TSX REPORT: Coe says again, no Russians in track in Paris; LA28’s Carter steps back; two U.S. coaches indicted for aiding doping

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe (GBR) (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images for World Athletics)

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1. Coe reiterates: no Russians in track & field in Paris
2. LA28’s Carter steps away from CEO role
3. U.S. Justice charges two more for Rodchenkov Act doping
4. Media chaos as satiric story leads to Paris 2024 “lockdown” talk
5. Backstage: USOPC behind “Best Practices” symposium

● World Athletics President Sebastian Coe told reporters on Monday that unless something changes in the war with Ukraine, there will be no Russians competing in track & field at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

● The LA28 organizing committee’s chief executive, Kathy Carter, will transition to a senior advisor role and a new CEO will be hired, according to a story that appeared late Monday afternoon in the Los Angeles Times.

● The U.S. Department of Justice indicted two U.S. coaches for violations of the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act of 2019, for obtaining and dispensing performance-enhancing drugs to a Nigerian athlete (likely Blessing Okagbare), a Swiss athlete and a British athlete.

● A story in a satirical French newspaper was taken seriously by other French news media, reporting that a “lockdown” of Parisians during the 2024 Olympic Games was being discussed by the government. Corrections were posted, but the confusion isn’t helpful.

● The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, in coordination with Olympic Solidarity and Panam Sports, hosted the fifth Symposium for the Best Practices of the Americas in Miami, a little-known, but important – and appreciated – outreach effort by the world’s richest National Olympic Committee.

Panorama: Alpine Skiing (Odermatt doubles up at Alta Badia) = Athletics (2: Four more doping suspensions from the Athletics Integrity Unit; World Athletics Continental Tour schedule announced, including Gold meets in Los Angeles and New York) = Boxing (World Boxing announces new tournament in January in England) = Swimming (2: USA Swimming offering 20% off Olympic Trials tickets through Saturday; Russian star Chikunova comes to pool deck in a fur coat!) = Wrestling (U.S. Senior Nationals qualifies wrestlers for Olympic Trials) ●

Schedule: Some needed hardware, software and site updates have been put off for too long, so look for our next post on Friday, 22 December (unless in case of breaking news). ●

Coe reiterates: no Russians in track & field in Paris

“Our stance is clear. There’s no chance that we’re going to revisit that between now and Paris unless circumstances dramatically alter between Russia and Ukraine.”

That’s World Athletics President Sebastian Coe (GBR), speaking to reporters on Monday in a series of year-end roundtables, and speaking to the situation for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and Russia.

Coe’s federation has been one of the toughest in dealing with the Russians on varying issues, especially on doping, but also on the war against Ukraine. He also explained how he interprets the outcome of the Olympic Summit of 5 December – which he attended – from which the International Olympic Committee issued regulations three days later on how Russian and Belarusian “neutral” athletes might be able to participate in Paris:

“The most important thing is that the autonomy and independence of international federations to make these judgements is really important. We made a judgement which we believe was in the best interest of our sport.

The IOC has probably done what they were always destined to do. I hope those other international member federations that don’t necessarily see the world the way I do respect the decision we’ve made in the same way I respect the decision they’ve made.

“Do I see anything changing in the foreseeable future? I don’t know. The world changes every five minutes, the situation could change. We do have a working group that is monitoring the situation within the sport and it will advise and guide [the World Athletics] Council on what circumstances might need to exist for any exclusion to be lifted.”

World Athletics under Coe has been consistently tough on Russia in view of the doping scandals and cover-ups during that involved Lamine Diack (SEN) when he was the head of the then-IAAF. For the 2016 Rio Games, just after the state-sponsored doping scandal broke, only one Russian athlete was allowed to compete. At Tokyo 2020, the Russian Olympic Committee team in track & field consisted of 10 athletes, who won two medals (1-1-0).

Now, for 2024, it appears that none will be allowed to compete.

Coe praised the performances in the sport in 2023, noting “I think Budapest was the best world championships we’ve ever had and there were seven world records in an outstanding season.”

He also underlined the future direction for track & field:

“I want people to look back on 2024 and 2025 in the same way they look back on 2016, which was a root and branch review of the sport. And that we did things that made a significant difference… and that the sport looked different and will never look the same again.

“This doesn’t mean jettisoning 150 years of history and heritage but it is saying that too much of what we do is through rote and because ‘we’ve always done it’ – and it isn’t good enough. We have to do things differently and make sure the things we want to preserve and cherish are done in a way that they can be preserved and cherished in front of new audiences.

“I want to see more young people watching our sport and greater spectator activation. I want to improve the product on television, as I don’t think it’s that good in many places.

“I’m absolutely focused on what the product looks like. How we can use it to grow the sport? How we can bring more people, more technical officials, more coaches and volunteers into it and, critically, how we can future-proof the sport? The Netflix documentary next year will help do that – and there are other things being worked upon.”

Discussions are also underway to consider better ways to stage meets in the future and mentioned the long jump and triple jump as events that could benefit from improved presentation.

Coe also spoke to the federation’s continuing scrutiny of women’s participation and the situation for transgender women and those with “differences in sex development” that have exceptionally high testosterone levels, and promised to “protect” the women’s category.

Kathy Carter steps away from LA28 chief executive role

The chief executive of the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games organizing committee, Kathy Carter, is stepping back from that role and will become a senior advisor, according to a story posted late Monday afternoon by the Los Angeles Times.

“As anticipated, because LA28 is moving from a commercial and planning phase to an operational and delivery phase, now is the right time for me to pass the torch,” said Carter in a statement. LA28 Chair Casey Wasserman added:

“I am deeply grateful for Kathy’s leadership and many contributions to the Olympic and Paralympic movement. She will always be a defining part of our success at LA28 and I will continue to rely upon her advice during this transition and beyond.”

Carter, whose background was in football as the highly-successful head of Soccer United Marketing, bringing sponsors to the U.S. Soccer Federation and Major League Soccer in their growth phases after the 1994 World Cup – the first held in the U.S. – joined the LA28 effort in October 2018 as the head of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Properties group, the marketing joint venture between the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and LA28.

She was promoted to be LA28’s chief executive in September 2021, with a continued focus on sponsorship marketing, coordination with the City of Los Angeles and the finalization of the sports program, with LA28 becoming the biggest Olympic Games in history with the addition of five sports – baseball-softball, cricket, flag football, lacrosse and squash – for a total of 35 or 36, depending on the eventual fate of boxing (which will be up to the International Olympic Committee).

The LA28 organizing committee has remained fairly compact and quiet, working through the myriad contracts and processes necessary to meet its obligations to the City and make more detailed arrangements with the competition venues and support sites which will host the competitions, athletes, officials and media in 2028. It will be much more visible after the Paris 2024 Games are concluded.

U.S. Justice charges two more for Rodchenkov Act doping

An indictment filed by the U.S. Department of Justice concerning the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act of 2019, which allows prosecutors to chase down doping enablers and providers, has charged coaches Dewayne Barrett and O’Neil Wright with provide performance-enhancing drugs to three athletes. Per Monday’s announcement:

“The charges in this Indictment arise from an investigation of a scheme to provide Olympic athletes with PEDs, including drugs widely banned throughout competitive sports such as human growth hormone, clenbuterol, and the “blood building” drug erythropoietin, in advance of and for the purpose of corrupting the 2020 Olympic Games that convened in Tokyo in the summer of 2021.

“BARRETT and WRIGHT purported to coach athletes, including Olympic-level athletes competing on behalf of Nigeria (“Athlete-1”), Switzerland (“Athlete-2”), and the United Kingdom (“Athlete-3”), but instead, in order to obtain an unfair and unlawful advantage, BARRETT and WRIGHT provided those athletes with prohibited, performance-enhancing drugs that were obtained and administered without valid prescriptions.

“BARRETT was a track and field coach and personal trainer based in the New York City area who operated a fitness facility located in Manhattan. WRIGHT, a former Olympic-level sprinter, was a track and field coach based in Atlanta, Georgia. Neither BARRETT nor WRIGHT are doctors. CC-1, an individual who held himself out as a naturopathic doctor, but was not a licensed doctor, supplied banned drugs to athletes at BARRETT and WRIGHT’s behest.”

The reference to “CC-1″ is obviously to Eric Lira, previously charged in January 2022 for providing similar drugs to Nigerian sprinters Blessing Okagbare (banned for 11 years) and Divine Oduduru, who was banned for six years in October.

No identification has been made of the three athletes cited in the indictment, but Athlete-1 appears to be Okagbare; the others were apparently sprinters in the 100-200-400 m events, with Barrett and Wright obtaining drugs from Lira during the first half of 2021, in advance of the Tokyo Olympic Games. The Athletics Integrity Unit is now investigating the allegations as to doping by the athletes.

Lira pled guilty in May to violating the Rodchenkov Act, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison. He is yet to be sentenced.

Media chaos as satiric story leads to Paris 2024 “lockdown” talk

Oh boy. Satire is always dangerous if the reader doesn’t get the joke and that’s what happened last week with a story that appeared in the French weekly Le Canard enchaine – “The Chained Duck” – which is a satirical look at the news.

A 6 December story was headlined “JO: le prefet annonce l’enfer dans les transports” – or “Olympic Games: Prefect announces hell on the transports” in English – and added in a sub-head (in French), “In a letter to minister Clement Beaune, he ‘informs him of “worrying tensions.’” A cartoon showed a Metro train running into a banner that read (in French), “Closed due to chaos.”

The story jokingly asked whether this would be the start of an “Olympic lockdown”?

The “Prefect” mentioned in the story was the Prefect of Ile-de-France and Paris, Marc Guillaume. His letter came after Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo warned of transport issues because all of the planned infrastructure for the new rail lines will not be completed by the time of the Games and Prefect of Police Laurent Nunez proposed limited access – with residents needing QR codes – for some areas of Paris which are involved in the Games.

A post on X (ex-Twitter) by Le Canard enchaine proclaimed (computer translation):

“Disruption in the metro! The prefect of the Ile-de-France region denies the Minister of Transport who swore on November 23 that ‘we will be ready’ for #JO2024. The senior official wrote to him to announce an avalanche of ‘saturations’…

Instead of taking this as the intended joke, other French media picked up the story as serious. La Libre ran a story that started (computer translation):

“‘Olympic Containment’: in August, Parisians will be at a standstill to serve the Games.

“The Minister Delegate for Transport has made a promise: the 800,000 visitors to the Olympic Games will be able to get to the venues by public transport. But this promise will be kept at the expense of the mobility of the people of Ile-de-France.

“For a while now, we have known that traffic in Paris promises to be ‘hard-core,’ as Clement Beaune, Minister Delegate for Transport, had warned. But what will this consist of, exactly? The Minister was clearer last Thursday. He asks Ile-de-France residents to ‘organize differently.’ Concretely, he calls on residents of Paris and its region to do ‘more teleworking’ and to ‘take time off’ during the Games period. In other words, Ile-de-France residents are asked to stay at home or leave space so as not to congest the public transport network, then intended for the 800,000 spectators of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Once the mistake became obvious, the corrections came. The very serious national daily Le Monde had to offer a retraction on X:

“Correction: withdrawal of the expression ‘Olympic confinement,’ which we wrongly attributed to the prefect of the Île-de-France region.”

Naturally, the story had already spread like wildfire on French social sites, and Guillaume denied even mentioning a lockdown in his letter to Beaune.

The incident illustrates the enormous attention being paid to the Games in the host city, a lesson for all future organizers, and news media, to learn from. Wow.

Backstage: USOPC behind “Best Practices” symposium

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is the largest and richest National Olympic Committee in the Western Hemisphere and probably the largest anywhere. With that comes jealousy from others, but the USOPC has made some unique efforts to share information and strategies, especially with its Panam Sports neighbors.

Starting in 2012, the then-USOC created the Symposium for the Best Practices of the Americas as a sharing and relationship-building effort in Miami, Florida. That very first session was favorably described:

“[T]he real worth of the two-day symposium was the frank discussions and the candidness of the participating Olympic committee leaders.

“Canada, Brazil Argentina, Chile, USA, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Jamaica were all unrestricted in revealing their plans, structures and methodology. Topics on the agenda included governance, marketing, athlete and coach development and their high performance plans and systems. …

“The Americas best practices symposium signalled that the Americas Olympic movement is prepared to address the issues and obstacles. The willingness of the likes of Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and USA to be their brother and sister’s keeper is one small step in the right direction.”

Fast forward to 2023 and the fifth Symposium concluded on 10 December, again in Miami, with attendance not only from 40 National Olympic Committees, but also staff from the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity team, the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games organizing committee and Panam Sports. The cost of the program was shared by the USOPC, Olympic Solidarity and Panam Sports.

There were eight formal sessions over the two days:

● Planning: Future of Present Decisions
● Good Financial Governance
● Performance Innovation
● Demonstrations of Sport Analytics Tools and Resources
● Enhancing and Evidencing the Social Impact of NOCs
● Athlete Safeguarding and Mental Health
● Legacy of the Pan American Games
● Social Media and Digital Marketing

Delise O’Meally, the USOPC Vice President for International Relations explained:

“Our goal is to advance sporting excellence in our region by providing a forum for the NOCs to engage in high-level discussions regarding leadership, management and sport performance principles that are essential to the success of NOCs.”

Just as critical for some of the attendees will be new relationships with other NOC leaders, including USOPC President Gene Sykes and chief executive Sarah Hirshland, as well as O’Meally and others from the USOPC International Relations team.

The Panam Sports Awards, honoring the top athletes from the recent Pan American Games, was integrated into the program on Saturday evening, bringing athletes into the program as well.

Observed: Most people don’t have any idea that such a program takes place. But for the USOPC, it’s bad business to be disconnected from the rest of the world and especially from the other National Olympic Committees in the Americas, and the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity staff. These kinds of seminar events and the face-to-face discussions are good business, in both the short and long term.


● Alpine Skiing ● Switzerland’s reigning World Cup champ Marco Odermatt showed that he is going to be tough to dislodge this season as he completed a sweep of the two Giant Slalom races at Alta Badia (ITA) on Monday.

He was once again the leader after the first run in 1:14.39 and just as in the first race, had the second-fastest second run to finish in 2:28.14, a full 1.05 ahead of Austria’s Marco Schwarz, the 2021-23 Worlds Giant Slalom bronze winner (2:29.19).

Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec finished third. River Radamus was the top American, in 14th.

Odermatt has won all three Giant Slaloms this season and has bronze medals in a Downhill and a Super-G for five podiums in the seven races held so far. The victory was his 27th career World Cup gold.

Next up: a Friday Slalom at Madonna di Campiglio (ITA).

● Athletics ● The Athletics Integrity Unit continues to announce sanctions at a rapid pace, with three Kenyans hit with bans of 18 months to eight years:

Joyce Chepkemoi, 28, a 30:33 10 km road runner and 65:50 half-marathoner, was suspended for 18 months for the use of triamcinolone acetonide, a synthetic corticosteroid.

Rebecca Jepchirchir Korir, 31, a 2:28:14 marathoner was banned for two years for methylprednisolone, a corticosteroid.

James Mwangi Wangari, 29, a 27:23.04 10,000 m man from 2016, was hit for eight years for a second doping offense, this time for norandrosterone, a steroid. He had previously served a four-year doping ban from 2017-21.

Sitora Khamidova of Uzbekistan, 34, the 2023 Asian Half Marathon Championships runner-up, was provisionally suspended for steroid use.

World Athletics unveiled the first full list of Continental Tour events, with 190 events listed and 12 at the top-tier Gold level.

This includes two in the U.S.: the second Los Angeles Grand Prix on 18 May at UCLA’s Drake Stadium and the New York City Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium in New York on 9 June. Two U.S. meets have Silver-level status: the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa on 26-27 April and the NACAC New Life Invitational in Miramar, Florida on 25 May.

● Boxing ● The new, 27-member World Boxing federation announced a first tournament under its brand for 17-20 January in Sheffield (ENG) under the title “World Boxing Cup: GB Open Sheffield 2024.”

The event will be staged by England Boxing in association with World Boxing and GB Boxing and supported by the National Lottery, UK Sport and Sheffield City Council. It’s the first in a series of tournaments using the Olympic weight classes, with fighters accruing points towards a series final at the end of 2024.

● Swimming ● One of the showcase events of the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2024 will be the swimming trials at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana from 15-23 June, potentially creating the largest-ever audience for a swim meet with more than 30,000 seats available.

USA Swimming is offering a 20% discount on tickets purchased this week – through Saturday, 23 December – for each corresponding date in June. Thus, the discount will be available on Tuesday for June 19, on December 20 for June 20 and so on through the 23rd. The prior day discounts have already passed.

Taking swimming’s Olympic selection meet to an NFL football stadium is new; the swimming trials sold out at the CHI Health Center Omaha (as now named) in 2008-12-16-21, but had been previously held in Indianapolis in 1984-92-96-2000.

Tickets are offered for 2024 across six levels of the stadium, now from $216.42 for the 100 level to $45.64 on the 600 level.

The seats on sale in this promotion apply to both the morning qualifying and evening finals on each day.

Russian Evgeniia Chikunova, 19, the world-record-setter in the women’s 200 m Breaststroke (50 m pool) earlier this year, made quite the fashion statement at last weekend’s short-course (25 m) Vladimir Salnikov Cup, coming onto the deck for her race in a three-quarter-length fur coat and a giant fur hat! She told the Russian news agency TASS:

“The idea came right before the Salnikov Cup. When I was trying on different outfits at home, I saw a fur coat in my mother’s closet. That’s when I realized that something could be done about it. Only then we found something like a voluminous hat; I’m glad that we managed to assemble such an image,

“I even bought a wig, although I was almost unprepared; I didn’t comb it. But overall it was spectacular.”

This meet has a history of swimmers coming to the pool in unique costumes; Chikunova ditched the coat and hat and won her race in 2:16.89.

● Wrestling ● Olympic qualifying is serious business and American wrestlers are pointing for the Olympic Trials next April in State College, Pennsylvania. To get there, USA Wrestling offered the Senior National Championships over the weekend in Ft. Worth, Texas, with the top five finishers all qualifying for the Trials.

Competition was limited to the six Olympic weights in each discipline. The men’s Freestyle winners included four top seeds: Spencer Lee (57 kg), Quincy Monday (74 kg), Kollin Moore (97 kg) and Dom Bradley at 125 kg. At 65 kg, no. 3 seed Andrew Alirez, the 2023 NCAA champ, won his second Nationals crown (also in 2020). At 86 kg, 2019 Nationals winner Alex Dieringer defeated top-seeded and two-time Nationals winner Mark Hall.

Lee, Moore and Monday each won their second national titles.

The Greco-Roman winners also qualified for the Pan American Olympic qualifier in Acapulco (MEX) in February. Pan American Games gold medalists Ildar Hafizov (60 kg) and Kamal Bey (77 kg) and runner-up Cohlton Schultz (130 kg) were advanced to the finals in Ft. Worth, and all won decisively. Tokyo 2020 Olympian Alejandro Sancho won at 67 kg, Spencer Woods won by technical fall at 87 kg and Alan Vera defeated Joe Rau, 12-5, at 97 kg.

In the women’s Freestyle finals, Sage Mortimer overcame an early deficit to win over Samara Chavez, 12-10, at 50 kg, and Vayle-Rae Baker won her first U.S. title with a win over top seed Katie Gomez at 53 kg. The 2019 World 55 kg Champion, Jacarra Winchester, highlighted the women’s Freestyle finals, pinning Ashlynn Ortega in the higher-weight 62 kg championship match.

Second-seed Amanda Martinez won at 57 kg, defeating top-seed Alex Hedrick, 4-1. Two-time Worlds bronze winner Mallory Velte won the 68 kg title with a walkover in the final over the injured Cheyenne Bowman. At 76 kg, two-time Nationals winner Precious Wieser won a third with a pin against Marlynne Deede.

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