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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. Boston ‘21 women’s champ Kipyokei latest user of favored cycling drug
2. French government sounds alarm on Paris ‘24 transport planning
3. Huntington University separates from two more in abuse scandal
4. California gives $9 million for new San Jose State track
5. India’s two-time Olympic medalist Kumar called with murder
An alarming report from the Athletics Integrity Unit announced a provisional suspension of 2021 Boston Marathon winner Diana Kipyogei of Kenya due to a positive test for triamcinolone acetonide, a corticosteroid which has suddenly shown up in a dozen cases, all from Kenya. The French Transport Minister told reporters that he is concerned about the lack of progress in public planning for the transport needs of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. A new committee has been set up to find solution, but the Paris regional transport director complained her agency needed more money. Huntington University, reeling from a lawsuit alleging sexual assault and doping by its distance coaches, released the two coaches who had been put on leave (with the third already dismissed). The school announced an outside review of its Title IX procedures and student safety program. The State of California gave $9 million for San Jose State to help start up a new track & field facility and a community center at the San Clara County Fairgrounds, a project expected to cost $25 million in all. The 1969 NCAA team champions, San Jose State eliminated its men’s program from 1988-2017 and demolished its track facility in 2019. India’s Sushil Kumar won two Olympic medals in wrestling in 2008 and 2012 and a world title at 66 kg, but is now charged with 17 others in the murder of a former junior wrestling champion. He and his fellow defendants have pled not guilty.
Plus world championships reports in track cycling, football, sailing, shooting and volleyball.
Boston ‘21 women’s champ Kipyokei
latest user of favored cycling drug
Kenyan Diana Kipyogei won the Covid-delayed 2021 Boston Marathon women’s division in October of that year, ahead of countrywoman (and 2017 winner) Edna Kiplagat, 2:24:45 to 2:25:09.
On Friday, the Athletics Integrity Unit provisionally suspended Kipyogei and fellow Kenyan women’s marathoner Betty Wilson Lempus for doping violations following investigations for “Adverse Analytical Findings (AAF) for metabolites of triamcinolone acetonide in samples they provided during in-competition tests last year.”
Kipyogei’s Boston Marathon sample came back positive for triamcinolone acetonide, a corticosteroid used for treat skin conditions. It’s used in the over-the-counter nasal spray Nasacort. She was also charged with “obstructing or delaying the AIU’s investigation through the provision of false information or documentation.”
If proved, Kipyogei would lose her Boston Marathon title, which was her third career marathon and second win, after the Istanbul Marathon in 2020, where she set her lifetime best of 2:22:06. She has been more active as a half-marathoner, with a best of 67:07 from 2018.
Lempus’ positive – also for f triamcinolone acetonide – came in September 2021, after winning the Harmonie Mutuelle Semi de Paris half marathon in a speedy 1:05:46, moving her to no. 12 on the world list for last year. She was initially cleared by the French anti-doping agency, but has now been charged with tampering via providing false information.
Glucocorticoids such as triamcinolone acetonide are banned in competition “because, when administered via prohibited routes, there is clear evidence of systemic effects which could potentially enhance performance and be harmful to health.” They can be used with a Therapeutic Use Exemption, which neither Kipyogei or Lempus had.
The AIU sounded the alarm on the widening use of triamcinolone acetonide among Kenyan athletes:
“The cases announced today are part of a recent trend in Kenyan athletics regarding triamcinolone acetonide, with ten Kenyan athletes testing positive for that prohibited substance between 2021 and 2022.
“Within the same time period in athletics globally, there have been just two positive triamcinolone acetonide AAFs [adverse findings] for athletes from all other countries.
“In the four years from 2017 to 2020, there were only three Kenyan AAFs for triamcinolone acetonide. Yesterday, the AIU announced that it had banned Mark Kangogo – the initial winner of the Sierre-Zinal 2022 mountain race in Switzerland – for three years for the presence of triamcinolone acetonide in his sample. In addition to the Kipyokei, Lempus and Kangogo cases, the AIU currently has four open investigations into AAFs for triamcinolone acetonide for Kenyan athletes; with two matters pending with [Anti-Doping Kenya].”
Matt Lawton, Chief Sports Correspondent for The Times (London) noted that this same drug has long been part of doping in cycling, including by disgraced American star Lance Armstrong during his win at the 1999 Tour de France and Britain’s David Millar, the two-time World Time Trial Championships silver medalist. Lawton’s follow-up tweet included:
“Triamcinolone the new go-to drug in distance running. Difference is, @aiu_athletics are taking the time to investigate if an athlete really has a [medical] need for it.”
French government sounds alarm on Paris ‘24 transport planning
The French Transport Minister Clement Beaune told reporters during the Paris 2024 Paralympic Day that the government has work to do on the mobility planning for the 2024 Olympic Games:
“We have to be honest, we are behind on our accessibility objectives for transport and stations in particular. …
“We’re not ahead at all, we have to work twice as hard. We have to speed up. The Olympic and Paralympic Games are an opportunity for the month of the Games to reinforce things and to show that we are also capable of having innovative solutions, because we cannot make everything accessible immediately.”
Beaune has formed a “Strategic Mobility Committee” to find solutions, and mentioned expanded taxi or shuttle services, but this is contrary to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s preference to remove vehicles from the streets, not add them.
During the following week, Beaune reiterated his concern as the new committee met, saying:
“If the Olympic Games took place today, I’m not sure that we would be at the level of international standards. The objective is therefore to identify areas for improvement in the logic of the athletes’ journey, from the airport to the Olympic sites, via the city centre.”
He was immediately challenged on costs by Valerie Pecresse, the President of Ile-de-France Mobilite (IDFM), the regional transport authority that actually runs services in the Paris region, who stated that the costs of added transport services for the 2024 Games is estimated at €150 million (about $150 million U.S. today):
“150 million euros is 3 additional euros for the Navigo [public transport] pass. You can imagine that we cannot ask Ile-de-France residents to pay 3 euros more, in order to finance the Olympic Games for tourists. You must not send me back, saying that I can do everything on my own. It’s not true, it’s not what the law provides.”
Beaune said he is all for cooperation, but later in the day added:
“I remain in a spirit of partnership and cooperation. But the organization of transport in Ile-de-France is the region and IDFM. Obviously, the state cannot ignore it. We can be a support and a help. And I’m open to all leads. But we must be clear. It is the region that must manage and organize a budget.”
Observed: For the Paris 2024 Olympic organizers, this is a headache that they could do without. At its best, an organizing committee can bring people together and try to work out solutions that benefit everyone, at least enough to get through the Games.
But with ticket revenue of the IDFM down significantly due to the pandemic and fuel costs, and the French government already providing a €2 billion loan to the transit authority, a bail-out is not the government’s preferred solution. And Pecresse does not want to see the price of a monthly, all-zones Navigo pass rise from the current €75.20 to perhaps €100 a month!
That could start another French Revolution.
The Paris 2024 organizers do not control the transit systems, but they need them to work to make the Games function, and the increased attention to the Paralympic Games puts new pressures for better accommodations for the physically challenged. And that will cost more money.
Huntington University separates from two more in abuse scandal
A Sunday statement from Huntington University (Huntington, Indiana) announced that Lauren Johnson and Curtis Hines, two coaches named – along with the already-dismissed Nick Johnson – in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed 30 September, “were placed on administrative leave on October 6, 2022, and will no longer be affiliated with the University’s women’s running program.”
The statement noted:
“[W]e were devastated and heartbroken when University leadership were made aware of the allegations included in a civil lawsuit filed on September 30, 2022, against three now formerly affiliated University employees, as well as against the University, and Board of Trustees. Following this discovery many have voiced concern, and we want you to know that we hear you. These allegations are not only disturbing, but also antithetical to everything we stand for.”
Former coach Nick Johnson is also being removed from the school’s Hall of Fame and the school has commissioned a full review of its Title IX programs:
“The University has now engaged an external review team to provide an independent review of the University’s Title IX and Sexual Misconduct policies and procedures and to provide recommendations regarding changes the University should consider implementing based on legal compliance and/or best practices. …
“The review will also examine the supportive measures used to protect all students, and to promote a culture of trust, integrity, and safety.”
The suit, filed by former Huntington star runners Emma Wilson and Hannah Stoffel, who alleged a “systematic doping program instituted by the Johnson Defendants during their coaching tenure at Huntington University,” and that the University “knew or should have known about the doping program” that the Johnsons were alleged to be involved at the Nike Oregon Project prior to their hirings at Huntington. Further allegations of sexual abuse were made against Nick Johnson, and a request for a jury trial was made.
California gives $9 million for new San Jose State track
A nine-acre track & field and community center at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds to be jointly operated with San Jose State University has gotten a $9 million grant from the State of California for 2023. But this is only the beginning, as the announcement noted:
“Much work still needs to be done to complete the project, which is expected to be completed in phases. The university will work to secure additional funding for the project, with a total estimated cost of $25 million, as well as set out to plan the physical elements of the site, which will include a nine-lane track and field facility (including lighting and utilities), a Legacy Center and community facilities.”
California Assembly Member Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) asked for $25 million for the project, but the award was whittled down to $9 million.
San Jose State’s track & field heritage is centered on the “Speed City” years of the 1960s, starring 1968 Mexico City Olympic winners Tommie Smith (200 m) and Lee Evans (400 m). The Spartans won the 1969 NCAA men’s title under famed coach Bud Winter, with wins from Olympic 200 m bronze winner John Carlos in the 100 and 220 yards and the 440-yard relay, second from Evans in the 440 yards, third in the 100 yards from Ronnie Ray Smith (who won a Mexico City relay gold) and fourth for discus star John Powell.
Smith and Carlos have been immortalized by their raised-fist salute during the victory ceremony for the men’s 200 m, and a “Victory Salute” statue stands at One Washington Square on the San Jose State campus. But the track & field facility they trained on was demolished in 2019 in favor of a parking structure on the campus.
San Jose State closed its men’s track & field program in 1988 in a “reallocation of university resources,” and reinstated it only in 2018. A new track was planned, but has not been built; that’s where the new grant comes in.
India’s two-time Olympic medalist Kumar charged with murder
Olympic athletes are justly lauded for the enormous effort, dedication and sacrifice to achieve their goals. For some, their post-sport careers go awry.
Indian wrestling star Sushil Kumar won a bronze medal in the men’s Freestyle 66 kg class at Beijing 2008 and a silver in London in 2012 in the same weight division. Kumar won the World Championships golds at 66 kg in 2010.
Last Wednesday, Kumar and 17 others were charged in the murder of former Indian junior wrestling champion Sagar Dhankar last May in New Delhi, in a property dispute
Kumar and the others were charged with varying counts of murder, attempted murder, rioting, criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery, wrongful restraint, robbery, robbery and attempting to cause death or grievous hurt and criminal intimidation. ESPN reported:
“The court said that the facts and circumstances in the present case clearly reflected that all the accused persons had conspired to cause abduction and assaulted the victims resulting in the death of Dhankar. The court noted that the main gate of the Chhatrasal Stadium had been locked, many of the accused persons possessed weapons, and the assault continued for around 30-40 minutes. According to the prosecution, after abducting Dhankar and his friends, Sushil and his associates brutally assaulted them.”
The 18 defendants were to have appeared in court on Saturday (15th), but were not produced in person for security reasons; the hearing took place in a lockup facility and all pled not guilty. The trial is slated to begin on 10 November.
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Cycling ● The 2022 UCI Track Cycling World Championships concluded on Sunday in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (FRA) with traditional powers Great Britain and the Netherlands leading the medal table with 10 each.
The men’s individual star was Dutch sprinter Harrie Lavreysen, winner of the Sprint – his fourth straight world title in the event – plus the Keirin, where he won his third straight title, and a Team Sprint silver. Teammate Jeffrey Hoogland was also busy, winning the 1 km Time Trial – his third, after wins in 2018 and 2021 – plus a second in the Keirin, and a silver in the Team Sprint as well. Yoeri Havik won the 40 km Points Race for the third Netherlands gold.
Britain was led by Ethan Hayter, who defended his 2021 title in the Omnium, was on the winning Team Pursuit squad and grabbed a silver in the Madison (with Oliver Wood).
Fresh off his world record in the Hour, Filippo Ganna led an Italian 1-2 in the Individual Pursuit, ahead of Jonathan Milan, and those two were also part of Italy’s runner-up squad in the Team Pursuit. Italy scored a second with road veteran Elia Viviani winning the Elimination Race for the second straight year. Ganna won the Pursuit in 3:59.636, a world record, replacing American Ashton Lambie (3:59.930 in 2021).
The home country’s only men’s win came from Donovan Grondin and Benjamin Thomas in the Madison.
The women’s events saw Germany with three wins, and France, Italy and Belgium each took two golds. Germany’s Lea Friedrich won her second straight world title in the Keirin and was on the Team Sprint gold-medalist team with Emma Hinze and Pauline Grabosch. Friedrich also a silver in the Sprint and Hinze won two more medals with a silver in the 500 m Time Trial and a bronze in the Sprint. Franziska Brausse won her third straight medal in the Individual Pursuit: bronze in 2020, silver in 2021 and now gold in 2022.
Mathilde Gros won the sprint for France and Taky Marie-Divine Kouame won the 500 m Time Trial. Belgium got wins from road star Lotte Kopecky in the Elimination Race and she and Shari Bossuyt teamed to win the Madison. Italy’s Marina Fidanza defended her 2021 world crown in the Scratch race and then added a second gold in the Team Pursuit.
Not to be left out of the discussion is American star Jennifer Valente. The Tokyo 2020 gold medalist in the Omnium, she won her first world title in the event in 2022, 118-109, over Maike van der Duin (NED). Valente also won bronzes in the Elimination Race (won by Kopecky) and Points Race, won by Britain’s Neah Evans. Still just 27, Valente now owns 14 career World Championships medals: five gold, four silver and five bronze.
● Football ● Group play continues in Bhubaneswar, India at the FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup, with the U.S. and Brazil playing to a 1-1 tie on Friday (14th) and both with 1-1 records with one game remaining for each.
The U.S. got the lead in the 33rd minute on a score from Nicollette Kiorpes, but Carol Cheves tied the game for Brazil just four minute later and that ended the scoring. The U.S. had 19 shots to 14 for Brazil, but a 7-2 edge on shots-on-goal. The U.S. plays Morocco on Monday and will advance to the finals with a win or a tie.
Germany, now 2-0 in Group B, and Japan – 2-0 in Group D – are the remaining undefeated, untied teams in the tournament.
● Sailing ● Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom dominated the 2022 ILC6 Laser Radial Women’s World Championship that concluded Sunday in Galveston Bay off Kemah, Texas.
Rindom, the Tokyo Olympic gold medalist in the Dinghy class (ILCA6), won two of the 12 races, finished second three times and third once on her way to a net of 47.0 points, far ahead of Swiss Maud Jayet (one win, 67.0) and defending champion Emma Plasschaert (BEL: one win, 69.0).
It’s Rindom’s second Laser Radial world title, also in 2015. Erika Reineke was the top American in 10th (97.0).
● Shooting ● Just as soon as the Shotgun World Championships ended, the ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Championships got underway, in Cairo (EGY).
American Alison Weisz, a Tokyo 2020 Olympian, won her first Worlds medal with a gold in the women’s 10 m Air Rifle, with a 16-14 victory in the final over China’s 16-year-old, Yuting Huang. China won the women’s Team event, 16-12, over the U.S. squad, which included Weisz, Sagen Maddalena and Olympic Mixed Team silver winner Mary Tucker.
The men’s 10 m Air Rifle gold was won by India’s Rudrankksh Patil, 17-13, over Italian Danilo Sollazzo. Patil got a second gold as part of the winning 10 m Air Rifle men’s Team entry, which defeated China, 16-10.
China won the men’s and women’s 10 m Air Pistol titles, with Kaiman Lu defeating Greece’s Tokyo silver medalist, Anna Korakaki, 16-10, in the final. The all-Chinese men’s final had Jinyao Liu as the winner, 17-15, over Yifan Zhang.
In the team events, China swept again, winning the women’s title, 16-8, over India, with the men defeating Iran, 16-10 in the final.
The events continue to the 27th.
● Volleyball ● Serbia defended its 2018 title with a 26-24, 25-22, 25-17 sweep of Brazil in the final of the FIVB Women’s World Championship in Apeldoorn (NED).
The Serbs ended 12-0 in the tournament and had a sensational 36-5 record in sets and swept nine of their 12 matches! Forward Tijana Boskovic was named Most Valuable Player and Best Opposite Hitter. Teammate Bojana Drca was named Best Setter and Teodora Pusic was selected as Best Libero.
Brazil’s Gabriela Guimaraes was the co-Best Outside Hitter with Italy’s Miriam Sylla and Ana Carolina da Silva was co-Best Middle Blocker with Italian Anna Danesi.
The Italians won the bronze medal match from the U.S. (the Tokyo Olympic champs) in a shutout, 25-20, 25-15 and 27-25. The American women ended with an 8-4 overall record.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● International Olympic Committee ● The IOC announced on Sunday that it has suspended the National Olympic Committee on Guatemala due to government interference with its operations.
The immediate impact is that IOC financial support to the Guatemalan NOC is frozen. Moreover, “the athletes of Guatemala can no longer represent the country and compete under the country’s flag/name at the Olympic Games and other international multi-sports events.”
The real-life impact of the previously-threatened suspension was the cancellation of the XII Central American Games, which were to have been held from 27 October-11 November in Costa Rica and Guatemala, and a qualifying event for the 2023 Pan American Games.
● South American Games ● The XII South American Games concluded in Asuncion (PAR) on Saturday, after 404 events were held in 34 sports. A total of 4,476 were reported to compete, from 15 nations.
The big winner on the field was Brazil, which won 319 medals (133-100-86), ahead of Colombia (255: 79-78-98) and Argentina (197: 58-65-74). Every country won at least one medal.
● World University Games ● You’re among the elite of multi-sport event followers if you’re aware of the 11-day FISU Americas Games now underway in Merida, Mexico.
About 1,000 athletes are contesting 11 sports: athletics, chess, basketball, judo, futsal, volleyball, table tennis, weightlifting, football, taekwondo, and archery. The 11 participating nations include Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Dominican Republic, United States, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Colombia, El Salvador, and Brazil.
This is the second edition; the first was in 2018 in Sao Paulo (BRA) with 13 countries competing.
● Archery ● The 2022 World Cup Final in Tlaxcala (MEX) saw Tokyo triple gold medalist San An add to her trophy case.
Still just 21, An won the women’s Recurve final in an all-Korean clash with 2015 World Cup Final champ Mi-sun Choi, 6-4, with Chinese Taipei’s Chia-Mao Peng taking the bronze. From 2020-22, An has won the Olympic individual title, World Championships golds in the Women’s Team and Mixed Team events and now the World Cup Final gold.
The men’s Recurve final had three-time World Champion Woo-jin Kim facing Spain’s Miguel Alvarino Garcia, the 2015 European Games gold medalist, with Kim winning by 7-1. It’s the Korean’s fourth World Cup final win after 2012-17-18. Turkey’s Olympic champ Mete Gazoz won the bronze.
● Athletics ● Ethiopian stars dominated Sunday’s Amsterdam Marathon, with 2016 Rio Olympic 10,000 m champion Almaz Ayana, 30, winning the women’s division in the fastest debut marathon ever, in 2:17:20, no. 4 on the world list for 2022.
Running with Ayana was countrywoman Genzebe Dibaba, the 1,500 m world-record holder at 3:50.07 from 2015, who ran with Ayana to 33 km, but then fell back and eventually finished second in her debut marathon in 2:18:05, no. 9 on the year list. Tsegaye Gemechu competed the Ethiopian sweep in third at 2:18:59.
Ayana’s run moves her no. 7 on the all-time list after her first marathon.
The men’s division was won by Ethiopia’s experienced Tsegaye Getachew, running his 10th career marathon and broke away from a pack of five after 40 km to win in a lifetime best of 2:04:49, equal ninth on the 2022 world list.
He led a parade of nine runners who finished under 2:06, with Titus Kipruto second (2:04:54), Bazezew Asmare (ETH) third in 2:04:57. Adeledelew Mamo (ETH) ran 2:05:45 and could get only ninth!
● Football ● The U.S. Women’s National Team lost games on the road to England (2-1) and Spain (2–0), but remained no. 1 in the new FIFA Women’s Rankings!
While the American women remained on top, Sweden jumped Germany for second, with England remaining fourth and France fifth. Spain’s win over the U.S. moved them from eighth to sixth.
For our updated, 620-event International Sports Calendar for 2022 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!