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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. IOC asks for NOCs to tone down sport minister resolution on Russia
2. Russian equestrian now Palestinian; athletics deputy “talking trash”
3. Olympic Movement gives $1.03 million for earthquake aid
4. World 400 m hurdles champ Alison dos Santos likely out for ‘23
5. How about a ranking of the Paris 2024 pictograms!
Following the meeting of sports ministers from 36 nations last Friday, the International Olympic Committee sent a message to the National Olympic Committees in those countries, asking for intercessions to have their ministers forego signing a final statement. IOC President Thomas Bach, speaking at the FIS Alpine World Championships, said Russian and Belarusian re-entry discussions are only about international events and not yet about Paris 2024. A two-time Russian Olympian in equestrian, Vladimir Tuganov, 61, wants to get to Paris and is changing his national affiliation to Palestine! Meanwhile, the husband of high jump star Mariya Lasitskene ripped the deputy head of the Russian Athletics Federation for saying everyone still in the country agrees with the war in Ukraine. The IOC and other continental groups joined to donate more than $1 million for relief efforts in Turkey and Syria after last week’s brutal earthquakes. Brazil’s men’s 400 m hurdles star Alison dos Santos tore his meniscus last week and could be out for the season; he will have surgery this week. The editor-in-chief of SwimSwam.com undertook a ranking of all of the Paris 2024 pictorgrams; see if you agree!
● Panorama: Olympic Games 1984 (Lynne Niemiec Haddow passes) = Commonwealth Games 2022 (Raging Bull finds home) = Athletics (Australia refuses Worlds Cross Country visas) = Canoeing (Fox wins Slalom Ranking race) = Curling (Shuster and Peterson win U.S. titles) = Football (Saudi to finance Egypt & Greece stadia for 2030?) = Wrestling (nine now dead in earthquakes) ●
IOC asks for NOCs to tone down sport minister resolution on Russia
Noted German investigative reporter Jens Weinreich obtained and published a message from the International Olympic Committee, asking National Olympic Committee officials to intercede with their governments to loosen the consensus of the sports ministers of 36 countries who met online last Friday (10th).
The message was from the IOC’s James Macleod (GBR), Director of Olympic Solidarity and NOC Relations and included:
“Following yesterdays meeting of Sports Ministers, we have been made aware of many erroneous comments made during the meeting and subsequently in the media which have misrepresented the outcomes of the meeting itself. We understand now that a final statement is being negotiated this weekend and we would strongly urge you to get in touch urgently with your Minister to ensure that they either choose not to sign the statement, or at the very least, make sure that the wording reflects the Olympic Movement position as much as possible.”
The entire list of attendees was attached, with the full list of countries now revealed:
● Czech Republic
● Great Britain
● New Zealand
● South Korea
● United States
The 36 included two Asian countries, two from North America, two from Oceania and 30 from Europe. The final statement had not been released as of Monday evening, European time.
IOC President Thomas Bach (GER) told reporters at the FIS Alpine World Championships on Sunday, “We are in discussion, but we are not talking about Paris yet. We are discussing the sports competitions to be played this year. The subject of Paris 2024 will come later.”
The blowback on the Russian issue has been constant, with high-profile columnist Sean Ingle of The Guardian (GBR) asking on Monday, “So Mr Bach, will nothing ever be enough to ban Russia from the Olympics?” and adds:
“[H]is lopsided focus is bizarre. Because while he seeks ways to allow Russian athletes to compete, he says nothing about what – if anything – it would take to ban them.” Ingle reported:
“Insiders suggest that the IOC will instead place multiple conditions on entry, including banning the Russian flag and anthem and requiring its athletes to wear all-white uniforms. More significantly, anyone with links to the Russian military is also likely to be barred – which could result in 75% of their team and officials being declared ineligible.”
He observes that such conditions might be enough to have Russia refuse to come to Paris at all, which would be another violation of the Olympic Charter. No way to win.
Bach was supported by five-time Olympic Biathlon gold medalist Martin Fourcade of France, now an IOC member from the IOC Athletes’ Commission. He told Norway’s NRK Television:
“As an athlete representative and as a sportsman, I believe we should consider allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to competition. That is the main message. I have been elected to the IOC to defend athletes. And I feel a little bit like I’m not defending those athletes. Of course they are Russian and Belarusian, but they are also performers. I think they should also be defended on that basis.”
But fellow biathlete, Russian Vladimir Drachev, a four-time World Championships gold medalist and two-time Olympic relay medal winner, told TASS that while he liked Fourcade’s comments, it’s all for show (DeepL.com translation):
“In my opinion, these are all empty words, they will not lead to anything. It is clear that our athletes are not going to be admitted anywhere, so all this talk is just to stir up the public. You have to understand that the IOC is not an independent organization, it’s all talk.”
Russian equestrian now Palestinian; athletics deputy
Russian responses to the current ban on international competitions and the prospect of missing out on Paris in 2024 show the depth of their concerns.
On Sunday, TASS reported that Vladimir Tuganov, 61, and a two-time Olympic in equestrian from 2004 and 2012, retired as Vice President of the Russian Equestrian Federation and:
“At the end of 2022, the master of sports of international class Vladimir Tuganov changed his Russian sports citizenship to Palestinian, the transition was carried out as part of all the formal procedures necessary for this. Following the established rules, Vladimir Petrovich filed official applications for the release of his from all official positions held in the national federation.”
Vladimir Beletsky, the head coach of the Russian equestrian team, told TASS:
“Vladimir Petrovich Tuganov has been striving all his life to compete in the biggest sports competitions, including the Olympics. His base, the horses are now outside of Russia [in Germany]. Tuganov has no opportunity to continue his sport in his home country because the importation of horses into the Russian Federation is prohibited because of sanctions. He is a very experienced athlete who has done a lot for his country, and he does not have time to wait quietly for the Russians to return to international competitions, every year is expensive. He has not many years left in his sports career, so he wants to compete now and try to qualify for his third Olympics.
“Tuganov’s decision to change his sporting nationality was very difficult, he waited until the last minute for the Russians to return to the international arena. As long as he has a chance to show good results, he should use it. But as soon as Russian athletes will be admitted, Vladimir will come back for sure. There is no need to doubt the lack of patriotism here.”
Tuganov is not the pioneer; previously two other Russians, Alexandra Maksakova and Yegor Shchibrik, joined the Palestinian team.
Tokyo Olympic women’s high jump champ, Russian Mariya Lasitskene – now 30 – has publicly fretted about being able to compete again at the international level as she ages. The World Champion in 2015-17-19 and no. 5 all-time at 2.06 m (6-9), her clock is ticking.
In view of the IOC’s statements about “anti-war” Russians perhaps being able to compete again, her husband, sportswriter and Eurosport commentator Vladas Lasitskas, bitterly criticized All-Russian Athletics Federation deputy director Irina Privalova, a four-time Olympic medal winner in the sprints and hurdles (1992-2000), for these comments to Reuters:
“Athletes and any Russian citizen who does not support the President [Vladimir Putin]’s decision should not represent the country. I think those who don’t support [the Ukraine operation] have already left. The ones who remain are those who support it.”
Tweeted Lasitskas (DeepL.com translation):
“I think that after these words, Privalova should leave all her posts in the [All-Russian Athletics Federation]. Or [RusAF head Peter] Ivanov should kick her out if she doesn’t.
“Irina Anatolyevna, answer only for yourself and don’t talk trash. You did not communicate with the athletes on this topic in order to have the right to say something.”
Olympic Movement gives $1.03 million for earthquake aid
The International Olympic Committee announced Friday that it was teaming with other sports organizations to provide financial aid to Turkey and Syria in the aftermath of the destructive earthquakes on 6 February, killing more than 35,000. The statement included:
“[T]he International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) will donate a total of USD one million to help the Olympic community in the areas affected by the natural disaster. The IOC and OCA will each give USD 250,000, EOC will give EUR 250,000, while the ORF will make available an additional amount of USD 260,000 for immediate emergency assistance to the local population and refugees in Türkiye.”
The total is about $1.028 million, with IOC President Bach adding:
“Our first-response emergency assistance in Türkiye will channelled through the Olympic Refuge Foundation and their partners on site. In Syria, we will work with international [non-governmental organizations] and UN agencies that are able to access the affected areas. We have learnt that the biggest need at the moment is for food, medicine and tents.”
The Olympic Refuge Foundation already has multiple programs running in Turkey; the statement noted, that “the ORF contribution, originally planned to support the programme, will now be used for humanitarian assistance, such as providing clothes, blankets, food and shelter.”
World 400 m hurdles champ Alison dos Santos likely out for ‘23
Brazilian 400 m hurdles star Alison Dos Santos, 22, suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee on 6 February and could be out for the season.
As originally reported by O Globo, his knee locked up during stretching drills during a practice session in Sao Paulo and will require surgery, likely this week. Depending on the severity of the tear, he could return in six weeks, but it could also be six months or more, and sideline him for the season.
Dos Santos was named the top Brazilian male athlete of 2022 by the Brazilian National Olympic Committee and was preparing to move his training base to Florida for the 2023 outdoor campaign. Now, that’s all on hold. He said in a video:
“Passing by today to give you some not so good news. This week, I ended up having an injury to my knee, but nothing is impossible to treat. Is it connected how life works? I want to thank everyone who is sending messages, good vibes, doing their best to comfort me a little. And the life that follows! Let’s focus, nothing changes, we have our goals. And we’re going to get through this together, right guys?”
Dos Santos was the Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist in 2021 and then dominated the 2022 season, going undefeated and winning the World Athletics Championships in Eugene in a sensational 46.29, the third-fastest time in history. He was targeting the world record of 45.94 by Norway’s Karsten Warholm in the Tokyo Olympic final this season.
How about a ranking of the Paris 2024 pictograms!
Well, it doesn’t have to be all serious, does it? SwimSwam.com’s editor-in-chief Braden Keith decided to rank all 61 Paris Olympic pictograms in order (Paris 2024 says there 62, but Keith is sure there are only 61), in order from best to worst!
He was looking for visual appeal, design, how well each represents the sport and so on, including both the Olympic and Paralympic designs. His top 10:
2. Wheelchair Fencing
6. Archery and Para Archery
8. Para Powerlifting
9. Wheelchair Rugby
And the worst?
58. Sitting Volleyball
59. Artistic Swimming
Keith’s short comments on each are fun; on Volleyball (no. 57), he observed: “I know what’s going on here, but only because I know. I don’t know if I hate this more-or-less than the sitting logo. But I do hate it.”
See if you agree or disagree!
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Olympic Games 1984: Los Angeles ● A key member of the Press Operations team for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, Lynne (Niemiec) Haddow has passed away from complications of ALS at age 69 in Hickory, North Carolina.
Niemiec came to the LAOOC in 1983 from the University of Texas Sports Information Department and immediately distinguished herself with her meticulous attention to detail and a keen grasp of the needs of not only American journalists, but also those from foreign countries. During the Games, she served as the Venue Press Chief for the heavily-covered volleyball competition at the Long Beach Arena.
Her thorough and complete approach made her a natural choice to be a co-Managing Editor of the massive, 1,552-page Official Report of the Games of the XXIIIrd Olympiad, completed in 1985.
She went on to an impactful career in cable television, with senior positions at Liberty Media in Texas, at Prime Network/HSE, the Fox regional sports networks, finally retiring in 2013 as the Vice President and General Manager of Fox’s international channels, with a particular focus on the Middle East and North Africa.
She is survived by her husband of 32 years, Mark Haddow, daughter Ryanne Haddow, daughter-in-law Emee Herbert and her father and mother-in-law.
● Commonwealth Games 2022: Birmingham ● The 32-foot-high mechanical bull that was a star of the Opening Ceremony and all during the 2022 Commonwealth Games, is getting a permanent home at the New Street transit station in Birmingham.
The “Raging Bull” was never planned for such stardom, but the 2.5-ton salute to the historic “Bull Ring” marketplace in Birmingham that dates from the Middle Ages, captured the public’s imagination and was a must-see during the Games and for weeks afterwards in Centenary Square.
● Athletics ● Australia’s well-known, tight entry system has kept out some Ethiopian and Kenyan entries for Saturday’s World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst.
The Ethiopian federation confirmed Friday that eighth junior athletes and six delegation members were refused visa to enter Australia, and Athletics Kenya said that four of its junior entrants and two officials were denied visas.
● Canoe/Kayak ● Many of the top Canoe Slalom racers are in Penrith, Australia for a series of ICF World Ranking Series races, with home favorite – and Tokyo Olympic champ – Jessica Fox winning last weekend’s Penrith Open C-1 title.
Fox and younger sister Noemie Fox finished 1-2 in the C-1 in 94.39 (0 penalty seconds) and 99.16 (2), with Marjorie Delassus (FRA: 101.18/0) third and American Evy Leibfarth fourth (103.58/2).
France’s Camille Priget, the 2020 European runner-up, won the K-1 in 90.70 (0), ahead of Noemie (91.78/0) and New Zealand’s Rio 2016 runner-up Luuka Jones (92.56/0), with Jessica fourth (93.24/2) and Leibfarth fifth (94.43/2).
The men’s victories went to Australia’s Brodie Crawford in the C-1 (91.19/0) and teammate Lucien Delfour in the K-1 (82.85/0) as the hosts won five of the six medals.
The Australian Open will be held at Penrith this week (17-19), also an ICF Ranking Series race.
● Curling ● The USA Curling National Championships concluded in Denver, Colorado, with PyeongChang 2018 Olympic gold medalist John Shuster claiming his eighth national title.
Shuster, with Chris Plys, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and Colin Hufman, finished 5-2 in round-robin play, behind Danny Casper’s rink (6-1), which included Luc Violette, Ben Richardson, and Chase Sinnett.
In the playoffs, Shuster’s rink defeated Casper, 8-5, in the semifinals, while Korey Dropkin dropped Scott Dunnam’s squad, 14-5. Casper won the play-in game with Dropkin, 8-5, to advance to the final. But Shuster went up, 3-0, by the third end and clinched the title with three points in the eighth for the 8-3 final.
Shuster won for the eighth time as skip, with four titles for Hamilton and Landsteiner and a third for Plys. Shuster will advance to the WCF men’s Worlds in April as the American entry.
Tabitha Peterson won the women’s national title – her third overall and second as skip – with an 8-5 win over Delaney Strouse in the final. Peterson won in 2020, but missed the Worlds, which was canceled due to the pandemic. This time, playing with Cory Thiesse, Becca Hamilton and younger sister Tara Peterson, they went 7-0 in the round-robin, then beat Strouse in an amazing 11-10 comeback win, scoring four points in the 10th end!
Strouse defeated Sarah Anderson’s squad in the play-in game to the championship, 9-4, but Peterson once again pulled out some late magic to break a 5-5 tie in the ninth end with three points for the 8-5 final. They will represent the U.S. in the WCF women’s Worlds in Sweden in late March.
● Football ● Reports last week in European media claimed that Saudi Arabia has offered to pay for the hosting of the 2030 FIFA World Cup, including construction of new stadia for co-bidders Egypt and Greece if … the Saudis would host 75% of the tournament matches.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be held in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. and the decision on 2030 is due in 2024.
There are multiple bids targeting 2030, including a very strong, multi-nation South American offer to play in five countries, celebrating the centennial of the event, first held in Uruguay in 2030. A European bid includes Portugal, Spain and Ukraine, and an African bid is in development, separate from Egypt’s tie-in with Greece and Saudi Arabia.
● Wrestling ● United World Wrestling posted a sad update to its prior message concerning the horrific earthquakes in Turkey and Syria last week, with now nine wrestlers confirmed to be killed in the event.
UWW reported that 21 wrestlers were saved quickly and as many as 20 more were pulled from the rubble of a wrestling club.
For our updated, 929-event International Sports Calendar for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!