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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. USA Track & Field confirms giant, 151-member Worlds team
2. Was sprinter Steiner’s Puma contract leaked, or not?
3. Paris 2024 audit says finances are manageable … for now
4. Vancouver 2030 bid climbs over 50% support in poll
5. Brisbane 2032 CEO search begins with 18-page brochure
An enormous team, loaded with talent was announced for the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene by USA Track & Field; the all-time medals record of 30 by the U.S. in 2017 could be in jeopardy. One star, sprinter Abby Steiner, was offended by a tweet “reporting” her sponsorship deal with Puma which was widely repeated, but has not been confirmed. The Paris 2024 organizers were reported to have received an encouraging, passing grade on budget stability from its independent audit committee. A public poll shows increased support for a Vancouver 2030 Winter Games bid, but barely over the 50% mark. Brisbane 2032 is looking for its chief executive; the job is explained in a gaudy, 18-page brochure! And here comes the 11th World Games in Birmingham, Alabama that kicks off Thursday night.
USA Track & Field confirms giant, 151-member Worlds team
A monster, 151-member American team for the 2022 World Athletics Championships was named by USA Track & Field on Tuesday, including the Lyles brothers in the sprints and relays.
The roster includes nine 2019 Worlds gold medalists Christian Coleman (men/100 m), Noah Lyles (men/200 m), Donavan Brazier (men/800 m), Grant Holloway (men/110 m hurdles), Christian Taylor (men/triple jump), Joe Kovacs (men/shot), Nia Ali (women/100 m hurdles), Dalilah Muhammad (women/400 m hurdles) and DeAnna Price (women/hammer). Doha winner Sam Kendricks (men/pole vault) has been battling injuries and was not listed.
Tokyo Olympic gold medalists on the team include Ryan Crouser (men/shot), Athing Mu (women/800 m), Sydney McLaughlin (women/400 m hurdles), Katie Nageotte (women/vault) and Valarie Allman (women/discus).
Sprint icon Allyson Felix qualified for the relay pool in the Mixed 4×400 m and will compete in her 10th World Championships.
Thanks to Diamond League seasonal championships in the men’s 400 m, women’s shot and women’s discus, plus the women’s Combined Events Challenge, the U.S. has four entries in 14 events for 2022. At present, U.S. athletes are world leaders in 16 of the 44 individual events to be contested.
Even some athletes who finished in the top three at the USATF Nationals, but did not have the requisite qualifying standard got in thanks to their standing in the World Athletics World Rankings. A few top-three finishers did not have the Worlds qualifying mark and were replaced with lower-placed athletes. Injuries also played a part; decathlon medal contender Garrett Scantling was not named, and Tokyo women’s marathon bronze medalist Molly Seidel is hurt and was replaced by American record holder Keira D’Amato.
Perhaps the happiest story from the announcement was the listing of Josephus Lyles – Noah’s young brother – in the men’s 4×100 m replay pool after his fifth-place finish in the 200 m in 19.93.
The U.S. set the all-time record with 30 total medals at the 2017 Worlds in London and with a formidable team, could challenge or surpass that total at the first Worlds ever held in the U.S., beginning 15 July.
Was sprinter Steiner’s Puma contract leaked, or not?
University of Kentucky sprint star Abby Steiner is one of 2022’s brightest stars, winning the NCAA 200 m title in a world-leading 21.80 and then taking the USA Track & Field championship in a then-world-leading 21.77. She’s heading to the World Championships as a medal favorite.
She announced that she was skipping her senior season and turning professional, leading to a 4 July tweet by Sacramento State coach Kenny McDaniel:
“Abby Steiner just signed a 2 million $ deal with Puma!!!
“Biggest contract signed by a female in track and field out of college. Congratulations #! Good for the sport.”
No other confirmation was forthcoming and some outlets reported it as fact and some as rumor. Steiner was not amused, writing on Twitter, in pertinent part:
“[P]eople trying to leak my deal and contract have been some of the most invasive and bothersome narratives I have seen. This information is between my sponsor and me. Any source outside of that is simply speculation. …
“It is common knowledge that contracts are not public. My income is not public record, nor should be reported as such. Any reporter should know this, and reporting otherwise is extremely harmful in a time period of life that is already stressful.
“Please keep in mind that athletes are human. We are worth more than being used in attempts to gain social media likes. A simple DM to me could have prevented false narratives in our track community. As reporters, former athletes, and coaches who should understand the pressures athletes face, I urge you to be mindful of this for the next athlete.”
Puma is no stranger to major-league athlete deals in track & field as the long-time sponsor of Jamaican icon Usain Bolt and current men’s vault world-record holder Mondo Duplantis, among others. But McDaniel’s statement is unconfirmed and he has not commented further.
Observed: True or not true, assertions such as McDaniel’s are commonplace in all areas of reporting and Steiner will not be the last to have such personal details stated publicly, regardless of her feelings in the matter. She’s a professional now, and in the public eye; this type of scrutiny comes with fame … and fortune, of whatever size.
Paris 2024 audit says finances are manageable … for now
The Paris 2024 organizers have sounded the alarm on the costs of the upcoming Olympic Games and have made clear their concerns and a need for all stakeholders to minimize costs wherever possible. But there are positive signs.
The French-language FrancsJeux.com site reports an internal Paris 2024 audit review shows a clear understanding that the costs of the event must be controlled. Expected to be presented to the Paris 2024 Board on 12 July, the report notes “a structured and effective system for managing and controlling its expenses” that “is based on competent personnel, robust tools and proven procedures.”
Suggestions for better control include isolating the areas which are specifically subject to inflationary pressures and inserting indexes into contracts which pin inflationary increases to known financial references. And, while the domestic sponsorship program remains targeted to bring in €1.1 billion (~$1.12 billion U.S.), it would not hurt to surpass this if possible. The fashion and wines and spirits group LVMH – Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Tiffany, Moet Hennessey and many more – is seen as a possible new top-tier partner.
The Paris 2024 annual report for 2021 showed that 60% of the revenues for the €3.979 billion (~$4.05 billion U.S.) organizing committee budget have been secured, including 65% of the €1.099 domestic sponsorship projection, with three years remaining (and not including the just-announced CarreFour sponsorship).
The budget contingency was raised slightly from €300 million to €315 million.
In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche, Paris 2024 head Tony Estanguet said that the Games security force would comprise 22,000 people in all, expected to be contracted by the end of 2022.
Vancouver 2030 bid climbs over 50% support in poll
GamesBids.com reported that an online survey in British Columbia showed that support for a Vancouver bid for the 2030 Winter Games has crawled over 50%, a significantly better result than last December.
Then, the poll found 45% against and 43% in favor; the new poll showed 54% in favor or strongly in favor of the bid, to be led by Four Host First Nations – Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Lil’wat – and the municipal governments of Vancouver and Whistler. The leadership of the First Nations made a significant difference in attitudes toward the bid.
The report noted that enthusiasm for the bid was similar to that of Sapporo (JPN), where polls have shown from 52% to 65% in favor of the bid. This is in stark contrast to the 87% approval for the Salt Lake City bid, with only 11% opposed.
The International Olympic Committee is expecting to narrow its focus to one potential host by the end of the year.
Brisbane 2032 CEO search begins with 18-page brochure
The Brisbane 2032 organizing committee is looking for a Chief Executive Officer, with the position and situation described in an illustrated, 18-page brief on what the job is and what the Board is looking for. The position profile includes:
“As Chief Executive Officer (CEO), you will have overall responsibility for the strategic direction and operations as well as accountability for the financial goals of Brisbane 2032.
“The CEO will be accountable to the President and the Board for delivery of the overall outcomes and results of Brisbane 2032. You will be responsible for the creation of the organisation and oversee the planning and implementation of a wide range of Olympic and Paralympic programs. The initial focus will be on strategic, financial, and business planning, stakeholder engagement, and the establishment of the organisation in consultation and collaboration with the President and Board.”
The Board President, former Dow Chemical chair Andrew Liveris, wrote of the position:
“I’m looking for someone visionary that understands how to turn innovative ideas into
a reality that will revolutionise the visitor and spectator experience for mega-sporting
events to come.
“I’m looking for someone with financial acumen who has demonstrated experience in
managing the fiduciary responsibilities of a multifaceted, multibillion-dollar business
operation, while respecting our contractual commitments for cost-neutral Organising
“I’m looking for the person that knows how to ensure Brisbane 2032 showcases our
region, state and nation to the world.
“All of which begs the question – Is this you?”
The 2032 Games project is expected to cost $4.5 billion U.S. The search is being coordinated by the Odgers Berndtson search firm, with applications due by 19 August.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Olympic Games 2028: Los Angeles ● The LA28 organizing committee committed to the City of Los Angeles to work cooperatively on business procurement, local hiring and sustainability and is actively reaching out to community organizations and stakeholders. A new report shows that LA28’s first round of discussions included 79 organizations, with recommendations from the City to expand the list by another 217 groups.
The groups cover a wide range of communities and interests, including, but not limited to Arts for LA, the Black Cooperative Investment Fund and Heal the Bay to the Byzantine Latino Quarter Pico Business Improvement District and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Selections for the working groups are slated to be completed by the end of the year.
● Mediterranean Games ● The 19th edition of the Mediterranean Games in Oran (ALG) concluded on Wednesday, with 24 of the 26 entered countries winning at least one medal. Italy led the parade with 159 medals (48-50-61) in the 234 events in 24 sports, followed by Turkey (108: 45-26-37) and France (81: 21-24-36).
● World Games 2022 ● Ready or not, the 11th World Games, comprising 30 sports with 3,600 athletes from 110 countries, is ready to launch in Birmingham, Alabama. The opening comes at Birmingham’s Protective Stadium on Thursday evening and continues through the 17th.
The U.S. will have the largest team at 373, with 160 from Japan and Ukraine will send a large delegation of 140. A bevy of sports angling for inclusion in the LA28 Olympic Games will be on display, including Archery (Compound), Flag Football, Flying Disc – which originated in the L.A. area – Lacrosse, Orienteering and many more. The opening program on Thursday will include performances musical guests Sara Evans, Nelly and (of course) Alabama.
The CBS Sports Network will show World Games highlights – in one-hour packages – each day beginning on Friday (8th), with added highlights program on Paramount+ Premium.
● Cycling ● Stage 5 of the 2022 Tour de France was only decided at the line with Simon Clarke (AUS) throwing his bike across the finish to edge Taco van der Hoorn (NED), Edvald Boasson Hagen (DEN: +0:02) and American Neilson Powless (+0:04) in 3:13:35 for the flat (but partially cobbled), 157 km route from Lille to Wallers-Arenberg. The overall leaderboard tightened up considerably with Wout van Aert (BEL) remaining in the yellow jersey by 13 seconds over Powless, but now with 11 riders within a minute of the leader.
The Tour made a modest impression on U.S. television viewers last week, with Stage 1 drawing 224,000 on USA Network Friday morning, 345,000 on Saturday morning (Stage 2) and 347,000 on Sunday (Stage 3). A highlights program on Saturday on NBC did best, with 541,000 watching.
The Giro Donne in Italy completed Stage 5 (of 9) with Dutch star Marianne Vos winning for the second time and for the 32nd time in her career in this race. She won a final sprint from Lotte Kopecky (BEL), Silvia Persico (ITA) and American Kristin Faulkner in 2:58:30 for the 114.7 km ride from Sarnico to Bergamo. Two-time winner Annemiek van Vleuten maintained a 25-second lead over Mavi Garcia (ESP) on the overall leaderboard.
● Football ● While the European Super League of the top clubs from England, Spain and Italy famously imploded in 2021, the concept is alive and well in Africa, where the African Super League will commence in August 2023 with the continent’s top 24 teams – per their FIFA rankings – and a prize purse of $100 million.
In contrast to the purely private European venture, the African version has the backing of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and will exist alongside the ongoing African Champions League program which will be open to all club teams on the continent.
● Tennis ● The Women’s Tennis Association levied fines of just over $1 million against the British Lawn Tennis Association and All England Lawn Tennis Association – organizers of Wimbledon – for refusing to allow Russian and Belarusian players in the 2022 tournament.
The fines of £620,000 (~$753,000 U.S.) against the LTA and £207,000 (~$250,000) against the AELTA are being appealed. Said AELTC chief executive Sally Bolton, “We stand by the decision we made, we are deeply disappointed at the reactions of the tours to that decision,” noting that the tournament had little choice in view of the British government’s insistence on the bans. The WTA and the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals removed the tournament’s ranking points for 2022, but the tournaments are progressing anyway.
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