in building relations with foreign countries, and sports is one of the ways of its use.”

Russian response was immediate and shrill, with Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova telling Sport Express:

“This is a manifestation of racism: hatred on national grounds. Nazism in its purest form.”

Former Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov called for sanctions from the IOC:

“We have many precedents in international sports policy when this is interpreted as government intervention in the affairs of public organizations … any interference and prohibitions of this kind are called government interference in the affairs of public organizations.”

● U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee ● “Making Team USA presented by Xfinity aims to tell the untold qualification journey story, inclusive of all sports and athletes, and consisting of live events and competitions, including notable NBCU Trials coverage, athlete-led storytelling, behind-the-scenes content, gamification and other first-of-its-kind digital experiences on the newly launched TeamUSA.com to learn more about each athlete.”

Thursday’s announcement of this new promotional platform from the NBCUniversal family – Xfinity is owned by Comcast Corporation, also the parent of NBCU – creates a new opportunity for fans to track the U.S. team prior to Paris. There is also an Xfinity gift for U.S. Olympians-to-be:

“Xfinity will roll out its Xfinity Athlete Connections program ahead of Paris 2024, which will provide a ‘connections credit’ to each athlete who qualifies for the 2024 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams to help support their access to the Internet at home or on the go via their mobile device.”

● Alpine Skiing ● Injured Norwegian star Aleksander Aamodt Kilde said on Thursday that a better system for managing athlete time is needed to prevent more injuries.

This has been a tough year for crashes, with stars such as Alexis Pinturault (FRA), Petra Vlhova (SVK), Wendy Holdener (SUI), Marco Schwarz (AUT), Kilde and partner Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – all Olympic medal winners – either out for the season or for a significant portion.

An Associated Press story explained:

“Currently, a top skier’s day can start before sunrise and include inspecting the hill, racing, post-race ceremonies and media work at the course. Later, there is a televised evening event typically in a town square for another trophy presentation, media interviews and presenting start bibs for the next day’s race.”

Said Kilde: “It’s super important that we look at something that’s more sustainable,” referring to the heavy January schedule, where canceled races from November and December were rescheduled, resulting in 13 men’s races across five venues in three countries. The women had 12 races at six venues across four countries. Kilde was injured on his third straight day of racing, in Wengen (SUI) on 13 January, and added:

“We have to sit down with the people involved with this and see what we can do better for the upcoming years. We don’t have any room to lose anybody.”

The International Ski & Snowboard Federation (FIS) commented, “It is a balancing act to minimize the athletes’ time obligations while still giving World Cup competitions proper promotion both on site and for television.”

● Athletics ● Sad news that Michel Jazy, France’s middle-distance star of the 1960s, has passed at age 87 on Thursday.

The 1960 Olympic silver medalist in the 1,500 m, he set nine world records and was most famous for his mile mark of 3:53.6 in 1965 and the 2,000 m record of 4:56.2 – that stood for 10 years – in 1966.

● Swimming ● Caesars Sportsbook has posted odds on the open-water races at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha (QAT) that opens on Friday:

Men/5 km: Germany’s defending champion Florian Wellbrock is favored to repeat at 2.62:1, trailed by Italians Gregorio Paltrinieri (4:1, the 2023 silver winner) and Domenico Azcerenza (4.5:1, 2023 bronze).

Men/10 km: Wellbrock, who won this race last year as well, is 3.75:1 as the favorite, ahead of Azcerenza (4.50:1) and Paltrinieri (8:1).

Women/5 km: Katie Grimes of the U.S. is the favorite at 3.75:1, ahead of defending champ Leonie Beck (GER: 5.50:1) and 2023 Worlds runner-up Sharon van Rouwendaal (NED: 7:1) and Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha (7:1), the 2023 bronze winner.

Women/10 km: Beck, the defending champ here too, is favored at 4:1, with Grimes – who won bronze in this race last year – at 6.5:1, along with van Rouwendaal (6.5:1).

Paltrinieri has apparently withdrawn in the 10 km race, so look for new odds soon.

Myrtha Pools announced that the warm-up pools for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials – 50 m and 25 m – have been purchased (ahead of time) by the Cayman Islands’ Ministry of Youth, Sports and Heritage. Both will be re-installed at the new Cayman Islands Aquatic Center.

It’s the first Myrtha pool from a U.S. Olympic Trials to be used afterwards outside the U.S.; the company has been providing temporary pools for the Trials since 2008.

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