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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. How far did Ryan Crouser actually throw?
2. WADA chief worries about RUSADA independence
3. Finnish NOC head thinks Russians will not be in Paris
4. Swiss leave International Boxing Assn., join World Boxing
5. European Fencing re-arranges events for Russia & Belarus
The sensational world record throw of 23.56 m (77-3 3/4) by Ryan Crouser at last week’s L.A. Grand Prix was originally measured to be longer! Enjoy the play-by-play on how the final distance was arrived at, and a lesson that high tech is not always better than no tech. World Anti-Doping Agency head Witold Banka told the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations that there are still doubt about the independence from government of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. The head of the National Olympic Committee of Finland thinks the International Olympic Committee has been pro-Russian, but says he knows who Russia won’t be in Paris next year. The Russian NOC chief thinks differently. And how a Russian plan to remake international sport may start with checkers? The Swiss boxing federation left the International Boxing Association and will join the new World Boxing group, joining USA Boxing. The IBA isn’t happy. The International Fencing Federation commanded the European confederation to set up a special European Championships for individual events since Poland will not allow Russians or Belarusians into the country for this month’s European Games. But the team events are fine; there is an explanation.
● World Championships ● Football (Uruguay and South Korea advance at FIFA men’s U-20) = Taekwondo (Turkey sweeps both weights at Worlds on Thursday) ●
● Panorama: Anti-Doping (Smith new chair of USADA) = Athletics (3: Diamond League in Florence on Friday; Tamara Clark completes four-month ban due to IV infraction; Bolt looking for new role in the sport) = Cycling (UCI names two Russians as approved neutrals) = Football (Euro sports ministers worried about rights stalemate for Women’s World Cup) = Ice Hockey (Knight wins IIHF woman player of the year) = Shooting (Mein and Carroll win U.S. Trap nationals) = Tennis (U.S.’s Haggerty to be challenged by German von Armin for ITF chief) ●
How far did Ryan Crouser actually throw?
The outstanding highlight of the USATF L.A. Grand Prix meet at UCLA’s Drake Stadium last Saturday was the mammoth world shot put record of American star Ryan Crouser, who crushed his 2021 mark of 23.37 m (76-8 1/4) with a brilliant, fourth-round toss of 23.56 m (77-3 3/4).
Or was it?
On Monday, Track & Field News correspondent Brian Russell, who was helping with the NBC telecast of the meet, said that the report of Crouser’s throw on the television production line – in real time from the shot circle – was that “the laser measured 23.58, but the steel tape recorded 23.56.”
Super-statistician and Federation of American Statisticians of Track (FAST) Annual Index Editor Alan Mazursky was the one charting the shot for NBC and explained the situation:
“Yes, the steel tape measurement was 2 cm shorter than the laser measurement. I have no idea whether other situations have found differences like this, or whether in non-record competitions with medals decided by 2 cm or less there might have been a different outcome.
“I did not notice if the person marking the landing spot moved after the laser measurement, but do not think they did, as the officials were all moving quickly and shouting instructions to assure a re-measurement for record purposes. The officials made multiple measurements with the steel tape.”
So, the original measurement with the laser was 23.58 m (77-4 1/2), which did show up in some tweets. There are video clips out there of the officials taking those steel tape measurements. Russell added:
“I’m wondering how many other laser measurements have been incorrect and effected the outcome of a meet or championships? For example, the 2019 [World Championships], where [Joe] Kovacs threw 22.91 (75-2), and [Crouser] and Tom Walsh threw 22.90 (75-1 3/4).”
Mazursky, who deals with numbers all day in his work as a controller for a logistics company, agreed:
“I recall that the statistical theory behind the Big Gold Book metric conversion tables refers to the fractional randomness in how implements of measurement are placed in when it comes to landing areas, so when Kovacs beat Crouser and Walsh in Doha I think they all probably realized that there is a certain amount of luck that the Kovacs throw happened to be measured 1 cm further.”
In the stands, there were murmurs about why a steel tape measurement was required, instead of simply trusting the latest, infallible electronic device. Now we know.
Crouser’s series, the best in history, started with a monster 23.23 m (76-2 3/4, no. 3 ever) toss that bounced up and hit the retaining wall at the Drake Stadium north end shot circle, which was originally designed for training and not for competition. He continued to tattoo the wall, including on his historic fourth throw for the world record.
The newest whisper is whether that wall meets the World Athletics requirement of 25 m (82-0) for ratification purposes; it appears that it does, but it’s close. When the stadium was renovated to accommodate a soccer field in 1999, shot circles throwing onto the grass infield were installed at the northeast and southwest corners, but were not used for the L.A. Grand Prix. The southwest corner circle is just inside the finish line and would have been right in front of the stands, but the meet organizers may not have known about it, since it is not used by UCLA for its meets these days.
Maybe next year.
WADA chief worries about RUSADA independence
Among the six hours of the ASOIF General Assembly on Wednesday was a 14-minute address by Witold Banka (POL), the President of the World Anti-Doping Agency. He reviewed the progress of the anti-doping fight, and had some comments specifically about Russia and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency that included:
“RUSADA remains non-compliant. That is related to the 2020 decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, to declare RUSADA non-compliant and implement a number of consequences on Russian sport for a period of two years.
“RUSADA will remain non-compliant until it fulfills each of the reinstatement conditions, in full, as laid out by CAS, and until we’ve been able to verify that. We’ll continue to follow the agreed process; however, I must say that the confidence in the independence of the anti-doping system there remains very low.”
He added that the Operation LIMS project, which retrieved data from the infamous Moscow Laboratory from which the Russian state-sponsored doping program was run from 2011-15 has now results in 203 convictions, 73 more charges files and 182 cases that remain under investigation.
RUSADA Director General Viktoria Loginova brushed off the criticism and told the Russian news agency TASS:
“We react absolutely calmly to such statements, this is no longer news.
“All the functions of the anti-doping agency are carried out with strict observance of standards.
“As for RUSADA, we have taken unprecedented measures to ensure the independence of the agency: starting with amendments to the agency’s charter and ending with the introduction of the requirement for the approval of each new staff candidate with an independent ethics officer. This year, RUSADA has been transferred the authority to approve the all-Russian anti-doping rules.
“There are examples when in other countries current sports officials become the heads of the governing bodies of anti-doping organizations. But we do not criticize the activities of others or the sanctions imposed by foreign disciplinary bodies. We do not waste time on this, we make every effort to do our job well and fight doping at the highest level.”
Loginova has said that with the passage of legislation which integrates the World Anti-Doping Code with Russian law and payment of some WADA expense invoices, RUSADA will be in position to declared compliant once again.
Finnish NOC head thinks Russians will not be in Paris
While the debate within international federations drones on about whether, when and how Russian and Belarusian athletes will be or might be re-admitted to international competitions, a close observer of Russian sport thinks they will not compete in Paris next year.
“I am still optimistic that Russian and Belarusian athletes will be kept out of Paris,” said Finnish National Olympic Committee Chair Jan Vapaavuori on Tuesday. Speaking with the Ilta Sanomat, he added that the situation is still fluid and not at all clear:
“It is true that the international sports federations have the mandate to decide on the qualifications, but on the other hand, the IOC set such strict conditions in its recommendations that it has reduced the risk.
“The situation is unclear, it is open and there are varied practices in different sports. On the other hand, there are clear signs that Russia itself feels that the conditions are so strict that it itself does not want to participate.”
As for the International Olympic Committee’s role in all of this, Vapaavuori added:
“Perhaps in general I could state that the IOC as an organization and its office in Lausanne has been confusingly pro-Russia throughout the war. The fact that even such strict measures against Russia and Belarus have been achieved is partly a result of the fact that individual countries, national Olympic committees, sports federations and European ministers have created pressure so that a strict line has been achieved.”
In Russia, however, Russian Olympic Committee chief Stanislav Pozdnyakov said Thursday, he thinks a Russian team will be in Paris:
“The Olympic dream is the main motivating factor for all athletes.
“I am absolutely sure that the clouds will clear and justice will prevail. That all our athletes return to the arenas, including the Olympic arenas. Russian sport will exist and will achieve victories. And to fight for the highest places – as it was, as it is, as it will be.
“For us, the absolute priority is that we do not divide the participants of the Olympic Movement into friends and enemies. For us, everyone who supports Olympic values is a friend.”
However, sensitivity to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine continues to bubble up, even where Russian athletes are allowed in competition as neutrals. At the French Open in Paris, 11th-ranked Veronika Kudermetova was told to remove a sponsorship logo from the Russian Tatneft energy company.
The organizers explained, “Any commercial or other identification that violates governmental / TV regulations is prohibited. Tatneft is on this list and not allowed.”
Kudermetova said in early May that she would not have a Tatneft logo on her uniforms for Wimbledon, having been instructed that this would not be allowed.
Russian efforts to create new, parallel sports organizations based on the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), former Soviet republics and some central Asian countries are continuing, now dealing with the board game of checkers (known as draughts internationally).
A new “Association of Draughts Federation” is being formed, to include Russia, Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, India, Armenia and Brazil.
The Vice President of the Russian Draughts Federation, Yuri Chertok, told TASS:
“On June 10, an agreement will be signed in Ufa as part of the first international tournament of the SCO and BRICS countries.
“We are creating a common management body, our own website and a competition calendar. I wouldn’t call it an alternative to the World Draughts Federation, because we don’t pretend to host world championships yet. On the contrary, we are creating an association that, with a favorable development of events, could join an international federation.”
World sport changed by checkers?
Swiss leave International Boxing Assn., join World Boxing
“The SwissBoxing Association Council has decided to withdraw from the International Boxing Association (IBA) with immediate effect and to join the new World Boxing association.”
That’s from a 1 June announcement; the SwissBoxing notice also included (computer translation from the original German):
“This resolution has immediate effect, but is subject to subsequent approval by the delegates’ meeting. The reason for this is the announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the IBA – formerly AIBA – has been withdrawn from the hosting of the Olympic boxing competition for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, including qualifying competitions. The reason for this is massive allegations of corruption and breaches of ethics. From 2028, boxing, as one of the original sports of the Olympic movement, is to be completely removed from the program of the Olympic Games.”
The IBA, in reply, said it accepted the resignation with “deep regret,” but added:
“The grounds for the SwissBoxing decision that was communicated to the IBA are outdated and do not reflect or acknowledge any of the significant governance milestones achieved by the IBA. The IBA has improved significantly since 2020 when IBA President Umar Kremlev [RUS] was elected. Not acknowledging the obvious progress of the IBA in addition to the attempts to slander the organizations current state is simply not acceptable and the IBA reserves all it rights to protect its name.”
And the IBA wasted no time trashing the fledgling World Boxing organization:
“The Swiss organization, reportedly, left for the newly formed rogue boxing body to become their second member following the USA Boxing and to ensure their Olympic participation which to this day has not resulted in a single medal for the nation. With that said, new membership applications from USA and Switzerland are being carefully examined by IBA.
“‘The example set by former IBA member USA Boxing has left their athletes without an opportunity to compete and win titles and earn money to support their love of the sport and the cost of living required to follow their dreams. We now see SwissBoxing making the same mistake, and it is clear that these administrators do not think ahead and have blinders that prevent them from seeing the complete picture. IBA membership is a privilege, not a right, where the IBA and its National Federation’s are intent on building a prosperous future for the whole boxing family which requires a mutual commitment,’ IBA Secretary General and CEO George Yerolimpos stated.
“Mr Yerolimpos went on to say, ‘With two members, the rogue organization can now officially organize intimate international events while their administrators play political games rather than supporting their athletes’ needs, but rather chasing personal ambitions that will never lead any initiative to success or serve the greater good of our sport.’”
Many more defections from the IBA are expected, primarily from Europe, but also from Oceania. The IOC has indicated that a decision on boxing for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles will be made in October at the Session in Mumbai, India.
European Fencing re-arranges events for Russia & Belarus
The IOC’s insistence on the re-entry of Russian and Belarusian athletes as individual “neutral” athletes has moved the European Fencing Confederation to change its championship arrangements for 2023.
The EFC had designated the European Games competition in Poland to be its 2023 championships, but with the Poles prohibiting Russian or Belarusian entries of any kind at the event, the Federation Internationale de Escrime ordered its European confederation to remove the individual events.
So, the European Championships for individual events will be held in Plovdiv (BUL) from 16-17 June, while the team events will still be part of the European Games in Krakow from 25-30 June.
Because the IOC’s recommendations of 28 March 2023 continue to ban all Russian and Belarusian teams, so not having any Russian or Belarusians admitted into Poland makes no difference. But for individual events, the FIE voted to allow Russians and Belarusians to return as neutrals. And the 2023 European Championships offer qualifying points toward the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
So, according to the FIE:
“The European Fencing Confederation must organise a separated Individual European Championship 2023 in June, before the WCH in Milan. The points awarded in this competition will be valid for Olympic qualification.
“The FIE will provide financial support for the organisation of this additional competition.”
The European Fencing Confederation noted only:
“The EFC acknowledges with regret the fact that the FIE has taken these decisions, only published with today’s letter [31 May]. The EFC balanced the legal arguments and the clear discrimination of European fencers that would come from not being able to collect points from the European championship and agreed that there was no good solution and that it should allow European fencers to gain qualification points.
“Consequently, the EFC agreed to cooperate with the FIE on organising the event the FIE decided.”
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Football ● The quarterfinals of the FIFA men’s U-20 World Cup in Argentina are set, with the final two Round-of-16 games concluded on Thursday.
Uruguay (2-1) defeated Group F winner Gambia (2-0-1) by 1-0 on a 65th-minute goal from Anderson Duarte, and will meet the U.S. in its quarterfinal on Sunday (4th). South Korea had a 2-1 lead at half, added another goal early in the second half and held on for a 3-2 win over Ecuador. The Koreans will play Nigeria on Sunday.
Saturday’s quarterfinals include Israel and Brazil and Colombia vs. Italy.
Brazil filed a complaint with FIFA concerning racial abuse by local fans against defender Robert Renan after their 4-1 win over Tunisia in the Round of 16. In addition, according to Reuters:
“The player, who was sent off after 45 minutes, was then subjected to racism on social media. After the match, Renan shared on Instagram screenshots of racist messages he received.”
● Taekwondo ● At the 2023 World Taekwondo Championships in Baku (AZE), Turkey’s Nafia Kus finally got to the top of the podium.
The bronze medalist in the women’s +73 kg class in 2015 and at 73 kg in 2019, she won her first Worlds gold with a 0-0, 6-11, 7-4 victory over defending champ Svetlana Osipova (UZB). Britain’s Bianca Cook and Russian Kristina Adebaio won bronzes.
On a great day for Turkey, Hakan Recber won the men’s 63 kg class for his first Worlds medal. The 68 kg bronze medalist from Tokyo in 2021, he defeated Thai Banlung Tubtimdang, 7-0, 5-6 and 6-2.
Turkey now leads all nations with three golds; the tournament continues through Sunday.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● U.S. Anti-Doping Agency ● Dr. Tobie Smith, a former U.S. National Team swimmer and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Georgetown University and founder of Street Health DC, was announced as the new Chair of USADA, having taken office in November 2022.
New board members as of May 2023 include World 10,000 m silver medalist and NBC track & field commentator Kara Goucher is the new athlete representative board member, with Lee Dunn, a Director of policy at Google Cloud, and former Congressman and U.S. Ambassador to India Tim Roemer.
● Athletics ● The Wanda Diamond League resumes on Friday in Florence (ITA), with strong fields for the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea meet.
In the U.S., the meet will be shown on the Peacock subscription service from 2-4 p.m. Eastern time with a replay on Saturday on CNBC from 1-3 p.m. Eastern.
The men’s 100 m features the three medalists from the 2022 Worlds: Americans Fred Kerley, Marvin Bracy-Williams and Trayvon Bromell, plus Erriyon Knighton in the 200 m, Grant Holloway in the 110 m hurdles and a fabulous 5,000 m field. American Olympic champs Valarie Allman (discus) and Katie Moon (vault) will go, with Kenyan Faith Kipyegon always a threat to the world 1,500 m record.
The Athletics Integrity Unit published sanction notices against American sprinter Tamara Clark – sixth in the 2022 Worlds women’s 200 m – and Jamaican sprinter Rushelle Burton, the 2016 World Junior 100 m hurdles runner-up, four months each for using intravenous injections above the allowable limit.
The suspensions are over; both were banned for four months from 1 February to 30 May 2023.
A Reuters story on retired Jamaican sprint superhero Usain Bolt, 36, quoted the star as ready to help the sport:
“I spend my time doing a lot of family things, when it comes to track and field, not as much as I would want to, but I still try and stay in touch with what is going on.
“I’m still waiting on a position from (World Athletics), I’ve reached out to them and let them know I would love to make a bigger impact in sports, as long as they want me to. We’ve been in talks, but we’ll have to wait and see what comes around. …
“I think over time, it will be better. I think young athletes are coming up and I see a few personalities that are needed in sport; hopefully, in the upcoming years, it will change. Hopefully, I can play a part and help the sport to grow.”
1. Gleb Syritsa, 23, a road and track cyclist, who won a European Games 2019 Track gold in the Team Pursuit.
2. Aeksei Medvedev, 40, a mountain bike rider and twice national champion.
Three riders were on the non-allowed list, including Anastasiia Voinova, an Olympic Track medalist in the Team Sprint in Rio (silver) and Tokyo (bronze), and a four-time World Championships gold medalist from 2015-17.
The UCI said that it will add to these lists as applications come in for neutral status from Russian or Belarusian riders.
● Football ● The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is coming up on 20 July from Australia and New Zealand, with no television rights yet awarded in multiple European countries.
FIFA chief Gianni Infantino is demanding more money in rights fees from broadcasters, but without any luck so far. On Wednesday, the sports ministers for France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain released a statement urging the situation to be resolved quickly. The statement included:
“We, as Sports Ministers of European countries whose women’s national football teams have qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand, from the 20th of July to the 20th of August 2023, have acknowledged with concern that until now, no television rights have been attributed for the matches broadcasting in our countries.
“We are aware of the legitimate interests and budgetary constraints pressuring both assignees and independent broadcasters, who need a viable economic model for each of them. We also recognise the specific organisational constraints that are likely to affect the ‘market value’ of the European broadcasters’ rights (period and hours of broadcasting). …
“[W]e know that discussions are in progress and we are confident in FIFA and independent broadcasters’ capability to find a common path toward fair development of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
● Ice Hockey ● The International Ice Hockey Federation announced that American star forward Hilary Knight was named as the first IIHF Female Player of the Year. According to the statement:
“She received 40.9% of the total votes and was the clear and favored winner. Second in the voting was teammate Caroline Harvey, with 18.2%, followed by teen sensation Nela Lopusanova of Slovakia, with 13.6%. Fourth was Finnish captain Jenni Hiirikoski with 11.3%, followed by Sarah Filler (CAN, 9.1%), Emma Soderberg (SWE, 4.5%), and Marie-Philip Poulin (CAN, 2.3%).”
Knight, 33, scored eight goals for the victorious U.S. team at the 2023 World Championships and scored a hat trick in the final against Canada. She became the first women to score more than 100 career points at the IIHF Worlds and now has 101. She’s won nine career Worlds golds – equal-most ever – out of 13 appearances at the World Championships.
● Shooting ● Reigning World Champion Derrick Mein won the USA Shooting Trap national title at Hillsdale, Michigan last weekend, logging the top qualifying score and winning the final.
Mein shot 234/250 to lead Seth Inman (232) and Logan Lucas (229), and then won in the final with Lucas second and Inman third for final totals of 237 (Mein), 233 (Inman) and 231 (Lucas). Lima 2019 Pan Am Games runner-up Derek Haldeman and Beijing 2008 Double Trap gold medalist Glenn Eller finished 4-5 (231, 230).
Ashley Carroll, the 2019 World Champion, topped the women’s division, at 225 for the qualifying and with a third-place finish in the final, ended with 226 points. Rachel Tozier, the 2019 Pan Am Games silver winner was second overall and second in the final (223 points), with Ryann Phillips finishing third with 221. Alicia Gough, who won the final, ended up eighth at 216.
● Tennis ● The International Tennis Federation announced that incumbent President David Haggerty of the U.S. will be challenged by Germany’s Dietloff von Armin in elections in September.
Haggerty has been the ITF President since 2015 and will be running for a third term, against von Armin, the head of the German tennis federation and a long-time tournament director.
If von Armin should win, Haggerty would lose his position as an IOC member since his election was linked to his position with the ITF. That would leave the U.S. with only Anita DeFrantz, now the third-longest-serving member, elected individually in 1986.
For our updated, 651-event International Sports Calendar (no. 2) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!