The Sports Examiner

TSX REPORT: Families, German and Israeli Presidents attend 50-year Munich murders memorial; U.S. swim star Dressel took a mental health time-out

From Monday's memorial to the 11 Israeli victims and German policeman killed during the Munich Massacre in 1972 (Photo: IOC/Greg Martin)

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1. Munich Massacre anniversary remembered with sorrow
2. Sapporo cancels meeting with IOC, perhaps in view of Tokyo scandals?
3. U.S. swim star Dressel took a mental-health break in 2022
4. U.S. men stomp Panama, 88-58, will resume vs. Venezuela Tuesday
5. IIHF to continue annual Worlds, even in Olympic years

The 50-year commemoration of the brutal murder of 11 Israeli Olympic delegation members and a German policeman took place on Monday in Germany, with an admission of “failure” by the German President, a call for continuing the fight on terror from Israel’s President and IOC President Thomas Bach calling it the “darkest day in Olympic history.” In a sideways turn for the Sapporo bid for the 2030 Winter Games, a scheduled meeting with the IOC was canceled, likely in response to the expanding Tokyo 2020 sponsor-selection and bribery investigation. American swimming star Caeleb Dressel, the five-time gold winner in Tokyo, explained in an Instagram post that he essentially took a mental-health break when he left the 2022 Worlds mid-way in June. At the FIBA AmeriCup championship in Brazil, the U.S. men’s team of G Leaguers and foreign-team players crushed Panama and will conclude the “rain-out” game against Venezuela today in order to move on to the playoffs. The International Ice Hockey Federation is looking to invest more in women’s hockey and is discussing a $9 million deal with China to host the next three IIHF Division I women’s championships, creating “the first time we generate marketing income in women’s hockey.”

Munich Massacre anniversary remembered with sorrow

In a ceremony attended by the families of the victims, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Israeli President Isaac Herzog and many more at Furstenfeldbruck, Germany, a somber ceremony marked the 50th anniversary of the murder of 11 members of the Israeli delegation at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972 by Palestinian terrorists.

“We wanted to be good hosts, but we were not able to live up to the trust that the Israeli sportsmen and their families placed in Germany,” said Steinmeier.

“The efforts of 1972 to showcase Germany as a peaceful, friendly democracy tragically failed in Munich. The Olympic Games because an international stage for the terrorists, an international stage for antisemitism and violence.”

He also noted:

“We cannot make up for what has happened, not even for what you have experienced and suffered in terms of defensiveness, ignorance and injustice. I am ashamed of that.

“As head of state of this country and in the name of the Federal Republic of Germany, I ask your forgiveness for the inadequate protection afforded to the Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games at Munich and the woeful investigation afterward. That it was possible for what happened to happen.”

Israel’s Herzog said, in part:

“For us, as a people and as a country, this massacre has always been a national disaster. It desecrated the unifying and cohesive sanctity of the Olympics, the ultimate symbol of sports, and smeared its flag with blood. The Olympic flag, with its five rings, would never again be what it was before. …

“The world must never forget what happened at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The world must never forget: the war on terror, everywhere and always, must be fought with unity, determination, and assertiveness. The future of human society depends on us sanctifying the good, and at the same time repudiating and vanquishing evil: anti-Semitism, hatred, terror.”

The 11 Israeli victims, initially killed or taken hostage at the Olympic Village building at 31 Conollystrasse, included weightlifters Yossef Romano, Ze’ev Friedman and David Berger, and judge Yakov Springer; wrestlers Mark Slavin, Eliezer Halfin, coach Moshe Weinberg and referee Yossef Gutfreund; fencing coach Andre Spitzer, shooting coach Kehat Shorr, and track & field coach Amitzur Shapira.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach (GER), who was 18 at the time of the Munich Games, said:

“5 September 1972 was the darkest day in Olympic history. What began so peacefully and joyfully ended in inconceivable suffering.

“We share the pain of the relatives of the 11 Israeli victims and the German policeman [Anton Fliegerbauer]. To this day, that barbaric attack fills us with horror, shame and disgust.

“And yet our condolences can hardly ease the pain of the families who lost their son,
brother, father, beloved spouse or love of their lives to this cowardly attack.”

A recent agreement between the families of the Israeli victims and the governments of Germany, Bavaria and Munich on added compensation ensured that the families and Herzog would attend.

Sapporo cancels meeting with IOC, perhaps in view of Tokyo scandals?

Sapporo’s bid for the 2030 Olympic Winter Games suffered a minor stumble with the withdrawal from a planned meeting in mid-September with the IOC in Lausanne in view of the expanding inquiry into allegations of bribery related to sponsor designations at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“It has nothing to do with the bribery case surrounding the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics,” according to Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto, and Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita said, “I and the IOC spoke over the weekend. The scheduling didn’t go well and we mutually proposed to cancel it this time.”

However, Kyodo News reported a source who commented, “The issue was the timing of it. Visiting them now would only draw criticism. There was no other option but to take that decision.” Other Japanese media carried similar reports.

Sapporo and Salt Lake City are the leading candidates for the 2030 Games, with Vancouver also working on a bid, but well behind the other two. The IOC has indicated it would like to narrow the field to a preferred candidate by the end of the year, but has no obligation to maintain that timeframe.

U.S. swim star Dressel took a mental-health break in 2022

Not much had been heard from five-time Tokyo gold medalist Caeleb Dressel of the U.S. following his withdrawal – “for medical reasons” – from the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest (HUN) last June. But a new post on Instagram gives some clarity:

“Hey friends I haven’t been on here at all but I wanted to share an update with what I’ve been up to. I haven’t swam since worlds and can honestly say I have been happy without swimming. I really miss it though.

“A few things I’ve done… I finally went on a honeymoon to Iceland, I bought a tractor, hiked another section of the Appalachian Trail, swam with some manatees.

“I know I can have swimming and happiness. I had them both at one point in my life and I’m working on it. If you need a break, take one.

“I’ll be back.”

Dressel, now 26, has been a busy and enormously successful swimmer, so maybe it was time for a break; consider what he has done, non-stop, over the past seven seasons:

2016: Two NCAA Championships wins for Florida (50-100-yard Free); five events at U.S. Olympic Trials; Olympic golds in 4×100 m Free and 4×100 m Medley; sixth in 100 m Free.

2017: Three NCAA Championships wins for Florida (50-100-yard Free, 100-yard Fly); seven golds at the FINA Worlds (50-100 m Free, 50 m Fly, four relays).

2018: Four NCAA Championships wins for Florida (50-100-yard Free, 100-yard Fly, relay); five medals at the Pan Pacific Championships (2-2-1); nine medals at the FINA World 25 m Championships (6-3-0).

2019: Six medals at the FINA World Championships (6-2-0) and swam for the Cali Condors of the International Swimming League.

2020: Swam for the Cali Condors in the ISL; other events shut down due to Covid-19.

2021: Won the 50-100 m Free and 50 m Fly at the U.S. Olympic Trials; Olympic golds in the 50-100 m Free and 100 m Fly, plus two relays (five in all).

2022: Won the 50-100 m Free and 50-100 m Fly at the U.S. International Team Trials; golds at the FINA World Championships in the 50 m Fly and 4×100 m Free, then withdrew from the 50-100 m Free and 100 m Fly.

Dressel has nothing to prove and could skip the 2023 Worlds in Fukuoka (JPN) and concentrate on Paris 2024. Only he knows for sure.

U.S. men stomp Panama, 88-58, will resume vs. Venezuela Tuesday

At the FIBA AmeriCup, the regional championship tournament being played in Brazil, the U.S. men demolished Panama, 88-58, on Monday to even their record at 1-1 and will finish group play by resuming their game vs. Venezuela on Tuesday.

The U.S. was leading Venezuela, 48-21, at halftime on Sunday when rain came into the interior of the Geraldao Arena in Recife and the game was halted. FINA announced later:

“The FIBA AmeriCup 2022 game between USA and Venezuela, which had the second half postponed because of technical difficulties in the arena on Sunday September 4, 2022, will resume on Tuesday September 6th at 15:10 local time.”

On Monday, Venezuela beat Mexico, 80-74, meaning the U.S. needed to beat Panama and then continue to a win vs. Venezuela to be assured of moving on as one of the top two teams in Group C.

No problem. The Americans raced out to a 29-12 lead after a quarter and 57-30 at the half, on their way to the 88-58 final. Panama got only 53 shots in the game vs. 66 for the U.S. and was out-rebounded by 38-25. Guard Norris Cole led the U.S. with 17 points on 6-9 from the field, with guard Craig Sword adding 11 and guard Jeremy Pargo scoring 10.

Mexico finished group play at 2-1, with Panama at 0-3. Venezuela is 2-0, but appears ready to lose to the U.S. when Saturday’s game is finished on Monday; the U.S. is now 1-1. Assuming no disaster in the remainder of Tuesday’s Venezuela game, the U.S. will advance to the quarters on the 8th (Thursday).

The U.S. team is made up of players from the G League and foreign leagues and is the defending champion in this tournament from 2017 (its seventh title). Originally to be played in 2021, the tournament was postponed a year on account of Covid-19 and the move of the Tokyo Olympic Games from 2020 to 2021.

IIHF to continue annual Worlds, even in Olympic years

The International Ice Hockey Federation pronounced itself pleased with the just-completed Women’s World Championship, held in Herning and Frederikshavn (DEN), where Canada edged the U.S., 2-1, in the final.

The federation voted in 2021 to hold the Women’s Worlds annually, even during Olympic years, starting in 2022. Said IIHF chief Luc Tardif (FRA):

“It’s the first time we organize it in an Olympic year, in August, which is not so easy. We had a busy summer and it’s not over as we have one more women’s tournament left to be played in Austria in September [Women’s U-18 Division I/Group B].”

Tardif emphasized that the federation is trying to further develop the women’s game. Asked about added prize money, he explained:

“We want to have prize money as soon as possible but at the moment times are difficult with the three years of the pandemic we went through. At the moment every tournament is funded by the income from the men’s World Championship.

“We want to have more income from the Women’s World Championship so we would be able to give prize money from the event. Give us time but we want to do it as soon as possible. We give prize money to the member national associations but it’s up to them how they use it but I’m confident that they do what is the right thing to do.”

On the question of marketing, Tardif noted an interesting development in the Women’s Division I Championships, one level below the Championship Division in which the U.S. and Canada compete:

“[W]e are in discussions with the Chinese Ice Hockey Association and Winter Sports Management Center of the General Administration of Sport of China for investments in the Division I. They want to get involved a bit more and asked us to host the tournament three years in a row [in Shenzhen].”

The Chinese offer was described to include $3 million a year, over three years, which would be invested into women’s hockey. China won the Division I Group B title in 2022 with a 5-0 record in the April tournament in Poland, and will be promoted to Division I Group A for 2023. Said Tardif:

“It would for the first time we generate marketing income in women’s hockey. We want to bring more sponsors because there is potential to do more. We want to drive the process of the professionalization of the top division. We will have discussions with the Women’s Committee to find out where is the best place and best time for this tournament but it won’t be August anymore.


● Sailing ● The annual 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships – all Olympic classes – concluded at St. Margarets Bay in Nova Scotia (CAN) with familiar faces on the podium.

Defending World Champions Bart Lamrbiex and Floris van de Werken (NED) were the convincing winners in the men’s 49er division, winning three races and netting 100.0 points. That was well ahead of Spain’s 2020 World silver medalist Diego Botin, now teamed with Florian Trittel Paul (132.0) and Croatia’s 2018 World Champions Sime and Miho Fantela (134.0).

In the women’s 49erFX class, Dutch star Odile van Aanholt won her second World title in a row, this time teaming with two-time (2018-19) Worlds gold medalist Annette Duetz. They won three races and were in the top three in 10 of the 16 races to finish with a net 113.0 points. A distant second were Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler (SWE: 134.0), with Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barcelo (ESP: 151.0). Americans Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea finished fifth (187.0).

The mixed-crew Nacra 17 saw the second Worlds gold for Italy’s Tokyo Olympic champs Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti – they won previously in 2018 – who won the first six races, then finished 20th, then won the next seven in a row, plus the medal race to finish with a net of just 46.0. Runner-ups Gianluigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei (ITA) scored a net of 115.0, finishing second for the second year in a row! They claimed the bronze over Finland’s Sinem Kurtbay and Akseli Keskinen (also 115.0, but seventh in the medal race).


● Athletics ● Foreign media are once again wagging their finger at the NCAA over its lack of doping controls, this time concerning athletes at North Carolina A&T.

Last week, the Athletics Integrity Unit provisionally suspended Nigerian sprinter Grace Nwokocha for use of the muscle-building drugs Ostarine and Ligandrol, which will likely cost Nigeria its women’s 4×100 m gold medal from the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Nwokocha is familiar to U.S. fans as a sprinter for North Carolina A&T, as she finished sixth in the NCAA Championships in June.

Back on 16 July, North Carolina A&T star Randolph Ross – the back-to-back NCAA champion and a 4×400 m relay gold medalist from Tokyo – was suspended during the World Championships in Eugene for missing a doping test (specified as “the allegation arises out of the athlete’s conduct during the course of an investigation into a potential whereabouts violation”).

Irish journalist Cathal Dennehy tweeted a familiar refrain:

“The doping cases coming out of North Carolina A&T, which were picked up by the AIU, show why proper drug testing is really needed in the NCAA.”

The North Carolina A&T coach for both athletes was Duane Ross, a star hurdler in his own right and the 1999 World Championships bronze medalist in the men’s 110 m hurdles. He was suspended for two years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in 2010 for attempted use, possession and trafficking of doping materials; all of his performances from 2001 forward – including making the 2004 Olympic Team – were nullified.

Ross was hired as the coach at Tennessee in May and Randolph, his son, will transfer and be a junior in 2023.

● Football ● Alcoholic beverages have limited distribution in Qatar, served only in hotel restaurants and in licensed bars, but the regulations are being relaxed – slightly – for the 2022 FIFA World Cup starting 20 November.

Multiple sources reported that Budweiser beers will be available for purchase at the stadiums from three hours prior to kickoff (when gates open) and for an hour after the end of the game. During games, only the non-alcoholic Budweiser Zero – AB InBev is FIFA’s beer sponsor – will be available.

In addition, Budweiser will be sold at the main FIFA Fan Festival in downtown Doha from 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily during the tournament.

Hospitality ticket holders will have access to a wider selection of alcoholic beverages, expected to include wines and spirits.

FIFA announced the launch of FIFA+ Collect, a program of “affordable, inclusive” digital collectibles, “from the greatest game moments to the most iconic FIFA World Cup™ and FIFA Women’s World Cup™ art and imagery.”

The project is set to launch later this month. The International Judo Federation is already marketing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on a dedicated site, apparently the first Olympic-sport federation in the marketplace. FIFA will soon join.

● Skateboarding ● SportBusiness reported that World Skate, the international federation responsible for skateboarding, announced the cancellation of the 2022 World Championships in Park and Street – the Olympic disciplines – in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) because of “the local organising committee’s organisational and financial inability to comply with the terms and conditions” of the hosting agreement.

The events were scheduled for 2-9 October for the Park World Championships and 9-16 October for the Street Worlds, both at the Praca Duo skate park in Rio. In response to the World Skate letter, the Brazilian Skate Confederation (CBSk) and event partner Skate Total Urbe (STU) replied jointly:

“CBSk and STU reinforce that all conditions negotiated and included in the memorandum were fulfilled by both Brazilian parties in order to build two major events in partnership with World Skate.

“However, World Skate presented some demands that were not in accordance with…what had already been agreed between the three parties. Thus, STU and World Skate did not reach a conceptual and commercial agreement.”

The all-discipline World Skate Games remain on target for 24 October to 13 November in Buenos Aires (ARG).

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