TSX REPORT: Lima edges Asuncion to land 2027 Pan Am Games; WADA celebrates 25 years, but still worried about Russia; volleyball wins social rankings

Panam Sports President Neven Ilic announces Lima as the host for the 2027 Pan American Games (Photo: Panam Sports).

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1. Lima wins tight vote to host 2027 Pan American Games
2. Lyles: “being Black in America … it’s not easy”
3. WADA salutes 25 years, celebrates drug seizures, wary of Russians
4. World Friendship Games, Enhanced Games worry WADA
5. Volleyball tops “Sport on Social” rankings again

● At the Panam Sports Extraordinary General Assembly held mostly online Tuesday, Lima won hosting rights for the 2027 Pan American Games by 28-24 over Asuncion, whose presentation marked it as a future host.

● Noah Lyles told Fox News Digital that “being Black in America, there’s a lot to deal with. I’m not going to go into everything, but it’s not easy.” But he is devoted to working to expand interest in track & field.

● The World Anti-Doping Agency celebrated its 25th birthday at its Annual Symposium, in Lausanne, Switzerland. President Witold Banka especially praised increasing cooperation with law enforcement, as recently seen in the interdiction of 16 tons of prohibited drugs in Poland!

● WADA officials also sounded the alarm on the forthcoming, Russian-run World Friendship Games and commercially-developed Enhanced Games as events to be wary of, not only for illegal doping, but for health risks as well. New rules which would allow investigation and sanctions against coaches, therapists and physicians should also be looked into in the aftermath of the Valieva case.

● The annual Redtorch “Sport on Social” rankings are out for 2024, with Volleyball World again at the top of the list, with World Athletics moving up to no. 2.

Panorama: Russia (2: Matytsin says if athletes are qualified, they should go to Paris; five Russians now qualified in Taekwondo) = U.S. (AAU Sullivan Award voting now open) = Athletics (2: remember Quincy Wilson; AIU suspends another Kenyan) = Football (ESPND audience in for CONCACAF W Gold Cup) ●

Lima wins tight vote to host 2027 Pan American Games

In what turned to be a very close vote, the 40 National Olympic Committees voting online on Tuesday to select the new host for the 2027 Pan American Games, went for 2019 host Lima, Peru by 28-24 over Asuncion, Paraguay.

The Extraordinary General Assembly of Panam Sports become necessary when Barranquilla, Colombia was relieved of hosting responsibilities at the beginning of the year, after missing multiple contractual obligations, including a $4 million hosting fee payment.

The rapid replacement process ended Tuesday with strong, 40-minute presentations from both bidders, in Miami, although most of the NOC attended by video.

Peru’s National Olympic Committee President, Renzo Manyari, said Lima was “an option that will ensure extraordinary Games,” emphasizing that by choosing Lima, “we all win.” A video greeting from Peruvian President Dina Boluarte was shown and both Prime Minister Gustavo Adrianzen and Lima Mayor Rafael Lopez Aliaga made presentations. Speaking to doing the Games again in just eight years, Manyari enthused, “We will do it better!

The sports venues from 2019 are all available, as is the Pan American Village, with five additional towers to be built whether the Pan Ams were awarded or not, to increase the capacity to 8,936 beds to accommodate the new LA28 sports that will be added to the program.

The Peruvian government has guaranteed the budget of the Games at $369,152,896 U.S. The timing of the Games is flexible, with the presentation offering January, or July or the likely preferred timing of September.

The Asuncion presentation was both impressive and aggressive. After an introduction by National Olympic Committee chief Camilo Perez, Paraguayan President Santiago Pena appeared live via video from Asuncion and gave an impassioned, well-delivered pitch to the delegates, promising full government support of the overall project and the budget of $315,915,615 U.S.

Moreover, Pena stayed on through the question-and-answer session and right through the actual vote. The presentation emphasized that 92% of the venues are existing and that 80% of the competitions will be held in two large park complexes, with nearly all of the facilities within a 30-minute driving radius.

The Asuncion offer was to hold the Games in the last half of July, and a remarkable offer was made to invite all of the Pan American NOCs to a pre-Games training camp opportunity in Asuncion for eight days and up to 30 people between October 2026 and April 2027, at no cost to the NOCs for air or ground travel, lodging and meals, an investment of $1.75 million by the Paraguayan government.

The weakness of the bid was that the Pan American Village is still to be built and while it is a housing project which is going to be constructed regardless of the Games, the timeframe to be ready for 2027 requires a very tight, 24-month timetable. That may have made the difference.

But the enthusiasm and interest of Paraguay, which has never hosted the Pan American Games, but showed it was a quality candidate with the staging of the 2022 South American Games, is a clear candidate for the future.

The selection, announced by Panam Sports President Neven Ilic (CHI) in Miami at 11:59 a.m. was for 28 votes for Lima and 24 for Asuncion. Said a delighted Manyari after the vote:

“We are happy for this triumph. We will work to make everyone’s experience the best they have ever had, and they have the absolute devotion of more than 33 million Peruvians. Thanks for trusting us.”

Observed: Lima won a close vote, but Asuncion’s presentation and especially the presence of the nation’s president for most of the session, was forceful and memorable. Asuncion will host the second Junior Pan American Games in July 2025, and if successful, should get Panam Sports to consider recruiting Paraguay to host the 2031 Pan American Games without delay.

In Lima, Panam Sports has the safe hands it desires with only three years to go, with the sports venues in place, experienced staff from 2019 and a Pan American Village that it still available, although with new towers to build.

Lyles: “being Black in America … it’s not easy”

“It’s a bittersweet moment. I’m American, and I truly believe that we are the best in the world, especially when it comes to sports. We have definitely been proving that dominance. … And it feels good to add on to that collection that the U.S. is the best.”

That’s triple World Champion Noah Lyles, in an interview with Fox News Digital, but added there are contradictions:

“But at the same time, it’s with a heavy heart, because being Black in America, there’s a lot to deal with. I’m not going to go into everything, but it’s not easy. It’s hard to love the country that sometimes doesn’t love you back.

“At the same time, you always want to put your best foot forward. So, it’s a little contradicting, it’s with a heavy heart, but it still makes you feel extremely proud because you are an American.”

The story by Ryan Morik noted:

“Lyles admitted he’s thought about not participating in the sport because of his experiences, but ‘I feel I can do more good by staying in the sport and still fighting that fight and explaining my message through being in the sport.’”

And Lyles reiterated that he has big hopes for track & field

“I feel that a lot of who I am has been a brand in pushing the sport and pushing the needle. Which is something I’ve always worked towards. That’s why I have media days where I take interviews that are outside of track and field, why I take on most questions and not answer with ‘no comment.’”

“I want to be able to give my voice and my thoughts and see people look at the sport and be like, ‘Wow, I like that guy, I want to see more of him, I want to watch more of this sport.’ I don’t feel pressure from it because this is what I’ve asked for.”

WADA salutes 25 years, celebrates drug seizures, wary of Russians

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s 18th Annual Symposium, opened Tuesday in Lausanne (SUI), was a celebration of the 25th anniversary of its 1999 founding, but with a desire to do more in its fight against doping in sport.

The keynote address from President Witold Banka (POL) emphasized the continuing, close ties with law enforcement as a partner in the interception of drugs:

“One of the highlights of this entire week will be the fourth session today discussing anti-doping intelligence and investigations in Europe. In 2022, WADA won a European Union grant to strengthen [intelligence and investigations] capability of the European National Anti-Doping Organizations and Law Enforcement agencies.

“To describe this project as a success would be a massive understatement. The level of collaboration and cooperation between WADA, the [national anti-doping organizations] and law enforcement has been incredible. I do not want to give away the details ahead of that session.

“But we are talking about dozens of joint operations that have led to several TONS of performance-enhancing drugs being seized. Illegal labs smashed. Many arrests made. “Customer lists discovered and analyzed. And cheats charged with anti-doping rule violations. The details revealed later today will blow your minds.”

WADA’s I&I chief, Gunter Younger (GER), explained that 67 joint operations were carried out, notably in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Slovakia, and especially in Poland. There, 14 illicit labs were dismantled via 38 separate operations involving the Polish Anti-Doping Agency and Polish police, with a staggering 14,457 kg of prohibited substances intercepted – that’s more than 31,872 pounds – which would have yielded an estimated 288 million doses.

Younger noted that a new phase of this type of work is being opened in Australia and New Zealand.

Near the end of Banka’s remarks was an update on the Russian situation:

“I have received many questions from concerned athletes and others about Russian athletes who may be eligible to compete at the Games as neutrals. What I can tell you is they all remain subject to testing. The International Testing Agency and the various International Federations have been able to collect samples from athletes within Russia – as well as those Russians training or competing overseas. RUSADA, too, has continued to conduct the required amount of testing. All samples are transported to WADA-accredited laboratories outside the country.

“Testing information is registered within the ADAMS database and samples are being monitored via the athlete biological passport program.

“Despite this and given the history, WADA remains deeply skeptical and wary when it comes to Russia. We must remain vigilant and leave no stone unturned to ensure that all the proper education and testing has taken place in advance of Paris. When they gather on the starting line, the athletes of the world want to know that everything is fair. For that to happen, all their competitors, regardless of where they are from, must face the same pre-Games anti-doping conditions as they have. They should know that the system is protecting them. To achieve this, Anti-Doping Organizations must use every available tool. This includes blood and urine testing, the Athlete Biological Passport, and intelligence and investigations, as well as all our education resources.”

Russian response to Banka’s comments was swift, from Dmitry Svishchev, Chair of the State Duma Committee on Physical Culture and Sports:

“WADA is still telling scare stories about Russia. Special vigilance, some kind of fear and other statements about Russian sport have not been applicable for a long time. But WADA needs to continue to justify its existence and the budgets that countries allocate to them. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the ‘sensational investigations’ that Mr. Banka promises.”

RUSADA Director General Veronika Loginova brushed the comments aside:

“RUSADA is implementing an anti-doping program at the highest level. At the moment, the agency has not been restored for reasons beyond RUSADA’s control. But this does not in any way affect the doping control process. We are open to monitoring by WADA at any time and in any form, because they are confident in the integrity of the anti-doping system on the territory of the Russian Federation.”

During his remarks, Banka also confirmed that both he and WADA Vice President Yang Yang (CHN) would run for third and final terms of office when their current mandate expires in 2025.

World Friendship Games, Enhanced Games worry WADA

There was more from Monday’s WADA Executive Committee meeting prior to the Annual Symposium, with concerns again raised over forthcoming multi-sport events in Russia, and the doping-encouraged “Enhanced Games” being promoted for 2025:

“[T]he ExCo members, including those representing athletes, the Sport Movement, and the Governments of the world, expressed their ongoing concerns about Russia’s plans to stage the Friendship Games, an unsanctioned event, in September 2024. In particular, it is of concern that as the event will not take place under the protection of the World Anti-Doping Code, the health of and fairness for athletes may be compromised.

“WADA urges all Code Signatories to exercise caution and not legitimize this event as the Agency cannot vouch for the anti-doping program that may or may not be in place. This position is reinforced by the fact that Russia’s National Anti-Doping Agency is currently non-compliant with the Code, there is currently no WADA-accredited laboratory in Russia and overall trust in the anti-doping system in Russia remains low.”

As for the Enhanced Games, which has been pilloried by the International Olympic Committee and multiple International Federations:

“The ExCo was united in condemning the ‘Enhanced Games’ as a dangerous and irresponsible concept. The health and well-being of athletes is WADA’s number-one priority. Clearly this event would jeopardize both by promoting the use of potentially harmful substances and methods.

“As we have seen through history, performance-enhancing drugs have taken a terrible physical and mental toll on many athletes. Some have died. The ExCo stressed WADA’s position on this subject, warning athletes and support personnel, who wish to participate in clean sport, that if they were to take part, they would risk committing Anti-Doping Rule Violations under the Code.

“To be clear, WADA will encourage Anti-Doping Organizations worldwide to test involved athletes before, during and after this event, in order to protect the integrity of legitimate sport.”

In an interview with The Associated Press, WADA Director General Olivier Niggli (CAN) explained that while the case of Russian teen figure skater Kamila Valieva resulted in a four-year doping sanction, the issue of who led her to take a prohibited substance has not been addressed:

“It is clear that the taste of this case is very unpleasant when you see that there was a choice made to sacrifice an athlete rather than indicating who actually helped her dope.”

Niggli was clear that evidence pointing to Valieva’s coach was not present, and that it might have been a team physician or a physical therapist who might have been involved. But, WADA will need to formulate new regulations which will more comprehensively deal with athlete entourages as well as the athletes themselves.

WADA President Banka added:

“We think the athlete didn’t take this substance alone, it was not her initiative. She faced the consequences.”

“It is never nice when we see the athlete punished and we feel that someone who was really responsible for it from Russia is free of charge.

“Maybe this case shows how important it is that we have to improve in the anti-doping system. We are doing it now.”

Volleyball tops “Sport on Social” rankings again

The latest survey of Olympic-sport federations on the leading social-media sites again showed Volleyball World, the joint venture between the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and CVC Capital Partners as the top-ranked federation.

The eight edition of the “Sport on Social” report by British research, content and creative agency Redtorch had the Volleyball World sites on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X and YouTube earned a combined ranking of 96.6 points out of 100 in a rankings comparison across the platforms. The top 10 of 42:

1. 96.6: Volleyball World (no. 1 in 2023)
2. 94.2: World Athletics (no. 3 in 2023)
3. 93.3: FIBA (basketball; no. 4 in 2023)
4. 90.5: World Rugby (no. 6 in 2023)
5. 88.5: World Aquatics (no. 7 in 2023)
6. 85.8: FIFA (football; no. 2 in 2023)
7. 80.6: United World Wrestling (no. 9 in 2023)
8. 78.4: UCI (cycling; no. no. 8 in 2023)
9. 73.2: World Table Tennis (no. 12 in 2023)
10. 72.7: Badminton World Federation (no. 5 in 2023)

With cricket added to the 2028 Los Angeles Games, the International Cricket Council was added to the rankings and debuted at no. 11 (72.6). The World Baseball-Softball Confederation was at no. 24 and the new LA28 sports of Lacrosse (31st) and Squash (32nd) were also included.

In terms of the top performers on the individual platforms:

Facebook: World Aquatics, World Athletics, Int’l Cricket Council
Instagram: FIBA (basketball), World Athletics, Volleyball World
Tiktok: World Rugby, Volleyball World, United World Wrestling
X: Volleyball World, FIBA (basketball), World Athletics
YouTube: Volleyball World, World Athletics, World Rugby

The relative weighting of the leading platforms is also interesting, with Instagram at 25%, Facebook, YouTube and Tiktok all at 20% and X (ex-Twitter) at 15%. However, the number of total Olympic-sport (that is, International Federation) fans on these platforms differs wildly, with Facebook still the leader with a cumulative total of 167.7 million, then Instagram at 108.4 million, X at 60.3 million, YouTube at 51.3 million and TikTok at 44.5 million.

Jacopo Briatore (ITA) of World Aquatics offered this advice on building their top-ranked Facebook presence:

“I would say, embrace your athletes and experiment with different types of content. Athletes are the stars of every IF: building relationships with them and working together offers the chance to provide your audience with something they won’t be able to see on TV. Experimenting with content can also have great results.

“As we have seen, the best results sometimes come from content that is not necessarily performance- or competition-related but from something the community can relate to.”


● Russia ● Nothing has happened yet, but it will happen soon. Russian sports minister Oleg Matytsin said Tuesday that recommendations from the ministry and the Russian Olympic Committee on participation at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris are coming:

“Regarding the anthem and flag in Paris: the situation is unlikely to change, and the International Olympic Committee will change its regulations on the admission of Russian and Belarusian athletes.

“The IOC Executive Board will meet in the near future, this issue will certainly be raised there, the position of the ministry remains the same: this is a violation of athlete rights, a violation of the Olympic Charter, which states the inadmissibility of discrimination and violation of rights. Legally, our position remains the same: we will seek the return [of the flag and anthem].

“In the very near future, on instructions from the President, together with the federations, we will present our recommendations for participation in the Olympic Games, but here, from my point of view, it is difficult to find the same approach for all federations, because international federations also approach differently.

“My opinion is this: those athletes who have won the right to participate will participate, but decisions will be made individually by athletes and coaches. For us, in any case, they are Russian athletes.”

In Taekwondo, a sport which has re-admitted Russian athletes and been criticized as insufficiently considering war support by some of them, four more Russians qualified for Paris 2024 at the European Qualifier in Sofia (BUL) last weekend.

Georgii Gurtsiev qualified in the men’s 58 kg class, Tokyo Olympic champ Maksim Khramtsov in the men’s 80 kg, Tokyo bronze medalist Tatiana Minina in the women’s 57 kg, and 2023 Worlds bronze winner Polina Khan in the women’s +67 kg division.

Tokyo Olympic +80 kg gold medalist Vladislav Larin previously qualified through the Grand Slam Series rankings.

While World Taekwondo has confirmed their qualification status for Paris, each athlete’s behavior vis-a-vis the invasion of Ukraine will also be reviewed by the IOC.

● United States ● The finalists for the 94th AAU James E. Sullivan Award have been confirmed and voting is now open, with a history-making choice a significant possibility. The award, first presented in 1930, honors the outstanding collegiate or Olympic athlete in the U.S.; the 2024 choices include:

Caitlin Clark (basketball): the spectacular Iowa women’s scoring star who set records for the most points in a college career.

David Taylor (wrestling): three-time World Champion in the Freestyle 86 kg class, taking his third Worlds gold in 2023.

Emery Lehman (speed skating): three-time Olympian and a Beijing 2022 bronze medalist in the Team Pursuit.

Fred Richard (gymnastics): Three-time NCAA champion for Michigan in 2023, including the All-Around title and the Team and All-Around Worlds bronze medalist in 2023. He will turn 20 on 23 April, the date of the awards ceremony in New York.

Madisen Skinner (volleyball): dominating outside hitter and a three-time NCAA champion, first at Kentucky in 2020 and then at Texas in 2022 and 2023, and named Most Outstanding at the 2023 NCAA Final Four as well as All-American.

Noah Jaffe (para swimming): born with spastic, quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which primarily affects his legs and right arm, he won four medals at the 2023 World Para Swimming Champs, including a gold in the men’s S8 100 m Freestyle.

Clark will be an overwhelming favorite to repeat and make more history as the first person to win two Sullivan Awards.

Voting opened on Tuesday and continues through 19 March; anyone can vote once per day at https://bit.ly/94thsullivanfinalists.

● Athletics ● Keep this name in mind, probably not for Paris in 2024, but for Los Angeles in 2028: Quincy Wilson.

He set the New Balance Nationals on fire last weekend in Boston with an indoor high school record in the men’s 400 m at 45.76, breaking the 45.92 mark by Elzie Coleman from 2004. The sophomore – yes, sophomore – from Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland also anchored his 4×400 m relay team to a high school record of 3:11.87 with a 46.87 leg, winning by nearly six seconds!

The Athletics Integrity Unit announced yet another Kenyan doping ban, with Winnie Jemutai, 20, suspended for three years for testosterone use, from 12 November 2023. She won the women’s World Junior 1,500 m bronze medal in 2021 and has bests of 4:09.62 for 1,500 m and 14:39.05 for 5,000 m.

Former Kenyan Rosemary Katua, now running for Bahrain, 27, and already having served one doping suspension from 2017-20, was banned for four more years, from 19 December 2023 for the use of Triamcinolone acetonide. Shehas run 33:27 for the road 10 km, and 1:13:14 for the Half Marathon.

● Football ● The final of the CONCACAF W Gold Cup between Brazil and the U.S. drew 280,000 on ESPND on Sunday, supporting Spanish-language viewers and English speakers who were not Paramount+ subscribers.

The game drew a modest 53,000 in the 18-34 demographic, in the 8 p.m. Eastern time slot.

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