TSX REPORT: IOC formulating young-athlete guidelines, big LA28 venue reveal coming, can Ghana save the Commonwealth Games?

LA28 Senior Director of Sports Nicco Campriani at the ASOIF General Assembly, explaining the sports schedule timeline (ASOIF video screenshot)

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1. ASOIF: IOC to introduce “youth athlete” guidelines
2. Paris readies 500,000 new tickets, LA28 to announce venues
3. ASOIF: Four new members, IBA excluded per statute
4. Ghana a possible 2026 Commonwealth Games host
5. Naeher saves U.S., beats Canada in SheBelieves Cup final

● At the General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), International Olympic Committee Sports Director Kit McConnell explained that the IOC is undertaking a framework on support for under-18 (minor) athletes, with a “consensus statement” coming in May and a more detailed guideline in 2025. The ASOIF also elected a new president, the FEI chief Ingmar De Vos.

● Also at ASOIF, a report from Paris 2024 said a new sale of 500,000 tickets will start on 17 April, the last large offering of tickets for the Games. An LA28 report indicated that announcements on venue locations will come later this year. Athlete quotas per sport for 2028 will likely be very close to or the same as for 2024, bad news for those sports which got cuts for Paris.

● The ASOIF General Assembly adopted new rules on how federations which are admitted for a single Olympic Games can become part of the organization for the purpose of receiving a share of the IOC television revenue for that Games. Also, the International Boxing Association was dismissed from ASOIF as it is no longer recognized by the IOC.

● Ghana has emerged as a possible host for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with the national sports minister saying that the success of March’s African Games shows they can handle the event. The Commonwealth Games have never been held in Africa.

● The U.S. women won a thriller from Canada on penalty kicks (5-4) after a 2-2 tie during regulation time in the final of the SheBelieves Cup in Columbus, Ohio. American keeper Alyssa Naeher starred in the shoot-out, making three saves and scoring once herself!

World Championships: Ice Hockey (quarters set in Women’s World Champs) ●

Panorama: Paris 2024 (2: NBCU sees record ad sales for Paris; all holidays for Paris police canceled for Games period) = Athletics (China to fund $36 million in repairs to Robinson National Stadium in The Bahamas) = Football (2: FIFA settles Relevent Sports lawsuit, opening the door for national leagues matches to be held in a foreign country; Greece bans paper tickets, will require digital tickets for security) = Modern Pentathlon (UIPM approves 13 “neutrals” for World Cup entries, but won’t name them!) = Sport Climbing (Garnbret wins World Cup Boulder opener) = Swimming (796 qualified so far for U.S. Trials) = Taekwondo (World Taekwondo study shows 60% of elite-level athletes in mental-health distress) = Weightlifting (Dajomes returns from injury to win at IWF World Cup) ●

ASOIF: IOC to introduce “youth athlete” guidelines

The appearance of very young athletes at the Olympic Games, notably 12-year-old Skateboarding Park silver medalist Kokona Hiraki of Japan and bronze winner Sky Brown of Great Britain and 13-year-olds Momiji Nishiya (JPN: gold) and Rayssa Leal (BRA: silver) in Street at Tokyo 2021, raised the issue of minors and their special needs.

The International Olympic Committee is now in the process of creating a framework on this issue, with IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell (NZL) explaining the concept and the timeline during Tuesday’s General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF):

2024: Jan.-Feb.: Elite athlete survey
2024: Mar.-May: Federation, country consultations
2024: Mar.-May: Athlete consultations in 7 nations
2024: May: Consensus Statement on Elite Youth Athletes
2024: Oct.-Dec.: Stakeholder review
2025: (date tbd): Launch of the IOC Framework

McConnell also shared statistical data on under-18 athletes at recent Games, which has actually gone down considerably.

● 230 at London 2012 (2.15% of the athlete total)
● 190 at Rio 2016 (1.67%)
● 158 at Tokyo 2020 (1.39%)

He also noted that just 11 athletes in Tokyo were from 12-14 years old, 23 were 15, 43 were 16 and 81 were 17. By contrast, there were 180 athletes over 40 in Tokyo against 158 under 18.

As for the federations, McConnell explained that 29 of the 48 sports disciplines for Paris have minimum age limits and 19 do not.

The forthcoming “Consensus Statement” in May continues a series of IOC initiatives on international sport questions, and while not providing definitive rules – the IOC wants to leave the federations to work out what is best for them – makes its view known.

There was considerable activity at the ASOIF General Assembly, with the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) President Ingmar De Vos (BEL) elected by 29-0 as the next President of the organization. He was the only candidate and will take over on 1 January 2025.

There was no announcement about future distribution amounts or tiers of the IOC’s Olympic television rights money to the federations, with current President Francesco Ricci Bitti (ITA) explaining that the IOC has been well informed about the expectation of the federations that more money will be distributed for Paris 2024 than for Rio and Tokyo (both $540 million).

However, Ricci Bitti told the delegates that new, internal discussions were needed on the criteria for distribution, as the classification into five tiers – agreed in 2013 – needs to be updated, taking into account the rise of social media The IOC provides significant data on Olympic television viewing, but Ricci Bitti indicated that ASOIF has additional data which can be taken into account when determining who gets how much.

Paris readies 500,000 new tickets, LA28 to announce venues

A big chunk of the ASOIF meeting was reports from future organizing committees, starting with the Paris 2024 team, led by President Tony Estanguet. The popularity of the Games was highlighted, with 7.9 million Olympic tickets sold so far, with 37% sold outside of France, and the U.S. and Great Britain the leading out-of-country buyers.

A major new sale is coming on 17 April, with 500,000-plus tickets to be made available, covering all sports and most sessions. These are tickets which had been held for contingencies and possible camera positions, but can now be sold.

With just more than 100 days to go, it was noted that the Paris organizers will still bring on some 2,500 paid staff for the Games. In the Sports Department alone, staffing between now and 26 July will rise from 326 to 514, and 10,932 volunteers will be assigned to the department.

LA28 Senior Director of Sports Nicco Campriani – the three-time Olympic gold medalist in Shooting from Italy – led the report from the 2028 organizing committee, accompanied by Senior Advisor for Sport Planning Katy Dunnet (CAN), representing the five-person LA28 Sports Department, addressed the assembly:

“We continue to be quite lean, not only as a Sports Department, but as an organizing committee. Just for your information, we’re approximately 180 in terms of head count. We are searching for our new CEO and we hope to make an announcement of the appointment before Paris.”

He indicated that staffing would rise quickly after Paris, and expressed appreciation for the arduous process of agreeing with the federations on the disciplines for 2028, confirmed by the IOC last year:

“We learned a lot in terms of cost and complexity within the Olympic context, as well as looking at optimization. And so, in the end, I think we were very creative in finding new venues shares, new field-of-play shares and we are here today, not having to cut disciplines, but looking at a more efficient way to deliver the Games, is thanks to our collaboration.”

He also thanked the federations for keeping quiet about the venue plans:

“I think we have engaged with each one of you and we have asked each one of you not to share your location, in particular if your location has changed since the time of the bid with anybody, because we are getting ready for a number of announcements throughout 2024. …

“We also have a number of venue changes; they’re exciting ones and we do stress the confidentiality, so we can all make a big splash when it comes to that announcement, all together. The reason is that we didn’t have venues for skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing in 2017 at the time of the bid. Of course, we have the new sports. …

“The announcements are coming, but the concept of the sport parks has not changed.”

LA28 has not announced venues for the five new sports, but changes are already known for flatwater canoeing and rowing, from Lake Perris in Riverside County, to the Long Beach Marine Stadium, and basketball from the Crypto.com Arena to the new Intuit Dome in Inglewood.

LA28 Chair Casey Wasserman said in March that UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion will not be used for competitions, so judo and wrestling will go elsewhere – possibly to the Los Angeles Convention Center and/or Crypto.com Arena, and there are questions about sites for equestrian and modern pentathlon, both originally located at the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area.

The most tantalizing rumors are for the canoe slalom to be held at the world-class Riverpark OKC in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and hushed whispers about relocating swimming from the proposed Dedeaux Field at the University of Southern California – in a temporary pool – to the 70,240-seat SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, the site of the opening ceremony.

(To do that, the scheduling for the Games from 1972 on, with swimming during the first week, would have to be shifted at least somewhat, to bring the temporary pools in. Wouldn’t that be something!)

Of high interest to the federations was the determination of the final event program for 2028. Federations submitted their wish lists in March, with post-Paris evaluation data to be collated by November of this year. Discussions – negotiations – will take place in December and January of 2025, with a proposal for approval by the IOC’s Olympic Program Commission and then the IOC Executive Board during the first quarter of 2025.

Once the events are formalized, the sports schedule by session – already under development – is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2025.

With 35 sports already in the 2028 Games – the most ever – the number of athletes reserved for each sport is under extreme pressure. The IOC’s McConnell reminded the federations of the event framework adopted last November, including:

● “Avoid any increase to the respective sport specific quota allocation compared to the Paris 2024 Programme.”

● “Demonstrate a positive and sustainable impact on the Games and host, focusing on ensuring compelling and high-value sessions while reducing cost and complexity of operations, e.g., number of competition and training days.”

● “Use only existing venues and fields of play with no major adaptations, as per the discipline definition abovementioned unless otherwise agreed with the IOC and LA28.”

The agreed-on athlete quota of 10,500 for the 2024 Games in Paris is expected to be pushed to 11,242 for LA28 with the five added sports; for now, the cuts made to sports for 2024 will be maintained to 2028.

ASOIF: Four new members, IBA excluded per statute

The ASOIF General Assembly welcomed in four new members, based on the new sports being added for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games, for cricket, flag football, lacrosse and squash. The votes were overwhelming, but not unanimous:

● International Cricket Council: 26 yes, 1 against, 1 abstained
● Int’l Federation of American Football: 26-2-0
● World Lacrosse: 25-1-2
● World Squash: 28-0-1

ASOIF also approved a rules change, necessitated by the now-common movement of sports on and off of the Olympic program. International Federations may now apply to be members – and therefore receive a distribution of International Olympic Committee television rights fee money – once their sport has been approved for inclusion in a specific Olympic Games. But:

“Associate Membership will only become effective for the Olympiad (meaning beginning on 1 January and ending on 31 December of the fourth year) relating to their inclusion.”

In this way, the IOC payout to a sport on the Olympic program for a single Games will receive money only related to that Games.

“The least we can say is that this process is not very stable,” said ASOIF chief Ricci Bitti at the post-General Assembly news conference.

“Originally, for the Tokyo Games, additional sports were intended to help the organizing country enrich the program with disciplines popular among its public. The Japanese did this. Paris 2024 also more or less respected this principle. But for Los Angeles, the process was totally distorted.

With the Americans’ choice [of five added sports], we will have 35 or 36 sports. We had 26 at the London Games in 2012.”

This impacts, of course, the amounts that all of the federations receive and although the choice of sports is up to the IOC and the organizing committees, Ricci Bitti noted, “But then we suffer the consequences.”

ASOIF also voted, by 28-0-1, to exclude the International Boxing Association, which was de-recognized by the IOC at the 2023 IOC Session in India. The ASOIF rules require that member federations are in “good standing” with the IOC and IBA is not.

So the vote was taken, with Ricci Bitti saying, “It is very regretful, but we have to do it this way.”

The IBA posted a statement that included:

“While this outcome is profoundly disappointing, we wish to stress our unwavering commitment to the sport of boxing and our remarkable athletes and coaches across the globe as the IBA starts its recognition journey.”

Ghana a possible 2026 Commonwealth Games host

In an interview with Ghana’s GHONE TV, Mustapha Ussif, Ghana’s Youth and Sports Minister, said that the success of the recent African Games in Accra shows that the country could be the host for the 2026 Commonwealth Games:

“We have the existing facilities to host the Commonwealth Games, plus it won’t cost us much to host the games as compared to how much it cost us to host the African games if we decide to”.

“The Commonwealth Games secretariat even gives the host nation money unlike the African Games where the host solely funds every expenditure for the games, so Ghana can host it if we decide to do it.”

And the Commonwealth Games Federation – which announced this week that it would have a 2026 host by next month after losing the Australian state of Victoria as 2026 host in 2023 – has already been in Ghana to discuss it. Said Ussif:

“In fact, [Chris Jenkins/WAL] the President of the Commonwealth Games was in Ghana recently, and we held several meetings with him. He visited our facilities for the African Games and was impressed. They want an African nation to host the Games.”

The 22 prior Commonwealth Games have never been held in Africa, but seven times in England-Scotland-Wales, five times in Australia, four times in Canada, three times in New Zealand, and once in Jamaica, Malaysia and India.

The African Games in Accra were plagued by delays, but came off reasonably well. Held from 8-23 March, the program include 2,644 athletes from 53 nations, contesting 335 in 22 sports and seven more demonstration sports.

By contrast, the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (ENG) had 5,054 athletes from 72 Commonwealth federations, competing in 280 events in 20 sports.

The Commonwealth Games Federation is offering a subsidy of £100 million (about $127 million U.S.), from the abandonment fee paid by the Australian state of Victoria when it gave up on the Games last year.

Naeher saves U.S., beats Canada in SheBelieves Cup final

A tightly-contested contest ended in penalty kicks at the SheBelieves Cup final in Columbus, Ohio, with U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher once again the star at the end of the night, saving three penalties and scoring one herself, for a 5-4 final after a 2-2 tie.

Both sides were ready to go from the kickoff and the game was played at a hot pace for the first 20 minutes, but neither side could score. U.S. striker Jaedyn Shaw had a big chance in the 29th, taking control of the ball in the box and sending a point-blank shot at Canadian keeper Kailen Sheridan, who came out and smothered it.

In the 40th, Canada struck for the first goal, starting with a long pass down the right side of the pitch that resulted in a footrace between midfielder Ashley Lawrence and American defender Tierna Davidson trying to gain possession and Naeher coming out to clear. Lawrence and Naeher collided and the ball squirted toward the middle of the field, just above the box to defender Deanne Rose, who sent a pass to her left to striker Adriana Leon, who pounded a right-footed shot through the legs of defender Abby Dahlkemper and into the empty net for the 1-0 lead.

The U.S. had more chances, with an Alex Morgan shot inside the box blocked in the 42nd and Shaw sending a promising shot over the top of the net in the 44th. The Americans controlled possession with 63%, but Canada had a 5-4 shot edge and the lead.

The second half saw the U.S. on the attack and after Canada could not clear a few minutes in, the ball ended up on the right side of the field, with Shaw making a pass to forward Sophia Smith just beyond the box. Smith took a look and saw a path to the goal and sent a left-footed laser diagonally across to the far side of the goal and beyond Sheridan’s dive for a 1-1 tie in the 50th.

The defenses were stiff and the action was end-to-end, but Shaw once again broke the game open. She took a pass in the midfield from midfielder Lindsey Horan, then pushed the ball forward to sub striker Trinity Rodman between defenders and Rodman sprinted forward and fed Smith to her right. Running in stride, Smith ripped a right-footer across the goal and again beat Sheridan to the far side of the goal for a 2-1 lead in the 68th.

Canada poured on the pressure, but the U.S. was equal, then defender Crystal Dunn was called for a push in the back of Leon in the box in the 84th. Leon took the penalty and sent a rocket to the right of Naeher for the 2-2 tie in the 86th.

Defender Kadeisha Buchanan almost won the game for Canada in the 90th, as her header off a Leon corner hit the crossbar, then the ball was cleared. But it ended 2-2, with the U.S. at 60% possession and a 12-9 edge on shots thanks to an aggressive second half. But on to penalty kicks, the third straight game to finish for Canada this way.

Jessie Fleming and Leon hit their penalties for a 2-0 lead, then Smith scored (2-1) and Naeher took over. She saved Jade Rose’s try, then scored herself for a 2-2 tie and saved Cloe Lacasse’s shot. Horan gave the U.S. a 3-2 lead, but Julie Grosso tied it at 3-3. When midfielder Emily Sonnett sent her shot over the top, it was on to sudden death.

Lawrence started and scored easily, as did Dahlkemper, but Naeher stopped Evelyne Viens’ try, giving defender Emily Fox the chance to win it, and she did with a smooth right-footed strike to the left of Sheridan, for the 5-4 tally on penalties.

It’s another U.S. victory in the SheBelieves Cup, now seven of the nine held. Canada had its best-ever finish, having only medaled once, third in 2021.

There was nice interest in the SheBelieves semi between the U.S. and Japan last Saturday, with 393,000 tuning in on TNT at 12:28 p.m. and another 289,000 on Spanish-language Telemundo, for a 682,000 total that ranked fourth in its time slot.


● Ice Hockey ● Pool play concluded at the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Utica, New York and the quarterfinals are now set.

The U.S. won Group A with a 4-0 mark, ahead of 3-1 Canada, and Germany finished with a 4-0 mark in Group B, ahead of Sweden (3-1).

The quarters will be held on Thursday, with a re-seeding for the semifinals:

● U.S. (4-0) vs. Japan (1-3)
● Canada (3-1) vs. Sweden (3-1)
● Germany (4-0) vs. Czech Republic (2-2)
● Finland (1-3) vs. Switzerland (0-4)

The semis will be on Saturday and the final on Sunday, at the Adirondack Sports Center. The U.S. and Canada have met in 21 of the 22 prior Worlds finals.


● Olympic Games 2024: Paris ● NBC announced commitments for $1.2 billion in ad sales for the 2024 Games, with 107 days prior to the opening on 26 July. It expects to break the Tokyo 2020 high of just over $1.2 billion, with sales running 18% ahead of sales for the 2021 event.

Dan Lovinger, NBCU’s President of Olympic and Paralympic Sales, said in a conference call with reporters that $350 million in sales is from new broadcast sponsors: “Very few properties can help (brands) build reach and know exactly where their advertising is running. That is why the Olympics continues to garner support from major advertisers.”

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in an interview, “I have canceled 100% of holidays and thank the police and gendarmes for their unprecedented efforts,” for the upcoming Olympic Games. He also noted that airspace over Paris will be closed.

He said that about 200,000 of the planned million security checks had been carried out so far.

● Athletics ● Repair to the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau (BAH) are being fully underwritten by the government of China and are expected to be finished ahead of the upcoming World Athletics Relays in May.

The gift of $36 million to renovate the stadium makes some sense given that the stadium, which opened in 2011, was also built by China with a $30 million gift. An athlete camp, including accommodations, is being built nearby as part of the project.

● Football ● A lengthy lawsuit by U.S. promoter Relevent Sports against FIFA to allow European league matches to be played in the U.S. was settled with a Tuesday filing at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York:

“Relevent and FIFA stipulate and agree to the dismissal without prejudice of all claims asserted by Relevent against FIFA in the above-captioned action, with each side bearing its own attorneys’ fees and costs.”

Relevent chief executive Danny Sillman said, “FIFA and Relevent Sports have agreed to resolve this matter specific to FIFA while FIFA considers changes to its existing rules about whether games can be played outside of a league’s home territory. Relevent Sports looks forward to supporting FIFA as both sides work to grow the game.”

A FIFA statement noted, “As it concerns FIFA, pending FIFA’s consideration of changes to existing FIFA policies with respect to playing official season games outside of a league’s home territory. FIFA has not admitted any liability and continues to deny the legal claims alleged in Relevent’s complaint.”

But this is a major step to clear the way for Relevent to promote matches of foreign leagues in the U.S., a move which FIFA’s rules does not currently allow and that the U.S. Soccer Federation has blocked. The court filing added that “The Stipulation has no bearing on Relevent’s claims against Defendant United States Soccer Federation, Inc. (‘USSF’).”

The suit was filed in 2019, dismissed in 2021, but overturned on appeal and revived in 2023.

Violence at Greek soccer matches resulted in the death of a police officer who was hit by a flare in Athens in December, and led to the closure of stadiums to fans for two months.

Now, the Greek government is eliminating physical tickets for league matches, except for children and seniors, and will require all other ticket holders to switch to a system of QR codes to be shown at entrances. This will allow security forces to know who is actually on site, as a government application will be required to verify online ticket purchases.

The physical ticket elimination will take place over about a month’s time.

● Modern Pentathlon ● The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne announced that 13 athletes – 12 Belarusians and one Russian – have been approved as “neutral athletes” for the two World Cup events coming up in May, but did not name them. Only four men and four women can compete in the Sofia World Cup from 8-13 May.

Observed: Why aren’t these athletes named? Will they be identified only by number at the Sofia World Cup? If they are truly “independent athletes,” isn’t this a show of disrespect to these “neutrals”?

● Sport Climbing ● Slovenian star Janja Garnbret, three-time World Boulder Champion and Olympic combo champ from Tokyo 2020, showed why she is the favorite for Paris with a decisive win in the IFSC World Cup opener in Keqiao (CHN).

In the women Boulder final, she cleared four tops and four zones in just five tries (4T4Z ~ 5/5) to win over Italy’s Camilla Moroni (2T3Z ~ 10/13) and Zhilu Luo (CHN: 2T2Z ~ 2/2).

● Swimming ● SwimSwam.com reported that “the total number of eligible swimmers to 796, 354 women and 442 men” for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials in swimming that begin on 15 June in Indianapolis.

The last high-profile meet prior to the Trials is this week’s San Antonio stop of the Tyr Pro Swim Series, running from Wednesday through Saturday, but qualifying marks can be achieved up to 30 May. The swimmers with the most events so far:

Men: Carson Foster and Kieran Smith (8 each), Shaine Casas (7), seven with six each.

Women: Bella Sims (11), Katie Grimes and Regan Smith (9), Leah Smith and Rylee Erisman (8).

The most popular event among the men is the 400 m Medley, with 87 qualifiers, with the top women’s event the 50 m Free, at 68.

● Taekwondo ● World Taekwondo released a survey entitled, “Mental Health in Elite Level Taekwondo Athletes,” showing significant levels of strain among international-class competitors:

“Among athletes involved in the study, 60% surpassed the threshold for psychological distress, with 20% exceeding the threshold for anxiety and 23% for depression. Notably, 6% of the cohort indicated severe anxiety, while an equal proportion exhibited moderately severe depression. Additionally, 4% presented with severe depression. Alarmingly, 9% of athletes admitted to considering the use of harmful substances for weight loss.”

The survey covered 515 athletes from five continents, including three age groups: 21-25, 26-30 and 31+:

Athletes aged 26 to 31 reported the highest levels of psychological distress, anxiety, and depression, while those aged 31 and above reported the lowest ones. Significantly, Africa exhibited lower anxiety scores, while Asia demonstrated higher disordered eating scores. Europe, on the other hand, displayed lower disordered eating scores, while Pan America revealed higher depression scores.”

● Weightlifting ● At the IWF World Cup in Phuket (THA), Tokyo Olympic 76 kg champ Neisi Dajomes (ECU) scored an impressive win in the women’s 81 kg class, coming back from a knee injury in 2023.

She won the Snatch title at 123 kg, then finished second in the Clean & Jerk for a winning total of 269 kg, just ahead of China’s 2023 Worlds runner-up, Zhouyu Wang (267 kg). American Katie Vibert had a big performance, setting an American Record of 145 kg in the Clean & Jerk and tied the American Record for the total with 258 kg.

That placed Vibert fourth overall and moved her into sixth on the IWF Olympic rankings. But she likely won’t be going to Paris as three Americans are ahead of her in the Olympic rankings in other weight classes and each country is limited to three total lifters in each gender. According to USA Weightlifting:

“As it stands, Olivia Reeves ( 71 kg, 2nd), Jourdan Delacruz (49 kg, 4th), and Mary Theisen-Lappen (+81 kg, 5th) lead the U.S. women’s rankings heading into the final day of competition in Thailand where Theisen-Lappen will defend her position.”

At 87 kg – a non-Olympic class – Norway’s 2022 World Champion, Solfrid Koanda, was the clear winner, taking all three sectors at 123/152/275 kg.

Competition continues through the 11th.

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