TSX REPORT: Jamaica’s Jackson hurt in 200 m in Hungary; WADA “reasonable” in China doping case; big Salt Lake City team to Paris!

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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡

1. Thompson, Julien win in Szekesfehervar as Jamaica’s Jackson hurt
2. Cottier finds WADA “reasonable” in China swimming doping case
3. Big SLC-Utah delegation headed to Paris for IOC vote
4. Spain to Euro 2024 final, Argentina to Copa America title match
5. Modern Pent excited for Paris, but in transition for 2028

● At the Gyulai Memorial meet in Hungary, Jamaican sprint stars Shericka Jackson pulled up in the women’s 200 m, apparently a hamstring cramp, while Kishane Thompson won the men’s 100 m in 9.91.

● The independent, limited report on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s actions in the 2021 Chinese swimming doping positive found WADA’s actions “reasonable,” but only within the specific context of its situation. In reality, in a match-up between WADA and the Chinese government, the winner was obvious before it had a chance to take place.

● A big delegation of sports leaders and elected officials will head from Salt Lake City to Paris for the final presentation on the bid for the 2034 Olympic Winter Games, and the expected awarding of the Games on 24 July. The theme is “elevate.”

● Spain defeated France, 2-1 to move to the UEFA Euro 2024 final, and defending champ Argentina blanked Canada, 2-0, to reach the Copa America final. The second semifinals are on Wednesday.

● Modern Pentathlon will have its last Olympics with equestrian as part of the program – at the Palace of Versailles – with obstacle to replace it for 2028 in Los Angeles.

Panorama: Paris 2024 (2: France announces team of 571; Georgia’s Salukvadze ready to compete in record-tying 10th Games) = Milan Cortina 2026 (ticketing registration starts) = Athletics (USATF announces massive, 120-member team for Paris) = Boxing (IBA to bring back World Series of Boxing) = Cycling (2: Philipsen finally gets Tour sprint win; Knibb dumps road race for Paris) ●

Memorabilia: Check out a spectacular, 380-item auction of Olympic-related items, including 71 medals and 40 torches at RR Auction’s semi-annual sale, now to 18 July! ●

1.
Thompson, Julien win in Szekesfehervar as Jamaica’s Jackson hurt

St. Lucia star Julien Alfred, a former NCAA champion at Texas, posted an important women’s 200 m victory at Tuesday’s Gyulai Memorial in Szekesfehervar (HUN), a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meet. But that was only part of the story.

Coming off the turn, Alfred was just behind World Champion Shericka Jackson (JAM), and pressing, but Jackson maintained a small edge until 50 m to go, when she suffered an injury and pulled up, leaving Alfred to win in a seasonal outdoor best of 22.16 (wind: +0.6 m/s), now no. 10 in the world for 2024. The top nine are all Americans; Britain’s Daryll Neita was second in 22.54.

Jackson had been expected to show strong form getting ready for Paris, with a seasonal best of only 22.29 from the Jamaican nationals. But she walked off the track under her own power, but with a stiff right leg, hobbling slightly as she moved away. She entered the season as no worse than a co-favorite in the 100 m and a clear favorite in the 200 m for Paris, but now her health is at issue. The injury was later reported as a hamstring cramp, possibly not serious. Possibly.

Jamaica’s men’s sprint champion, world leader Kishane Thompson, won the men’s 100 m in 9.91 (-0.6), ahead of Botswana star Letsile Tebogo (9.99) and South Africa’s Akani Simbine (10.01). Americans Ronnie Baker (10.18) and Kendal Williams (10.20) finished 4-5.

Tokyo Olympic 200 m champ Andre De Grasse (CAN) got a seasonal best of 19.98 (+0.5) to win the men’s 200 m, ahead of Andrew Hudson (JAM: 20.37); Americans Williams and Baker were 3-4 in 20.5 and 20.43, a lifetime best for Baker.

Tokyo Olympic champ Steven Gardiner (BAH) won the 400 m in 44.50, ahead of Sean Bailey (JAM: 44.64), and the U.S. went 1-2-3-6 in the 110 m hurdles, with Trey Cunningham (13.21, -0.2), Cordell Tinch (13.35), Dylan Beard (13.43) and Jamal Britt (13.60).

American Tamari Davis won the women’s 100 m in 11.00 (-0.5), ahead of Tia Clayton (JAM: 11.06), with Tamara Clark of the U.S. in sixth (11.25). Olympic 100 m hurdles gold medalist Jasmine Camacho-Quinn took her event in 12.47 (-0.2), ahead of 2019 World champ Nia Ali of the U.S. (12.54), with fellow American Amber Hughes in fourth (12.79).

Lauren Jolly of the U.S. won the women’s Steeple in 9:29.75, with Gracie Hyde third (9:30.69).

In the long jumps, Greek Olympic champ Miltiadis Tentoglou won the men’s event in 8.23 m (27-0), and Colombia’s Natalia Linares took the women’s at 6.87 m (22-6 1/2), with Americans Quanesha Burks (6.76 m/22-2 1/4) and Monae Nichols (6.73 m/22-1) in 3-4, with Tiffany Flynn sixth (6.62 m/21-8 3/4).

The throwing events were excellent, with European Champion Leonardo Fabbri (ITA) winning at 22.43 m (73-7 1/4), beating Jordan Geist of the U.S. (21.72 m (71-3 1/4). Discus world-record holder Mykolas Alekna won his eighth of nine competitions this season at 70.20 m (230-4) – his fifth meet over 70 m – beating 2022 World Champion Kristjan Ceh (SLO: 67.99 m/223-0), with Tokyo Olympic winner Daniel Stahl (SWE) in sixth (63.36 m/207-10)

World Champion Ethan Katzberg (CAN) won the men’s hammer, throwing 81.87 m (268-7), ahead of Ukraine’s Mykhaylo Kokhan (80.50 m/264-1).

2.
Cottier finds WADA “reasonable” in China swimming doping case

As had been predicted, the independent inquiry by former Swiss regional attorney general Eric Cottier into the response of the World Anti-Doping Agency into the January 2021 doping positives among 23 Chinese winners, found no fault with the Agency’s actions.

The two key findings:

● “There is nothing in the file – which is complete – to suggest that WADA showed favouritism or deference, or in any way favoured the 23 swimmers who tested positive for TMZ between 1 and 3 January 2021, when it proceeded to review CHINADA’s decision to close the proceedings against them without further action.”

● “All the elements taken into consideration by WADA, whether they come from the file produced by CHINADA with its decision or from the investigation procedures that it carried out, show the decision not to appeal to be reasonable, both from the point of view of the facts and the applicable rules.”

Cottier submitted only a summary report on 1 July 2024, as he was only able to assemble all the information he asked for from WADA and other outside experts by 27 June. More details will come later.

Engaged by WADA, his inquiry was very limited, and the outcome was not a surprise. However, his report and the detailed timeline annex added some significant details. Consider:

● The doping positives came from sample collections of 23 Chinese swimmers from 1-3 January 2021. The annex noted that the China Anti-Doping Agency’s report was submitted on 15 June 2021, more than six months later.

● On 19 July 2021, CHINADA told WADA that “the very large number of searches undertaken so far in vain by the public authorities to determine the origin of environmental contamination” and the difficulty of the searches, given the time that has elapsed, but which nevertheless continued.”

● On 29 July 2021, CHINADA informed WADA “no trace of TMZ was found inside the containers, nor in the food itself, CHINADA pointing out more than two months had passed and that the containers had necessarily been emptied and refilled.”

● On 30 July 2021, WADA Senior Director, Science and Medicine Olivier Rabin (FRA) noted that “Uncertainties about the source of contamination and the lack of TMZ measurements in a foodstuff made it almost impossible to design a realistic scenario. The results of the calculations he had attempted to perform in order to determine how much exposure to TMZ would have been required to reach 1 to 1.7 µg/mL at excretion resulted only in an estimation of ‘a few micrograms.’ which was not sufficiently precise to confirm or exclude contamination.”

● On 31 July 2021, Irene Mazzoni (ARG), the Deputy Director, Science and Medicine, chimed in, “expressing her difficulty in believing in the contamination due to the minimal doses found in the kitchen, which is moreover outside the food, two months after the competitions, without the origin of TMZ being identified; she nevertheless accepted that WADA did not have a solid argument to affirm that it was not contamination.”

Already, outside counsel suggested on 8 July that an appeal was a waste, “as the chances of success (merits) were relatively low. The thesis of environmental contamination seemed realistic to them, and other theories, either those of intentional doping or contamination by the use of food supplements, seemed difficult to establish.”

And so, WADA did not appeal, and in view of the lack of facts in the case, Cottier agreed this was a reasonable course of action.

Observed: Cottier’s judgement on the limited questions put to him was quite in line with the facts. But his finding has nothing to do with the case:

● The timeline annex shows that WADA waited for CHINADA to investigate the case, as is the normal procedure. The receipt of the report more than six months afterwards means any meaningful on-site investigation – especially during Covid restrictions in China – would have been impossible. Strike one.

● The CHINADA report and responses to WADA’s questions in July show that the Chinese themselves could not develop a case for contamination, let alone identify the precise source. Normally, this is required for excusing sanctions due to contamination through food. Ask suspended U.S. middle-distance track star Shelby Houlihan. Strike two.

● WADA’s Rabin and Mazzoni agreed that since they could not prove direct use of trimetazidine for doping – even though the presumption is for sanctions if the contamination is not directly identified – they decided not to proceed with an appeal. Strike three, but WADA – not those who tested positive – was called out. But there was a reason.

The anti-doping rules describe a strict liability system, in which athletes are responsible for what goes into their bodies. The 23 Chinese swimmers who were found positive for trimetazidine – the same drug as used by Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva – should have received the same sanction as she initially did: a four-year suspension on the day after the lab report was received.

Valieva got off on an appeal to an independent appeal arm of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency after the RUSADA office has suspended her. CHINADA skipped any suspension after the positives were reported on 15 March 2021, then waited for another three months to file its report for WADA. The reporting by the German ARD network is that the Chinese Ministry for Public Security – not CHINADA – did the investigation into the incident; why did that happen?

By mid-June, there was no way for WADA to make a positive case for doping, even though the rules require the opposite, that those suspended show with clarity where the contamination came from.

With insufficient facts on their side, pushing for a block suspension of 23 star Chinese swimmers, was too much for WADA. This is understandable, but hardly commendable, and Cottier’s details in the timeline annex confirm this. But it’s realpolitik: WADA vs. China is a mismatch.

At least that’s what Cottier’s documents show. Now, 11 of the 23 athletes who tested positive in 2021 will be in Paris in 2024.

Rich Perelman
Editor

3.
Big SLC-Utah delegation headed to Paris for IOC vote

The decade-long effort to bring the Olympic Winter Games back to Salt Lake City is nearing its end, as the International Olympic Committee is scheduled to vote on the recommendation to award the 2023 OWG to Salt Lake City on 24 July in Paris.

The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games unveiled its delegation for the final presentation and the vote on Tuesday, with 21 core members and likely more than a dozen other support staff.

Leading the team will be Utah Governor Spencer Cox, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee President Gene Sykes, Salt Lake City-Utah Chair Cat Raney Norman and President Fraser Bullock and athlete leaders Lindsey Vonn (Olympian) and Dani Aravich (Paralympian).

At a presentation in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Bullock spoke about what the IOC will hear from the SLC-Utah team:

“The key thing out of everything we talk about, is we’re going to speak from the heart. Because Utah loves the Games. …

“We have some key themes that we’re going to talk about, and some of those you’ve heard before. One is our vision, and our vision is centered around the word ‘elevate,’ and it has three components to it.

“Elevate, first and foremost, our communities, particularly our youth. Second of all, elevating sport, particularly once again with our youth and getting our youth engaged in sport and making sure the fields of play and everything are at their very best.

“And then third is, elevating the Games experience.”

At this point, Bullock described in detail what has become the initial signature innovation of the 2034 project: the Athletes’ Families Initiative.

“A lot of times, you think about an athlete – we just watched the qualifications, right, Team USA qualifications, just a week or two ago – and so the athletes found out for the first time, ‘oh, I’m going to the Games.’ OK, how is my family going to get tickets, where are they going to stay, where’s the transportation?

“And our focus is, to add in this layer of the Athletes’ Families Initiative, where we facilitate all of that, we welcome families from around the world. We envision having an Athletes’ Families Village, where the families from around the world can gather and get to know families from other countries, and we facilitate things for them to be able to buy affordable tickets and, at the Village, affordable housing and transportation, so they can be there in these meaningful moments, so that when we have these wonderful athletes who have dedicated their lives, their families have also dedicated their lives to support these athletes, and being able to see both of them enjoy the Games together.

“That’s a big part of what we want to do, and Cat and I have been working on this – I don’t know how long – and Lindsey Vonn helped us get started with this, but Cat and I just jumped on this and said, ‘this will be a Games first.’”

A full complement of elected officials will go to the final presentation and vote, along with multiple athlete reps – including Olympic gold winners Vonn and speed skaters Erin Jackson and Derek Parra – and Paris 2024 Olympian and BYU basketball icon Jimmer Fredette, and a selection of youth athletes.

The travel costs for the SLC-Utah group is being covered as part of the $4 million bid budget, all raised from private sources (public officials will travel at their own expense).

4.
Spain to Euro 2024 final, Argentina to Copa America title match

Both the UEFA Euro 2024 and the Copa America scheduled their semifinals on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Spain and Argentina advancing to Sunday’s championship matches on Tuesday.

In Munich, France opened the scoring on a perfect cross by star forward Kylian Mbappe from the left side all the way across the Spanish goal that was headed in by striker Randal Koko Muani in the ninth minute.

But Spain, as usual, controlled much of the possession and finally equalized in the 21st as 16-year-old midfielder Lamine Yamal booted in a left-footed rainbow from beyond the box that sailed just under the crossbar and into the French net. And then, just four minutes later, midfielder Dani Olmo collected a rebound in the box with his left foot, moved to the right to create and then sent a rocket toward the French goal which deflected under the leg of French keeper Mike Maignan and into the net for a 2-1 lead. Spain ended the half with a 5-3 shots edge and 55% possession.

The second half had Spain playing keep-away and thwarting continuing French attacks and aside from the occasional dangerous shot that missed, France was unable to mount a serious offense. There were no goals and Spain finished with 56% possession and France had a 6-5 edge on shots. Spain only had two shots actually on goal in the entire game … and both went in.

This will be Spain’s fifth Euro final, looking for a fourth title after wins in 1964, 2008 and 2012.

At the Copa America semifinals in East Rutherford, New Jersey, defending champ Argentina met Canada for the second time in the tournament, this time in 85 F heat with 71% humidity.

Both sides had good build-ups in the first 20 minutes, but the stout Canadian defense was shredded in a moment in the 23rd as midfielder Rodrigo De Paul sent a lead pass from midfield on a line for striker Julian Alvarez. He brought it down, dribbled, turned away from defender Moise Bombito and smashed a low liner through the legs of Canadian keeper Maxime Crepeau for the 1-0 lead.

Canada could not deal with the Argentine defense and the champs could not find a second goal, with a couple of near-misses by striker superstar Lionel Messi. At the half, Argentina had 61% possession and an 8-3 shots edge.

The second produced a magical moment for Messi, who scored his first goal of the tournament on a re-direct of an Enzo Fernandez shot from the top of the box. Messi was stationed near the Canadian goal and tipped the ball past Crepeau into the goal for a 2-0 lead in the 51st.

The game ended with just 51% possession for Argentina as Canada pressed forward, but managed just six shots in the second half; Argentina ended with an 11-9 edge.

Defending champ Argentina has won this tournament 15 times, first in 1921, and in 2021, after not winning since 1993. Canada will play for bronze, trying to become the first non-CONMEBOL medal winner in this tournament since Mexico in 2007.

5.
Modern Pent excited for Paris, but in transition for 2028

“That will be a historical moment, a heritage for later, to be in the park of Versailles. I think that is something very extraordinary, and so therefore we are very, very happy.”

That’s Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) President Klaus Schormann (GER) during a Tuesday online news conference, looking ahead to the final competition of the modern pentathlon that will include equestrian, the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The equestrian events and the semifinals and finals of the modern pentathlon will be held in the gardens of the Versailles Palace, outside Paris, in a temporary venue amid the splendor of the historical site.

Format changes have been part of modern pentathlon history and in Paris, the semifinals and finals are slated to be contested in a condensed, 90-minute format, created for better television appeal.

London 2012 Olympian Yassir Hefny (EGY) explained that the new format is better:

“This is the fast generation … who watch videos in one minute; if you give them something longer, they lose interest, so I think 90 minutes will be perfect.”

He also noted that the condensed format for Paris will place riding in both the semifinals and finals, not in just the finals only.

Hefny was asked about the change from riding to obstacle course, to take effect in the run-up to Los Angeles in 2028 and which he has supported:

“Yes, we are having good performances with riding, but for sure with obstacle, it’s going to be more accessible for us, easier to install, easier to train, easier to have it in our community of local clubs, so for us, the change came with a positive impact, and we might have better results in the future.”

UIPM Secretary General Shiny Fang (CHN) noted that the costs for the new obstacle equipment are manageable:

“For our event, we’ve set up three levels. We have the training kit, that’s around 6,000; we have the national kit, it’s around 15,000, and we have the international kit, which fits for the TV level already, it’s around 25,000 Euro.” (€1 = $1.08 U.S.)

While the UIPM is not providing obstacle equipment to its national federations, Fang said it is assisting with obtaining the best possible pricing.

≡ PANORAMA ≡

● Olympic Games 2024: Paris ● France announced its largest team in history for the 2024 Olympic Games: 571 athletes (plus 51 substitutes) to compete in 32 sports and 45 disciplines.

That breaks the national record of 491 Olympic athletes, set way back at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris. The only other times France fielded even 400 was for its home Games in 1924 (401) and 2016 in Rio (also 401).

The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) noted some upcoming history in Paris:

“Georgia has confirmed the entry in the 25m pistol women event of 55-year-old Nino Salukvadze, who is thus set to compete in her tenth Olympics, thus matching the current record for Games appearances held by Canada’s equestrian athlete Ian Millar.

“Uniquely, Salukvadze’s Olympic appearances will be consecutive as Millar, who made his first Games appearance at Munich in 1972 and his last at London in 2012, was unable to compete in the 1980 Moscow Games due to Canada being among the countries who boycotted those Olympics following the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.

“Salukvadze was also involved in another piece of Olympic history at the Rio 2016 Games, where she became the first mother to compete on the same team as her son.”

Salukvadze owns three Olympic medals: two as a Soviet shooter from 1988, with a gold in the women’s 25 m Pistol and silver in the 10 m Air Pistol, and a 2008 bronze in the 10 m Air Pistol for Georgia.

● Olympic Winter Games 2026: Milan Cortina ● The Milan Cortina 2026 ticketing program is now available for registration, in advance of a lottery leading to actual ticket sales in February of 2025.

The random selection of which “accounts” will be allowed to buy first will take place in January 2025, with buying windows beginning in February. The announcement noted that general ticket sales, not requiring pre-registration, will begin in April 2025.

Winter Paralympic ticket sales will begin in March 2025.

● Athletics ● USA Track & Field announced a massive, 120-member team for the Paris Olympic Games that will likely be larger than all but 26 National Olympic Committee teams for all sports!

The U.S. is sending a full squad – the maximum of three in every individual event – except for the men’s hammer (2 only) and javelin (1 only) and the women’s high jump (2 only) and javelin (1 only), and no race walkers at all.

Six athletes made the team in two individual events:

Noah Lyles: men’s 100-200 m
Kenny Bednarek: men’s 100-200 m
Hobbs Kessler: men’s 800-1,500 m
Grant Fisher: men’s 5,000-10,000 m
Karissa Schweizer: women’s 5,000-10,000 m
Jasmine Moore: women’s long jump-triple jump

Distance star Elle St. Pierre made the team in the women’s 1,500 m and 5,000 m, but will run only the 1,500 in Paris.

The 4×400 m relay pool included 16-year-old Quincy Wilson of the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, who set World Youth Records of 44.66 in the heats and then 44.58 in the semis; he finished sixth in the final. Could he win an Olympic gold in the Mixed 4×4? He could be running with Arkansas frosh Kaylyn Brown, vet Quanera Hayes and Vernon Norwood or ex-national champion Bryce Deadmon … or he could be in the prelims only!

A team of that size needs support and a coaching, managerial and medical staff of 34 will accompany the squad, headed by men’s head coach Stanley Redwine and women’s head coach LaTanya Sheffield.

● Boxing ● One of the projects which led to the financial implosion of the old Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur (AIBA) was the World Series of Boxing (WSB), which failed spectacularly at the box office.

Now, with what appears to be unlimited funding from “general partner” Gazprom – the Russian energy giant – the International Boxing Association announced the revival of the WSB in 2025. This will be a team program using professional rules, continuing IBA’s drift to being another professional boxing enterprise, with an amateur feeder system.

● Cycling ● At the 111th Tour de France, Belgium’s Jasper Philipsen finally won a sprint stage after two runner-up finishes earlier in the race.

The flat, 187.3 km tenth stage to Saint-Armand-Montrond ended with the expected mass sprint and this time, Philipsen was able to get to the line first, ahead of two-stage winner Biniam Girmay (ERI). The first 137 riders were timed in 4:20:06, with German Pascal Ackermann third.

It’s Philipsen’s seventh career stage win at the Tour, all in the last three years,

The leaderboard remained the same, with two-time champ Tadej Pogacar (SLO) leading Remco Evenepoel (BEL) by 33 seconds and two-time defending champ Jonas Vingegaard (DEN) by 1:15.

Stage 11 has a major uphill in the final third of the 211 km route to Le Lioran and could see some noise from the race leaders, especially if Pogacar tries to pad his lead with a late attack.

The multi-talented Taylor Knibb qualified to represent the U.S. in both the triathlon and cycling, but has cut back her Paris program slightly.

USA Cycling announced Tuesday that Knibb has withdrawn from the women’s Road Race in Paris, but will maintain her spots in the triathlon and cycling time trial. The Paris schedule shows the cycling time trial on 27 July, then the women’s triathlon on the 31st and the road race on 4 August. However, the triathlon mixed relay is scheduled for 5 August, with Knibb a key member of the medal-hopeful U.S. squad, making the road race a bad fit.

In Knibb’s place will be Kristen Faulkner, the 2024 USA Cycling national Road champion and a stage winner at the Vuelta Espana Femenina this year.

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