★ The Sports Examiner: Surveying, monitoring and explaining the key competitive, economic and political forces shaping elite sport and the Olympic Movement. ★
★ Want TheSportsExaminer.com insights for your team? Yes! Click here for information on speaking, research and consulting from the editor, Rich Perelman. ★
★ To get The Sports Examiner by e-mail: sign up here! ★
≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. Kipchoge lowers own world marathon mark to 2:01:09 in Berlin
2. International Boxing Association keeps Kremlev as President
3. Cornelius Johnson’s Olympic Oak finally being cared for
4. AIU names seven countries on competition manipulation watch list
5. Curling, Luge ban Russia and Belarus for remainder of 2022
The amazing Eliud Kipchoge did it again in Berlin Marathon, breaking his own world record with a fantastic 2:01:09 victory on Sunday, taking 30 seconds off his 2018 mark in the same race. Women’s winner Tigist Assefa of Ethiopia set a national record of 2:15:37, the no. 3 performance of all time. At a special Congress in Armenia, the International Boxing Association backed incumbent President Umar Kremlev of Russia by 106-36, turning down a chance for a re-vote. The International Olympic Committee, which has not included boxing in the 2028 Olympic program, said it was “extremely concerned” over the proceedings. In Los Angeles, the Olympic Oak at the former home of Berlin 1936 gold medalist Cornelius Johnson is now being watered and cared for while the City Council decides whether to declare the home and the tree a Historic-Cultural Monument. The Athletics Integrity Unit named seven countries to a “Competition Manipulation Watch List,” including five former Soviet Republics, Albania and Turkey. The World Curling Federation and the Federation Internationale de Luge joined the biathlon federation in extending their bans on Russian athletes from their competitions through the end of 2023. In Australia, Annemiek van Vleuten (NED) and Remco Evenepoel (BEL) won the UCI World Road Championships for women and men.
Kipchoge lowers own world marathon mark to 2:01:09 in Berlin
He did it again!
Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, already the greatest marathoner in history, smashed his own world record on his favorite course at Sunday’s 48th Berlin Marathon, winning in 2:01:09.
Now 37, Kipchoge was in the lead right from the start, passing 10 km in 28:23, the half in 59:51 and 30 km in 1:25:40. His only companion after 15 km was Ethiopian Andamlak Belihu, a 2:09:43 man from 2021.
The two were together through 25 km, then Kipchoge sailed away, forging a 31-second lead by 30 km and 2:04 by 35 km. Belihu tired and fell back in the last 5 km and Kipchoge motored on to shatter his world mark from the 2018 Berlin Marathon (2:01:39) by 30 seconds.
Kenyan Mark Korir took over second place, finishing in a seasonal best 2:05:58, followed by Tadu Abate (ETH: 2:06:28 season’s best), Belihu (2:06:40 lifetime best) and Abel Kipchumba (KEN: 2:06:49 lifetime best).
Kipchoge’s greatness cannot be overstated. He has run 17 career marathons and won 15, including two Olympic titles and now, four Berlin Marathons to go along with four London Marathon wins. He has run four of the five fastest marathons in history and five of the top 13 performances ever. His top-10 marathons average 2:03:08, a time only seven others have ever run even once!
Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa, a first-year marathoner who had run 2:34:01 in her debut in March, ran away in the women’s race to win in 2:15:37, the world leader in 2022 and the third-fastest women’s marathon in history!
The lead pack was down to five by the 20 km mark, with Assefa in the lead over Vibian Chepkirui (KEN). They passed the half in 1:08:13 and then Assefa surged after 30 km and had a 19-second lead over Tigist Abayechew (ETH) as Chepkirui fell back. Assefa was all alone at the finish, winning by 2:23 over Kenyan Rosemary Wanjiru (2:18:00, now no. 15 all-time), with Ayabechew third (2:18:03, no. 16 all-time), and Ethiopian Workenesh Edesa fourth in 2:18:51. American record holder Keira D’Amato worked her way up from 13th at the half to finish sixth in 2:21:48, her second-fastest time ever.
Athens 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor of the U.S., now 49, finished a very creditable 42nd in 2:45:12, her fastest since 2015!
International Boxing Association keeps Kremlev as President
Russian Umar Kremlev was easily confirmed as the President of the International Boxing Association at an Extraordinary Congress in Yerevan (ARM), receiving 75% of the vote on the initial question of whether a new election should be held.
Kremlev was confirmed as President in May after his only challenger, Dutch Boxing Federation President Boris van der Vorst, had been disqualified just prior to the vote. In June, the Court of Arbitration for Sport reversed the decision to keep van der Vorst out and a special Congress was called to decide whether an actual vote for President was to be taken and, of so, to decide between Kremlev and van der Vorst.
It never got that far. The IBA delegates rejected a new vote for President by 106-36, with four abstentions. Said Kremlev in a statement:
“I thank National Federations for their trust. This is the full stop in all governance issues within IBA, Congress showed its will clearly in a transparent manner. I respect the decision of our National Federations and will do everything possible to support them, as well as our athletes and coaches.
“I want to send a clear message today. IBA is an independent and strong organization. Our Congress has proved today that we are on a right track. Now I will present a 4-years development plan today at the Board of Directors meeting. I have a clear vision of what we have to do to achieve our goals.”
On Friday, the IBA took action against Ukraine in a thinly-veiled action with reference to the continuing Russian invasion:
“The Ukrainian Boxing Federation was temporarily suspended, due to the interference of the government in the work of the national federation. The suspension will be revoked if the conditions are met – the autonomy of the federation and recognition by Ukrainian authorities of the election that took place on 17 December 2021.
“This decision will not affect Ukrainian athletes, and IBA will take all necessary steps to ensure the participation of Ukrainian athletes in the competitions. IBA will fully support, including financially, the Ukrainian boxing team in its participation in international competitions. Mr. Volodymyr Prodyvus is appointed to be the IBA coordinator of the boxers affiliated with the Ukrainian Boxing Federation in respect of their participation in the competitions.”
The International Olympic Committee, which has excluded boxing from its initial list of sports for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, told InsideTheGames:
“The IOC is extremely concerned about the Extraordinary Congress of the International Boxing Association. Amongst other concerns, this includes the fact that there was no election, but only a vote not to hold an election, and the fact that the recognised Ukrainian National Boxing Federation was suspended shortly before the IBA Congress for disputed reasons, and additionally the chaotic circumstances of the voting procedure.”
Initially, 97 delegations were present and 30 more were attending online (127 total). However, after a power outage that lasted an hour, a test vote showed 152 federations present, with no explanation other than they were late. Votes were recorded from 146 federations.
Kremlev made some pointed remarks at the end of the Congress, aimed right at the IOC, including (spoken in Russian; in English per the interpreter):
“I am working for you, not a side organization. … We are saying today that we are an independent organization, that we are here to protect our IBA that we all love. And we shouldn’t say ‘Olympic boxing,’ we should say ‘IBA boxing.’ We have to get to the point where boxing will be part of the Olympic Games in 2024 as well as 2028. We’ll do our best, with the team and with you, and no one can exclude us from anywhere. …
“The most important should be the World Series [of Boxing], however, because for the IBA and the boxers this is our house … this is what we will do; as an organization, should be the most important for us. …
“Today, I have heard in this hall, a couple of expressions, ‘what will happen with boxing when it comes to Olympic Games’? We will join our forces, we will do a great job and we will defend the name of boxing to be part of the Olympic program, but this will not be the only thing we will do. Most importantly, we have to protect the interests of the IBA, our own organization. … Our World Series must become the important competitions.”
Kremlev also chastised the IOC for its support of former AIBA President C.K. Wu (TPE), who was elected to the IOC Executive Board in 2012 and ran for the IOC Presidency in 2013. He resigned his IOC membership in 2020, three years after resigning his AIBA Presidency in the face of financial mismanagement allegations, later shown to be quite correct. Said Kremlev:
“Wu, four or five years back, he was a Board member of the IOC. Let’s tell the truth. … [the McLaren Global Sports Solutions investigation] showed to the entire world community that corruption into boxing and bad governance were introduced by Mr. Wu and actually led the organization to bankruptcy. So, they [IOC] are silent about him. Let them terminate his membership [sic].”
Cornelius Johnson’s Olympic Oak finally being cared for
The Los Angeles City Council has not yet taken any action on the 4 August recommendation of the Cultural Heritage Commission to declare the Cornelius Johnson Residence and Olympic Oak as a Historic-Cultural Monument, but there has been a critical, positive development.
The West Adams Heritage Association, which has been supporting the designation of the site as a monument, reports that while the procedural steps are continuing:
“The real next step will be to find a willing buyer who will preserve the tree and the property. We recently learned that there’s been some progress there too. The head of the [City of Los Angeles] Historic Resources Department, Ken Bernstein, arranged with specialists from the Huntington Gardens to install irrigation lines, at their own initiative and cost, and do what they [can] to monitor and save the tree.”
Johnson’s Olympic Oak, planted upon his return from the Berlin 1936 Games, where he won the men’s high jump, has been in difficulty for some months due to lack of care. The expert opinions expressed at the last Cultural Heritage Commission meeting was that the tree needed care within the following 4-10 weeks, or could die. Happily, it is now getting that care.
AIU names seven countries on competition manipulation
It’s not a good thing to be singled out as a potential cheater, but that’s exactly what the Athletics Integrity Unit did on Friday:
“Seven Member Federations have been placed on the new Competition Manipulation Watch List following an investigation of suspicious competition results conducted by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). …
“Please note that this decision reflects the high degree of risk of results manipulation within the Member Federation’s territory and not the conduct of individual officials or specific cases.”
The “Competition Manipulation Watch List” now includes:
The follow-on to being listed is that no results from meets “hosted by these federations” will be recognized, excepting the national championships (under certain conditions) and World Athletics Series events.
In addition, 11 athletes who competed in the World Championships, World Junior Championships, World Youth Championships or World Cross Country Championships between 2001 and 2013 had their results nullified due to age manipulation. Nine were two old and two were too young; the offending athletes were from Saudi Arabia (5), China (2), Morocco (2), Ethiopia (2) and one each from China and Eritrea.
Curling, Luge ban Russia and Belarus for remainder of 2022
The World Curling Federation Board met Friday and, with new powers to remove a team “if in the sole opinion of the Board their presence at the event would damage the event or put the safety of the participants or the good order of the event at risk,” exercised that power:
“During that Board meeting, the decision was taken to not allow teams from Russia or Belarus to participate in any World Curling Federation competitions until 31 December 2022. …
“The Board are continually monitoring Member Association and athlete concerns relating to the conflict in Ukraine and reserve the right to revisit their decision if required.”
On Saturday, the Federation Internationale de Luge (FIL) Executive Board announced:
“Because of reasons for the safety and security for the athletes, it was decided that the Russian athletes and their support team, are temporarily suspended from participating in FIL sanctioned events. The FIL will be closely monitoring the situation and will react as conditions evolve.”
These sanctions follow the International Biathlon Union Congress’s decision on 16 September to continue the suspensions of the Russian and Belarusian national federations by 40-1 and to maintain the ban against Russian and Belarusian athletes in international events “until further notice” by 39-2.
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Basketball ● The FIBA Women’s World Cup in Sydney (AUS) has been good so far for the U.S. women, who entered with a 22-game winning streak over the prior four tournaments.
After beating Belgium and routing Puerto Rico, the U.S. women dispatched China, 77-63 on Saturday, with a 44-25 lead at halftime and then holding on in the second half. Forward A’ja Wilson led the Americans with 20 points, guard Chelsea Gray had 12 and forward Alyssa Thomas had 12 also. Guard Meng Li had 21 points for China.
On Monday, the U.S. rolled to a 4-0 record in Group A, taking a 68-40 halftime lead (on 64% from the field) over South Korea and finishing with a 145-69 crusher. The U.S. shot 66% from the field and had eight players score in double figures, led by center Brionna Jones with 24, Wilson with 20 and guard Kelsey Plum with 19.
The 145 points was the most ever scored in a Women’s World Cup game, surpassing Brazil’s 1990 group-stage win over Malaysia, 143-50.
The American women will have a final group-stage game against winless Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday, then move into the quarterfinals on the 29th.
In Group B, Canada leads with a 3-0 record, with one game to play, and France and Australia are both 2-1. Canada and Australia will meet on Monday.
● Cycling ● The UCI World Road Championships in Wollongong (AUS) concluded over the weekend, with an amazing Road Race victory for the women’s cyclist of the year, Annemiek van Vleuten.
After fracturing her elbow in a chain malfunction and resulting crash during the Mixed Team Time Trial, van Vleuten hardly figured to win her second title, after taking the victory in 2019. Add in a rain storm over the mostly flat, 164.3 km route from Helensburgh to Woolongong, and everyone was going to have a hard day.
Van Vleuten caught up to a group of five leaders with less than 1,000 m to go and powered ahead, taking the sprinters by surprise and winning by one second over Lotte Kopecky (BEL: 2nd) and Silvia Persico (ITA: 3rd), among others.
The men’s road championship followed a similar route, but 266.9 km and 12 loops, vs. six in the women’s race. An early breakaway was caught and 19 riders were in a lead pack with three laps to go, then Vuelta a Espana winner Remco Evenepoel (BEL) continued his dream season by taking the lead with Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) for company. But then Evenepoel went solo and no one could follow. He had a 46-second lead entering the final lap and won in 6:16:08, 2:21 ahead of a 27-rider group led by Christophe Laporte (FRA) and Michael Matthews (AUS). Neilson Powless was the top American, in 18th.
Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel, 27, abandoned the race after about 40 km, following his overnight arrest for a disturbance at his hotel. He told the Belgian site Sporza:
“It was about noisy neighbors and they are quite strict here.
“I went to bed early and many children in the hallway of my room found it necessary to knock on the door. After a few times I was done with it. I did not kindly ask to stop. Then the police were called.
“I wasn’t back in my room until 4 o’clock. That’s certainly not ideal. It’s a disaster, but I can’t change anything anymore. I’m trying to make the best of it. It is on little sleep that I will race, hopefully on adrenaline.”
He was ordered to appear in court this week on two counts of common assault, but was granted conditional bail to be able to race.
● Rowing ● Five Olympic champions came up golden at the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Racice (CZE), winning at the first rowing Worlds held since 2019.
In the men’s racing, the Tokyo-winning Double Sculls team of Hugo Boucheron and Matthieu Androdias (FRA) won decisively over Spain’s Aleix Garcia and Rodrigo Conde, 6:09.34 to 6:10.52. The Lightweight Double Sculls champions, Ireland’s Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan were easy winners over Tokyo bronze medalists Pietro Ruta and Stefano Oppo (ITA), 6:16.46-6:19.11. It was the second Worlds golds for both of the winning duos.
Three Tokyo winners triumphed in the women’s division. Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis (ROU) was clear winners, 6:47.77 to 6:51.02 over Roos de Jong and Laila Youssifou (NED) in the Double Sculls, and China, with the same team as in Tokyo, won the Quadruple Sculls.
In Pairs, New Zealand’s Grace Pendergast and Kerri (Gowler) Williams won their third World title, well ahead of Ymkje Clevering and Veronique Meister (NED), 7:03.76 to 7:06.02. The American team of Madeleine Wanamaker and Claire Collins on the bronze, in 7:08.03.
Germany’s Oliver Zeidler won his second World title in the men’s Single Sculls, while Romania’s Marius Cozmiuc and Sergiu Bejan moved up from Tokyo silver to Worlds gold in Pairs. Poland won the Quadruple Sculls and Great Britain dominated the Fours and Eights, with the U.S. fourth in the Eights final.
Karolien Florijn (NED) finally got to the top of the podium in the women’s Single Sculls, defeating Olympic champ Emma Twigg (NZL), 7:31.66-7:34.03. Florijn had won Worlds medals before – a 2018 bronze in the Quad Sculls and a 2019 silver in Fours – but was all alone for gold this time.
Great Britain won the Fours easily and Romania took the women’s Eights, with the U.S. fourth. Britain’s Emily Craig and Imogen Grant moved up from bronze in 2019 to the top of the podium, winning over Mary Reckford and Michelle Sechser (USA), 6:54.78 to 6:57.92.
The U.S. also won a silver from Solveig Imsdahl and Elaine Tierney in the non-Olympic Lightweight Pairs.
● Surfing ● Kirra Pinkerton won the first World Surfing Games title by an American since 2016 in Saturday’s final at Huntington Beach, California. Pinkerton scored 13.63 in the final to win over 2016 Worlds silver winner Pauline Ado (FRA: 13.00), 2021 World Champion Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS: 11.60) and Daniella Rosas (PER: 9.20).
Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), the 2021 Tokyo silver medalist, won the men’s final, scoring 15.96 to 14.04 for first-time medalist Rio Waida (INA), 11.67 for Australian Jackson Baker and Portugal’s Guilherme Fonseca (9.36). American Nat Young finished fifth.
The winning men’s and women’s teams won a quota place for the Paris 2024 Games, with Japan taking the men’s title at 1,835 points with the U.S. second (1,555), and the American women winning their division with 1,880 points in a tight finish with Australia (1,815). The U.S. won the overall team title, with 3,435 points to 3,250 for Australia.
● Volleyball ● The FIVB Women’s World Championship is underway in the Netherlands and Poland, with 24 teams playing in four groups to qualify for a second group phase.
The U.S. – the Tokyo Olympic gold medalist – is in Pool C and won its opening match in Arnhem (NED) vs. Kazakhstan, 25-16, 25-13, 25-22, and will play again on Monday vs. Canada. Pool play will continue through 2 October.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Olympic Games 2020: Tokyo ● The Tokyo 2020 sponsorship bribery scandal continues to expand, with Sun Arrow, Inc., the stuffed-toy licensee, now suspected of paying Tokyo 2020 Executive Board member Haruyuki Takahashi “several million yen.”
Sun Arrow is the fourth company identified as a possible payer of money to Takahashi, 78, or a firm run by a former Dentsu associate for the purpose of obtaining selection as a sponsor or licensee (or both) of the now-closed Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.
● National Olympic Committees ● The Indian Olympic Association has been warned by the IOC that it must resolve its election issues quickly in order to avoid suspension. To this end, the Indian Supreme Court appointed former judge L. Nageswara Rao to help prepare amendments to the IOA constitution to bring into line with the national sports code (along with the Olympic Charter) and to hold elections by December 15, 2022.
The IOC selected Mumbai as the site for its 2023 Session, but the date has been pushed back from May or June to September or October to allow the IOA to solve its governance issues, or, alternatively, to find a new site.
● World Anti-Doping Agency ● During Friday’s meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Executive Committee in Australia, the 2023 Prohibited List, with two significant decisions:
● Tramadol, an opiate which has been an issue in cycling since 2019, was determined to be prohibited in competition beginning in 2024:
“The delay in implementation is to provide an additional year for broad communication and education of athletes, their entourage and medical personnel so that there is a better understanding of the practical implementation of tramadol prohibition in competition. …
“Tramadol has been on the WADA Monitoring Program and data gathered through that program have indicated significant use in sports. Tramadol abuse, with its dose-dependent risks of physical dependence, opiate addiction and overdoses in the general population, is of concern and has led to it being a controlled drug in many countries. Research studies funded by WADA have also confirmed the potential for tramadol to enhance sports performance.”
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency calls the drug a “narcotic painkiller … that is both powerful and dangerous.”
● Marijuana, and specifically the ingredient delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was maintained on the banned list based on a comprehensive review.
However, WADA Director General Olivier Niggli (SUI) acknowledged: “The question of how THC should be dealt with in a sporting context is not straightforward.” Nevertheless, the WADA expert panel which has been reviewing its status since September 2021 felt it should be maintained on the banned list in the specific circumstances now specified:
“THC is prohibited in competition only, and only when the urinary concentration exceeds a threshold of 150 ng/mL. This threshold was increased in 2013 from 15 ng/mL. As such, the high level of cannabis required to trigger an Adverse Analytical Finding in competition today would be consistent with a significantly impaired athlete or a frequent user. Further, the inclusion of the ‘Substance of Abuse’ provision in the Code from 2021 significantly reduced the length of suspension from a potential two (or even four) years previously to as low as one month today for athletes who can establish that the THC use occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sport performance.” (Emphasis added)
WADA reported that 138 convictions from the 2011-15 Russian doping program have been made, out of a total of 810 cases opened, most of which are continuing. The cases all stem from the review of the data and samples retrieved from the infamous Moscow Laboratory in 2019.
● Football ● The U.S. Men’s National Team logged a desultory, even depressing, performance in its next-to-last friendly prior to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with a 2-0 loss to Japan in Dusseldorf (GER) on Friday.
Striker Daichi Kamada scored on a curling shot around U.S. keeper Matt Turner in the 24th minute for the only first-half score, and midfielder Kaoru Mitoma scored the final goal in the 88th with a left-to-right shot after advancing down the left side.
The Americans had 58% of the possession in the game, but were out-shot by 16-4. While Turner made six saves to keep the U.S. in it, the offense managed not a single shot on goal. The Japanese out-muscled the U.S., committing 16 fouls, but it worked. Said U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter:
“We need to play with personality. We need to play relaxed. We need to play with intensity. When we do these things, we’re a really good team, but when we don’t, we’re an average team. … We performed below expectations. We weren’t up to our normal standards. And that’s almost across the board.”
The U.S. will play its final warm-up match on Tuesday (27th) against Saudi Arabia in Murcia, Spain at 2 p.m. Eastern time.
● Gymnastics ● The fourth of six legs in the FIG Artistic Apparatus World Challenge Cup series was in Paris on Saturday and Sunday, with U.S. women winning three of the four events.
Tokyo Olympic Floor Ex champ Jade Carey won the Vault at 14.375, ahead of teammate and Olympic Team silver medalist Jordan Chiles (14.025). Shilese Jones, the U.S. Uneven Bars national champion, won again, scoring 14.700, with Chiles fifth (13.750).
On Beam, France’s Marine Boyer and Carey had the same score – 13.750 – but Boyer won due to a higher score for execution. Jones was fifth at 13.400. Chiles and Jones were 1-2 on Floor, scoring 14.050 and 13.500.
The American men also scored well, with Donnell Whittenburg, a two-time Worlds medalist, winning bronze on the Rings (14.600), behind Turkey’s Adem Asil (14.800). Asil also won on Vault, scoring (14.725).
U.S. All-Around champ Brody Malone and Whittenburg were 2-3 on the Parallel Bars, scoring 14.600 and 14.200 behind Brazil’s 2019 Pan Am All-Around champ Caio Souza (14.700). Malone won the Horizontal Bar final, scoring 14.640.
Ireland’s Eamon Montgomery won on Floor at 14.250 and teammate Rhys McClenaghan won on Pommel Horse, scoring 15.100.
The 2022 series has two more stops, in Hungary at the end of the month and Turkey in early October.
For our updated, 620-event International Sports Calendar for 2022 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!