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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. Coe re-elected 192-0 as World Athletics President
2. Coe thinks Russian participation in Paris “unlikely”
3. World Athletics in 2022: $17.2 mil. loss, $43.5 mil. reserves
4. Andonovski steps down, Kilgore interim U.S. women’s coach
5. Britain’s Potter beats Beaugrand in Paris Triathlon test
● World Athletics President Sebastian Coe of Great Britain was re-elected for a third and final term by a 192-0 vote, with three abstentions. Elections for Vice Presidents and the World Athletics Council were also held, with Willie Banks of the U.S. re-elected for a second term.
● Coe told reporters in Budapest for the upcoming World Championships that he thinks Russian participation at the Paris 2024 Games in athletics is “unlikely” in view of the continuing invasion of Ukraine. His comments were met with the usual angry response from Russian officials.
● The World Athletics Annual Report was released, including financial statements which showed a $17.2 million loss on revenues of $54.9 million. The federation has reasonable reserves of $43.5 million, with another massive Olympic dividend coming in 2024.
● U.S. Soccer formally announced the resignation of Women’s National Team coach Vlatko Andonovski, with Twila Kilgore now the interim coach. Thanks to the new revenue-sharing agreement reached with the Men’s National Team, the U.S. women will receive more money in 2023 than they did for winning the Women’s World Cup in 2019! Australia’s semifinal loss to England drew the largest television audience in the country’s history, with a peak total of more than 11 million watching at the end.
● The much-awaited World Triathlon test event in Paris came off well on Thursday, as Britain’s Beth Potter raced to the win over France’s Cassandre Beaugrand, with no difficulties with water quality.
● World Championships: Sailing (Italy’s Tita and Banti sail away with Nacra 17 gold) = Shooting (China sweeps men’s and women’s 10 m Air Pistol wins) ●
● Panorama: Brisbane 2032 (Greens mayoral candidate wants Gabba remodel ended) = PanAm Sports (Adrian among final five all-time honorees) = Boxing (IBA urges national federations to stay affiliated) = Chess (FIDE bans transgender women from women’s division) ●
Coe re-elected 192-0 as World Athletics President
British Olympic icon and two-term World Athletics President Sebastian Coe was re-elected for a third and final term as the head of the federation on Thursday. The vote was 192-0, with three abstentions.
Coe was first elected in 2015, taking over for the disgraced Lamine Diack (SEN) and having to work through the financial chaos of an internal scheme run by Diack that siphoned off sponsorship money and extorted funds from Russian athletes to cover up doping positives, plus the state-sponsored Russian doping scandal.
He introduced the Athletics Integrity Unit in 2017 and has taken steps to improve the federation’s governance and processes, but remains criticized for his sport’s unsure public profile and popularity, an area he says is a primary focus for the future.
Elected as the four Council Vice Presidents:
● Raul Chapado (ESP), a Spanish Olympian in the men’s triple jump in 2000 and head of the Spanish Athletics Federation.
● Ximena Restrepo (CHI), re-elected as a Vice President; a four-time Olympian and 1992 bronze medalist in the women’s 400 m, formerly the General Secretary of the Chilean federation.
● Adille Sumariwalla (IND), a 1980 Olympian in the men’s 100 m, head of the Athletics Federation of India and a founder and managing director of multiple advertising and communications companies.
● Jackson Tuwei (KEN), the head of Athletics Kenya, and a former military officer.
Tuwei’s election is quite remarkable in view of Kenya’s continuing doping issues, so severe that the Athletics Integrity Unit had to assign its managing director to take charge of reforming the situation.
Also elected were 13 members of the World Athletics Council, from a very large field of 27. American Willie Banks was re-elected for a second term as a member, and long-time Council members Abby Hoffman (CAN) and Nawal El Moutawakel (MAR) were also re-elected.
Long-time Council member Sergey Bubka (UKR) did not stand for re-election, but Ukraine will be represented by Nataliia Dobrynska, the 2008 Olympic winner in the heptathlon and a Vice President of the national federation.
Coe thinks Russian participation in Paris “unlikely”
After the election, Coe talked to reporters on Thursday about the situation with Russia, which World Athletics has had on suspension since 2015 for doping issues and although reinstated on that issue, continues to keep them out of competitions in view of its invasion of Ukraine:
“I don’t have a crystal ball, I follow world events in the same way that you all do.
“Our position is very clear. The Council has made that position clear. The new Council – and I’m not going to speak for them in advance – but I would be very surprised if there is any shift in that position.
“We have certainty and we’ve done it for reasons of integrity of competition. We will of course monitor that situation.
“We have risk committees, we have working groups that will always be wanting to be across that and what might the circumstances look like if there’s any shift in the situation but I have to say that looks unlikely at the moment with where we are with events in Ukraine.
“I think we made the right decision as an international federation, but it was made thanks to the task force; we didn’t just close the door and say ‘you are suspended.’ We are working closer with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, we continue to work with them to understand that they can be reintroduced as clean athletes. This work will continue. There was a lot of criticism even from the International Olympic Committee, but it was important that we had a process that our association stood behind.”
The Russian response was quick and unhappy:
● Former sports minister Pavel Kolobkov told the Russian news agency TASS:
“I had a long history of relationships with Coe, from which I concluded that he was not an independent person, and all the agreements that we had with him were never fulfilled by World Athletics.
“I fulfilled all my obligations to this organization a long time ago, but the return of our athletes to the international arena was repeatedly postponed under various unreasonable pretexts. It is obvious that World Athletics was guided by biased circumstances and far-fetched requirements.
“Representatives of World Athletics, who worked in our country, stated that we had fulfilled all the requirements. The question is brewing: why did all this happen at all? We have always built partnerships, but we have not seen any response from that side. Therefore, there are no hopes for positive for I didn’t feed the movement from World Athletics to Russia. It was high time to conclude that they are neither partners nor friends to us.”
● The Chair of the State Duma Committee on Physical Culture and Sports, Dmitry Svishchev added:
“The International Federation has expressed its politicized position on this issue.
“Instead of developing sports, defending the interests of athletes, and Coe, I note that he himself is a former athlete, president of World Athletics, even neglects the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee, which spoke about the admission of athletes in a neutral status. His position is incomprehensible, illogical, and I wonder how he argues it. And the first thing I would do in the place of the leadership of the All-Russian Athletics Federation would be to ask Coe for clarification on this issue .
“Previously, he said that Russia must fulfill financial conditions, resolve all issues related to the fight against doping. Now the reason is not even indicated. I think that he is still not saying something, so there are some disagreements that he does not want to voice? In general, nothing surprising or unusual. Of course, we would like to compete at the Olympics in athletics, this is a larger percentage of all Olympic medals, and our chances are good. We know the names of each of our athletes who are capable of this. There is still time, we need to fight for the right of our athletes to participate in the Games.”
The legendary figure skating coach, Tatyana Tarasova, cast further doubt on Russians in Paris in 2024:
“Not only athletics, but also the rest will not be allowed in. No one will be allowed in until this [invasion of Ukraine] is over. This trend will also be in other sports, this is just the beginning.”
World Athletics in 2022: $17.2 mil. loss, $43.5 mil. reserves
World Athletics posted its annual report and financial statements for 2022 on Thursday, with a significant loss for the year of $17.222 million, but reserves of $43.484 million.
This is in line with the stated strategy of taking the $39.478 million Olympic television money it receives and spending it down over the following three years, until the next Olympic Games comes along (two years in the case of the delayed Tokyo payout).
World Athletics broadcast and sponsorship revenues for 2022 – with no Olympic dividend – were steady, with cash income of $37.052 million, up from $34.817 million in 2021. A large increase in value-in-kind income for 2022 pushed the statement total to $48.724 million vs. $38.241 million in 2021. The statements did not indicate the specific nature of the increase in in-kind goods and services.
With the smaller revenue areas added in, total revenue for 2022 was $54.923 million, down from $82.869 million – with the Olympic television money – in 2021.
Expenses zoomed, however, from $52.648 million in 2021 to $72.002 million in 2022. Most of the increase – $18 million – came from increased costs for the World Championships, World Indoor Championships and World U-20 Championships held in 2022 – more than $7 million – and an additional $9.3 million in “Value in kind commissions,” paid to an outside agency, assumed to be Dentsu, the federation’s long-time marketing partner.
The federation showed $61.653 million in assets, down from $82.386 at the end of 2021 (due to the Olympic dividend), with $43.484 million in reserves and $46.061 in cash and equivalents.
Coe’s comments in the report were, of course, positive toward the future:
“We have great foundations in place. We are seeing more stars grow in our sport through the athlete stories we and the media are telling. And we are actively looking at ways to raise them even higher, helping our athletes become more famous through special features, documentaries and making them more available to fans and media. Performance is key but personalities and passions are also important connectors.
“We have never had such a good opportunity to grow athletics as we have over the next few years.”
The federation had good news on Thursday, announcing a sponsorship from Deloitte, “will provide a wide range of digital consulting services and sports operations and platforms to World Athletics and the World Athletics Series events from 1 January 2024 until 31 December 2029.”
This is in the “Supporter” classification – a new level – and builds on Deloitte’s TOP sponsorship with the International Olympic Committee.
Andonovski steps down, Kilgore interim U.S. women’s coach
The U.S. Soccer Federation formally announced the resignation of U.S. Women’s National Team coach Vlatko Andonovski (MKD) on Thursday, with assistant coach Twila Kilgore to serve as interim coach for the two September friendlies with South Africa.
Said Andonovski in a statement:
“It’s been the honor of my life to coach the talented, hard-working players of the USWNT for the past four years.
“I’m very optimistic for the future of this program, especially considering all the young players that got opportunities over the past few years who will no doubt be leaders and impact players moving forward. While we are all disappointed by the outcome at this year’s World Cup, I am immensely proud of the progress this team has made, the support they’ve shown for each other, and the inspiration they’ve provided for players around the world.
“I will be forever thankful to the U.S. Soccer Federation for giving me the chance to coach this remarkable team.”
U.S. Soccer’s Sporting Director Matt Crocker (WAL) will lead the coaching search, with the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris less than a year away. The U.S. women are already qualified for the tournament.
Although the U.S. team left the Women’s World Cup in the round-of-16, they will receive more money than they did for winning in 2019!
That’s thanks to the generosity of the men’s National Team, which agreed to pool its World Cup prize money with the women and split it:
● For the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. men reached the round-of-16, losing to the Netherlands (four-game total: three goals, four given up). For that, FIFA paid $13.00 million to U.S. Soccer.
● At the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the U.S. women were also knocked out in the round-of-16, to Sweden (four-game total: four goals, one given up), and will receive $1.87 million.
Pooled together, the pot is $14.87 million, meaning both teams – men and women – will receive $7.435 million, almost double the $4.00 million the women’s team got for winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup!
Australia’s run to the Women’s World Cup semifinals set a record for television viewing, with Channel Seven reporting an average audience of 7.13 million and a peak of 11.15 million. That’s the biggest viewing audience in Australian history.
Pretty impressive for a country with a total population of 25.69 million!
Same story in Great Britain for the Lionesses’ match with the Matildas, with the BBC reporting a peak audience of 7.3 million on BBC One and another 3.8 on streaming platforms, for a total of 11.1 million who saw some part of the game. The British population as of 2021 was 67.33 million.
Reader David Bettwy noted that yesterday’s notes on the betting line for the Spain-England final were incomplete.
While Spain is the favorite (Thursday’s odds) at +160-170 and England at +175-190, there is also a line for a draw – score tied after 90 minutes and not counting extra time or a penalty shoot-out. That’s at +185-210, the least-likely outcome according to the sharpies.
To flat-out win the tournament, Spain is -110 and England is +100. Translation: a wager of $110 on Spain is needed to win $100, but $100 placed in the Lionessses would return $100.
Britain’s Potter beats Beaugrand in Paris Triathlon test
The Paris 2024 triathlon test event went off as scheduled on Thursday and Britain’s emerging star Beth Potter passed the test best with a 1:51:40 victory over France’s Cassandre Beaugrand (1:51:46).
Potter is having a career season, winning two events on the World Triathlon Championship Series tour and finishing second once, but came out of the 1.5 km swim in the Seine River in 20th place. She got up to 15th by the end of the 40 km bike phase, and then took off on the run.
Potter was a 2016 Olympian for Britain in the women’s 10,000 m and knew exactly what to do in the 10 km run, picking off one runner after another and was soon at the front with Beaugrand, who won the World Sprint Championship in July. Potter finished with the fastest time in the field – 32:57 – and won by six seconds. Beaugrand’s 33:07 was second-best, but gave her a nine-second edge over Laura Lindemann (GER: 1:51:59).
Said the winner, “This was my main goal for the season and I ticked it off, I am super happy.”
The U.S. had five in the top 16, with Taylor Knibb finishing fifth (1:52:04), Taylor Spivey in 10th (1:52:46), Katie Zaferes in 12th (1:52:57), Kirsten Kasper in 15th (1:53:29) and Summer Rappaport in 16th (1:53:53). Under the USA Triathlon selection criteria, Knibb’s fifth puts her on the Paris 2024 team.
The water quality of the Seine was more than sufficient, and the test event will continue through Sunday (20th).
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Sailing ● The first Olympic-class events at the 2023 World Sailing Championships have been concluded, with familiar faces back on the podium.
In the Nacra 17 multi-hull category, the Tokyo Olympic gold medalists, Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti were the decisive victors, scoring a net 31 points and winning 11 of the 16 races. The British duo of John Gimson and Anna Burnet, the Tokyo runners-up and 2020-21 World Champions in this class, finished second with 57 points and Sweden’s Emil Jarudd and Hanna Jonsson scored 66 for third.
The top American boat, with Sarah Newberry Moore and David Liebenberg, finished 18th (159).
In the revamped, mixed-crew 470 class, Japan’s Keiju Okada and Miho Yoshioka (the 2018 World Champion in the women’s 470) took the title with just 50 points, taking three wins and six top-3 finishes. Jordi Xammar, the Tokyo bronze medalist in the men’s 470, and Nora Brugman, of Spain were second at 86, with the second Japanese crew – Tetsuya Isozaki and Yurie Seki – third with 91.
The top U.S. crew, Stuart McNay and Lara Dallman-Weiss, were also 18th (135).
Competition continues through Sunday.
● Shooting ● China swept the first two events of the World Shooting Championships, in the men’s and women’s 10 m Air Pistol.
Bowen Zhang – fifth last year – took the men’s gold, scoring 244.3 to edge Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Damir Mikec (SRB: 240.8) in the final. Bulgaria’s Kiril Kirov was third (215.7).
In the women’s final, Tokyo bronze winner Ranxin Jiang won a tight final against Greece’s Rio bronze medalist, Anna Korakaki, 239.8-238.3, with China’s Xue Li taking the bronze (218.9).
The U.S. had no finalists in either event. Competition continues throughout the rest of August.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Olympic Games 2032: Brisbane ● Greens politician Jonathan Sriranganathan was the city council member representing the area that includes The Gabba stadium, and now is campaigning to be mayor of Brisbane in March 2024:
“I’m very unapologetic about the fact that my politics are quite radical. Our political system has been completely hijacked by big business and we need to transform almost everything from the bottom up.”
He wants Queensland to end the A$2.7 billion plan to renovate The Gabba stadium and the surrounding area for the Games:
“It’s utterly ridiculous that we’re spending billions of dollars on stadiums rather than reusing existing facilities. The government needs to spend a lot more time addressing the housing crisis, the climate crisis and other urgent issues that so many people are concerned about.”
His candidature is considered a long shot, but the mayoral election is expected to be hotly contested.
● PanAm Sports ● American swimming star Nathan Adrian was honored with a spot in the final report on the top 75 athletes to compete at the Pan American Games.
The short list for 2018 to 2022 began with Adrian, who won the London 2012 Olympic 100 m Freestyle and four more golds on relays on 2008-12-16, plus 10 World Championships golds, all on relays. After returning from testicular cancer, he was a star at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, winning golds on two relays, and silvers in the 50-100m Frees and on the U.S. men’s 4×100 m Free relay.
● Boxing ● The Dutch Boxing Association (Nederlandse Boksbond) posted a statement on Monday, which stressed caution in moving ahead with its membership in the new World Boxing organization, including:
“In the coming period, the Dutch Boxing Association will therefore appoint an external and independent adviser. This advisor must objectively assess the current situation of the Dutch Boxing Association with regard to the route taken and will thereby analyze our international position.”
This followed an outline of what the federation has already done:
“The Dutch Boxing Association has submitted an application for WorldBoxing membership after the withdrawal of the IOC recognition from the IBA and after the amendment of the articles of association at the members’ meeting, in which the aim to maintain the Olympic status of boxing emerged. This moment was important because of the closing date this month. The membership application is a condition to become a member at the World Boxing opening congress in November.
“The Dutch Boxing Association can be admitted as a member if all conditions to become a member are met. There is therefore no definitive membership at the moment, as membership still needs to be confirmed in November 2023. The membership of various countries in WorldBoxing and the recent decision-making by the IOC give reason to consider WorldBoxing as the most logical option for the preservation of Olympic boxing. In line with this, the Dutch Boxing Association is therefore striving to become a member of WorldBoxing.”
The International Boxing Association seized on the appointment of an adviser to urge other national federations to stay put, but acknowledges that its position regarding Olympic boxing is weak:
“Seeking a solution to allow for their athletes to compete at the Olympics is truly understandable, as many of National Federations are dependent on Olympic funds from the state/NOCs. However, the Olympics represents only 248 elite athletes in total. To get there, a boxer must go from grassroots to the top gradually, gaining experience and fighting the best to excel. In addition, there are 4 years in between the Games, and the boxers need to train and compete to develop their skills, grow professionally while also making a living to get them to the next Olympic cycle.
“IBA provides all these opportunities today, while the alternative organization does not. IBA has secured the budget for the next 4-year cycle that includes IBA’s events portfolio, prize money fund, Financial Support Program (FSP) and various development initiatives. Moreover, there are not any guarantees that the alternative organization will receive IOC recognition, because this process is quite long and complicated. At the same time, IBA positively estimates its chances to demonstrate before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a fair procedure the progress achieved recently within the governance, finances, and integrity of the competitions.”
However, the IBA does not allow dual membership of federations, and so is forcing a choice of the IBA (non-Olympic) or World Boxing (might be Olympic), and has already suspended the Dutch federation, although the federation has pointed out that it has not terminated its IBA membership.
Not the route usually taken to keep members from leaving. And, as usual, the IBA’s claim that it has secured its future funding comes with no details as to whom the funding will come from.
● Chess ● The International Chess Federation (FIDE), an IOC-recognized federation, approved new regulations concerning transgender players that will become effective on 21 August, stating:
“In the event that the gender was changed from a male to a female the player has no right to participate in official FIDE events for women until further FIDE’s decision is made. Such decision should be based on further analysis and shall be taken by the FIDE Council at the earliest possible time, but not longer than within 2 (two) years period. There are no restrictions to play in the open section for a person who has changed the gender.”
● “If a player holds any of the women titles, but the gender has been changed to a man, the women titles are to be abolished. Those can be renewed if the person changes the gender back to a woman and can prove the ownership of the respective FIDE ID that holds the title.”
● “If a player has changed the gender from a man into a woman, all the previous titles remain eligible. The player may use only the published rating at the time the registration was changed, and all subsequent ratings when applying for women titles. No peak ratings or results that have been reached before the official gender change may be used to qualify for women titles after the legal gender change.”
Ratings are critical in chess as they help determine eligibility to enter tournaments.
Russian State Duma sports committee chair Svishchev opined to TASS of the changes:
“The decision of the International Chess Federation is absolutely correct.
“Other international sports organizations should do the same. There is not a single reason for transgender people to compete with other athletes on a common basis. In addition to the possible advantage, there are also many moral and ethical aspects that for an ordinary athlete can become insurmountable. In addition, we hear various news about the performances on the general basis of transgender people who have not even completely changed their gender.
“I consider this unacceptable and I strongly recommend that all international federations do not allow transgender people to compete on the general rules. There should be separate tournaments for such athletes.”
Pro-trans groups questioned why such new regulations are necessary in a sport which does not rely on physical exertion.
For our updated, 787-event International Sports Calendar (no. 3) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!