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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. Sapporo Olympic Winter bid delayed to 2034 or later
2. “Inside Guide to Going Pro in Track”
3. Modest TV audiences for NCAA T&F Champs on ESPN2
4. Diving icon Louganis to auction medals for charity
5. BBC cautious on Women’s World Cup rights cost
The Japanese Olympic Committee has decided to scratch its bid for the 2030 Olympic Winter Games, but will support Sapporo if it wants to go for 2034 or later. Public opinion is currently against a bid, strengthening Salt Lake City’s position. Performance coach Steve Magness tweeted a 15-part primer he calls the “Inside Guide to Going Pro in Track.” Some pretty solid ideas, for sure. The NCAA Track & Field Championships in Austin, Texas last week had sensational competitions and marks, but only modest audiences on ESPN2. Four-time Olympic diving gold medalist Greg Louganis will auction his two remaining golds from 1984 and 1988 and a Montreal ‘76 silver in September with the Bonhams auction house. The BBC told a British government committee that it is “committed” to reaching a rights deal to show the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer, but only at a reasonable price, despite FIFA’s urging to spend more.
● Panorama: Olympic Games (remembering another Olympic co-gold award, from 1992) = Milan Cortina 2026 (renovation cost of Verona Arena rises) = Athletics (3: Kenyan President gifts Kipyegon for world records; two world leads at Nurmi Games; Harvey Glance passes at 66) = Fencing (Russians send six to European Champs) = Gymnastics (Minneapolis gets 2024 Olympic Trials) = Swimming (2: Titmus 3:58.47 at Australian Trials; Marchand wins three at French champs, with 200 m Breast world lead) = Weightlifting (2: Indonesia wins again; IWF bans flags at medal ceremonies) ●
Sapporo Olympic Winter bid delayed to 2034 or later
In the face of continuing negative public opinion, the Japanese Olympic Committee decided Tuesday to end its effort to land the Olympic Winter Games in 2030 and concentrate instead on 2034 or even later.
Kyodo News reported:
“No proposal has been made in Japan to host the Winter Olympics in 2034 or later, but the JOC will consider it as well, along with Sapporo, if there is any other city wishing to do so.”
Board member Keiko Momii said after the meeting, “A public survey shows 60 percent of people opposing [a bid for 2030]. We should take more time and try to gain understanding from the public. Therefore, we opened things up for various possibilities.”
Sapporo hosted the 1972 Winter Games and had considered bidding for 2026, but withdrew to focus on 2030, where it was perceived as the front-runner, only to fall victim to concerns over costs and the continuing bid-rigging and sponsorship scandals from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
There is little doubt that if Sapporo wishes to bid for 2034, it will be approved, but polling in both Sapporo and in the Hokkaido Prefecture have shown only modest interest in the project in recent months.
The U.S. bid for Salt Lake City is nearly complete, but is focused on 2034 to create some breathing space between the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and a second Winter Games in Salt Lake City. The International Olympic Committee now has no confirmed bidders for 2030, but both Sweden and Switzerland are studying the possibilities.
The IOC expects to award the 2030 Winter Games next year and could, if its Winter Future Hosts Commission recommends, select a host for both 2030 and 2034 at the same time.
Observed: The step-back from the Japanese Olympic Committee was hardly a surprise in view of the drop in public support. Even with a possible attempt by Sapporo for 2034, Salt Lake City’s stature continues to grow, with excellent public and governmental support, no new venues to build, an existing “Olympic Village” in place at the University of Utah, detailed plans and a continuing wave of World Cup events held each winter in multiple sports.
The IOC has shown before that a bid as solid as Salt Lake City’s will be rewarded soon, as it cannot afford to lose the one sure host it has currently available.
“Inside Guide to Going Pro in Track”
Performance coach and author Steve Magness, a 4:02.01 high school miler back in 2003, tweeted a 15-part “Inside Guide to Going Pro in Track” on Monday. Succinct, it covers a lot of ground in short takes, and here are some even shorter highlights, formatted for easier reading:
● “The NCAA championships are over in track and field. You or your teammates may be considering going Pro! Exciting!
“But…I’ve watched so many athletes mess it up, take less $, & be screwed over. Here’s the Inside Guide to Going Pro in Track:”
● “1. Pick your agent wisely. … If a shoe company tries to direct you to an agent…be VERY cautious. Your agent should work for YOU. Not them.”
● “2. Choose your group/coach wisely. … Our environment shapes our ethics and beliefs more than we like to acknowledge.”
● “3. Don’t sell your soul for $25k. It’s not worth it. … You’re better off going somewhere you feel comfortable with, that will support you as an athlete and person, then taking a crappy deal.”
● “4. Get clear on who is steering the ship. Is a sponsor demanding you go to a group? Why?”
● “5. Look at those reduction clauses. Some companies will use them any chance they get.”
● “6. Ask what doctors, physios, etc. the team uses. … Shady doctors recycle in this sport. There are lots.”
● “7. Ask about supplements. If they take a ton of supplements, especially sketchy sounding ones, run away.”
● “8. Look at improvements, injury, and drop out rates. Do people get better, stay healthy, and stick around?”
● “9. There’s only so much training you can do. Use this time to think about the next chapter. Prepare for the future, whether that comes in 2 years or 10.”
● “10. Realize that professional track is a long, hard journey. … Surround yourself with good people who want to help you thrive, not just use you for $ or notoriety if you make it.”
He closes with:
“Above all, do your research. Everything will sound wonderful. Coaches, agents, sponsors are salesman right now.
“The best thing you can do is ask around, especially to people who can be honest (i.e. often athletes who retired recently and are out of the sport now)”
There’s lots more to read in this thread. And there are others. LetsRun.com’s Jonathan Gault tweeted a link to his 2020 series, “How to Turn Pro in Track & Field,” with posts on agents, shoe contracts and case studies of Morgan McDonald and Grant Fisher. Gault’s bottom line:
“Turning professional is a process that is often shrouded in mystery, which is part of the reason I wrote this series. The big thing is to get as much information as possible to make an informed decision. Talk to agents & coaches, but talk to current/former athletes too.”
More information is always better than less, in track, sports and life, too.
Modest TV audiences for NCAA T&F Champs on ESPN2
The audience data is in for last week’s 2023 NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships in Austin, Texas, shown on ESPN2, with a high of 393,000 on Saturday for the final day of the meet. The four-day average viewing audiences:
● 152,000 on Wednesday (7th): men’s first day
● 227,000 on Thursday (8th): women’s first day
● 176,000 on Friday (9th): men’s final day
● 393,000 on Saturday (10th): women’s final day
That’s 948,000 combined for the four days, down from 2022 when the final day on ESPN (big difference) and a little better than in 2021:
2022: 1,178,000 combined total
● 187,000: Men’s day 1 on ESPN2
● 125,000: Women’s day 1 on ESPN 2 (estimate)
● 263,000: Men’s day 2 on ESPN2
● 603,000: Women’s day 2 on ESPN
2021: 909,000 combined total
● 206,000: Men’s day 1 on ESPN2
● 236,000: Women’s day 1 on ESPN2
● 233,000: Men’s day 2 on ESPN2
● 234,000: Women’s day 2 on ESPNU
Track & field on television has done much better when on network television than cable, and much better on ESPN than on any of its sub-channels.
The NCAA meet in Austin was expected to benefit the city with about $38 million in total economic impact. A study by the local economic development firm Angelou Economics projected the primary impact sectors as $9.5 million in hotel revenues, $9 million in food and drink spending and another $13 million in general entertainment spending.
Diving icon Louganis to auction medals for charity
After multiple attempts to sell his Olympic medals have come up short, Olympic diving star Greg Louganis has teamed up with London-based Bonhams for an authorized auction of three of his Olympic medals, from Montreal 1976, Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul in 1988.
Per the announcement:
“The three medals – 1988 Gold (estimate: $800,000 – 1.2 million), 1984 Gold (estimate: $600,000 – 900,000), and 1976 Silver (estimate: $200,000 – 300,000) – will make a world tour this summer beginning in Los Angeles followed by New York, London, and then returning to Los Angeles for the final sale on September 14. Louganis is raising money for an HIV/AIDS service organisation that he has long championed.”
Louganis, now 63, won five Olympic medals in all, starting with the Platform silver in 1976, the Springboard and Platform golds in Los Angeles and the Springboard-Platform golds again in Seoul in 1988.
He gave the 1984 Platform gold to his coach, Ron O’Brien, and the 1988 Springboard gold to Jeanne White-Ginder, whose son, Ryan White, died at age 18 of pneumonia after contracting AIDS from a blood transfusion.
He has retained the Montreal Platform silver, Los Angeles Springboard gold and Seoul Platform gold. They have been on sale before, including on Louganis’ own site in November 2022, and in March of this year with the asking price for the Los Angeles gold at $1.5 million, and less for the others, but without any takers.
BBC cautious on Women’s World Cup rights cost
The British Broadcasting Corporation’s Chief Content Officer told a Parliament committee that it would like to show the FIFA Women’s World Cup – that starts on 20 July in Australia and New Zealand – but at a fair price.
Charlotte Moore told the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday:
“We really look at fair value for everything that we do, and the BBC has a strong track record in paying absolutely the right price for things.
“As I say, we’re market-assessing and audience-assessing and looking at the variants for each bid that we put in, and that’s our promise to the audience and to licence fee payers.
“I think we would all share the intention to get these things nailed down because for productions it’s incredibly important, so I think it’s in everybody’s interests to sort these things out.
“But I can’t comment on commercial negotiations that would obviously affect those decisions. We’re absolutely committed.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure that we obtain the rights for as much of women’s sport as we can within the budget and the funding envelope that we have, and we make those decisions across the year.
“We go into negotiations at the right time when those bids come up and we have to go through a system. But we don’t always dictate the speed of that financial situation.”
FIFA has said the bids from broadcasters in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are too low. A joint bid by the BBC and ITV was reported at £8 million (~$10.1 million U.S.).
In comparison to the wildly-popular 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, this year’s tournament is an unfavorable time zone, with matches from 1 a.m. to noon, British time.
“We want to do everything we can, thinking about value for money for our audiences and whether tournaments are live in-peak or whether they’re through the middle of the night and where they’re placed.
“We take a huge amount of care and detail about how we make sure we don’t over-inflate the market but we really help the market grow, so we’re looking at that.”
Meanwhile, FIFA announced Tuesday that it had “awarded free-to-air rights to next month’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand to the Pacific Cooperation Broadcasting Limited (PCBL). The deal means that PCBL will distribute the tournament to 24 free-to-air broadcasters in the Pacific islands and will ensure that at least one match per day will be available for free in each of the territories.”
The affected countries include Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Federation States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and American Samoa.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Olympic Games ● Further to yesterday’s post about the International Judo Federation’s decision to award a co-championship to France’s Teddy Riner and Russian Inal Tasoev in the 2023 Worlds men’s +110 kg class, and the famous 2002 co-golds decision in Pairs skating, how about the 1992 Olympic Solo final in Synchronized Swimming?
Olympedia.org co-founder Dr. Bill Mallon (USA) notes, American Kristen Babb-Sprague won the event in the pool in Barcelona, ahead of favorite Sylvie Frechette (CAN), in part due to an error by the Brazilian judge of hitting the wrong key when entering Frechette’s score in the technical segment.
An appeal was denied by FINA (now World Aquatics) under the rules at the time, but the controversy continued well after the Games, and:
“FINA eventually caved to the pressure and elected to declare Frechette and Babb-Sprague as co-champions in October 1993, and the IOC awarded Frechette a gold medal in December 1993.”
● Olympic Winter Games 2026: Milan Cortina ● Prices are going up again, as the renovation bill for the ancient, 22,00-seat Verona Arena, slated to host the closing ceremonies for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The budget initially set at €18.9 million (~$20.4 million U.S.) will apparently increase to €20.5 million (~$22.1 million U.S.), for the arena, originally built by the Romans in the year 30. New communications and security infrastructure is being installed, along with better accessibility.
Reports indicate that some of the added cost may be subsidized by the Italian government.
● Athletics ● Faith Kipyegon’s heroics on the track, with world records in the women’s 1,500 m and 5,000 m, have not gone unnoticed in Kenya. The Associated Press reported that she was awarded KES 5,000,000 for setting the women’s 1,500 m world record and a fully furnished three-bedroom home for the 5,000 m world record at a meeting with Kenyan President William Ruto. Kipyegon said she would use the money to money her father a new car.
At current exchange rates, the five million Kenyan shillings are worth about $35,842 U.S. Ruto promised similar honors for other world-record setters.
The annual Paavo Nurmi Games, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meet, took place in Turku (FIN) on Tuesday, with U.S. athletes winning four events: Cravont Charleston in the men’s 100 m (9.95; wind: +0.1 m/s), Jamal Britt in the men’s 110 m hurdles (13.32; +0.3), KC Lightfoot in the men’s vault at 5.90 m (19-4 1/4) and Brooke Andersen in the women’s hammer (76.45 m/250-10).
Clayton Murphy of the U.S. finished second in the men’s 800 m, 1:44.40-1:44.91 to France’s Benjamin Robert.
There were excellent field–event marks, including a world-leading javelin win by Tokyo Olympic silver winner Jakub Vadlejch (CZE) at 89.51 m (293-8). Olympic champ Daniel Stahl (SWE) beat World Champion Kristjian Ceh (SLO), 70.38 m (230-11) to 68.67 m (225-3) in the men’s discus.
Tokyo Olympic runner-up Nicola Oyslagers (AUS) equaled the outdoor world lead in the women’s high jump at 2.01 m (6-7) and Finn Wilma Murto moved to equal-fourth on the 2023 outdoor year list in winning the women’s vault at 4.75 m (15-7).
Sad news of the passing of Harvey Glance, the long-time coach at Auburn (1991-97) and Alabama (1997-2011), and an Olympic 4×100 m gold medalist at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
Glance passed away on Monday after suffering cardiac arrest, at age 66, after a period of illness. He is remembered as a star sprinter at Auburn and then a coach and mentor. He was the NCAA champion at Auburn in the 100 and 200 m in 1976 and won the U.S. Olympic Trials before finishing fourth at the Montreal Games 100 m. He led off the winning relay team, with Johnny Jones, Millard Hampton and Steve Riddick, in 38.33, winning by 0.33 over East Germany.
He won the NCAA 100 m title again in 1977 and continued competing through 1987, qualifying for the U.S. 100 m squad in 1980, but unable to compete in Moscow due to the American boycott, and as an alternate for the 1984 relay team.
As a coach, he had success at both Auburn and Alabama, but is best remembered for mentoring Grenada’s Kirani James to a gold medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games, the island’s first-ever Olympic medal. Coached by Glance, he also won a silver at Rio 2016 and a bronze at Tokyo 2020.
Glance, instantly recognizable for his bright smile, was an important contributor to U.S. national teams as coach of teams at the Pan American Games (1999), World University Games (1997) and many others.
● Fencing ● In the aftermath of the FIE’s approval of Russian and Belausian entries as neutrals and the refusal by Poland to allow athletes from either country for the European Games in Krakow, the European Championships in individual events were moved to Plovdiv (BUL) for this weekend.
The Russian Fencing Federation announced that it would send six fencers to Plovdiv: three each in Epee and Sabre, their first appearance in FIE events since March of 2022.
● Gymnastics ● USA Gymnastics announced that its 2024 Olympic Trials in all disciplines will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
First up will be the USA Gymnastics Championships from 22-26 June at the Minneapolis Convention Center, featuring rhythmic gymnastics, acrobatic gymnastics, and trampoline & tumbling, with Olympic selections on the line in rhythmic and trampoline.
The U.S. Olympic Trials in artistic gymnastics will follow from 27-30 June at the Target Center in Minneapolis, with the 2024 Olympic team to be announced at the conclusion of the meet.
● Swimming ● The first day of the Australian World Championships Trials in Melbourne produced more strong performances, including the no. 2 performance of the year in the women’s 400 m Freestyle from Olympic champ Ariarne Titmus.
She won her event in 3:58.47, to move to no. 2 in the world for 2023, behind Canadian star Summer McIntosh’s 3:56.08 world record from March.
Tokyo Backstroke double gold medalist Kaylee McKeown won the women’s 200 m Medley in 2:07.60, her second-fastest ever and the no. 3 performance of the year behind McIntosh’s 2:06.89 from March and McKeown’s best ever of 2:07.19 in May.
Tokyo Olympic 100 m Fly bronze winner Emma McKeon won her event with ease in 56.74, moving her to no. 5 in the world for 2023. She wasn’t impressed with the time: “I was hoping for a bit quicker but this is trials and it’s all about making the team.”
World men’s 400 m Free leader Sam Short won that event at 3:43.38, just ahead of Elijah Winnington (3:43.48) and Rio 2016 gold medalist Mack Horton (3:46.71). That’s the no. 3 performance of the year for Short, and moved Winnington to no. 3 performer slot for the year.
Zac Stubblety-Cook, the Tokyo Olympic men’s 200 m Breast winner, took the men’s 100 m Breast on Tuesday in 59.68.
The French Elite Championships are also going on, in Rennes, and Leon Marchand, the Arizona State and French star, scored a second world-leading performance and a national record with a 2:06.59 win in the men’s 200 m Breast event on Sunday (11th). He also moved to no. 4 on the all-time list.
He’s also the world leader in the 400 m Medley at 4:07.80 from April, and has also taken the French titles in the 200 m Free in 1:46.44 and 200 m fly in 1:55.79 so far.
Maxime Grousset won the men’s 100 m Free in a speedy 47.62 to move to no. 3 on the 2023 world list.
● Weightlifting ● Indonesia won a third men’s gold at the IWF Grand Prix in Havana (CUB), as Rahmat Abdullah dominated the 81 kg class. The 2021 and 2022 Worlds gold medalist at 73 kg was easily the best at the higher weight, lifting a combined total of 358 kg, way ahead of Gaygysyz Torayev (TKM: 319 kg).
The women’s 64 kg class was won by neutral (Belarusian) Dziyana Maiseyevich, who lifted a combined total of 210 kg, beating Maria Lobon (COL: 205 kg).
In a statement on the IWF Council meeting held on Monday (12th), passage was noted on:
“On technical matters, three topics were approved: 1. Competition platforms will have a maximum of 80cm height (instead of 100cm); 2. The Video Replay System (VPT) has to be always used in IWF events; 3. The athletes are not allowed to carry flags during medal ceremonies.”
The last item will be of special interest at the World Championships and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The IWF also approved “financial assistance to the Cuban organisers of the 2023 Grand Prix, in order to compensate for the loss caused by numerous last-minute withdrawals from the competition,” as more than 400 lifters had been expected, but only about 250 actually showed.
For our updated, 651-event International Sports Calendar (no. 2) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!