TSX REPORT: Mahuchikh’s world-record joy fades over Russian attacks; Paris 2024 megastore open; attendance records for Copa and Euro ‘24

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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡

1. Mahuchikh’s joyless world record, due to the war
2. Giant Paris 2024 store opens with 1,000 items on sale
3. Tygart maintains pressure on WADA in new video
4. Attendance records already at Copa America and Euro 2024
5. Russia’s Friendship Games names new CEO

● Ukrainian high jump star was over the moon – almost literally – after her world record on Sunday at the Meeting de Paris, but was joyless on Monday after a Russian missile hit the largest children’s hospital in Kyiv.

● The Paris 2024 “megastore” has opened in the middle of the city, offering 1,000 items and open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through September! Lots to choose from, including something special for watching the Games day and night!

● U.S. Anti-Doping Agency head Travis Tygart continues to pressure the World Anti-Doping Agency on the 2021 positives for 23 Chinese swimmers in a nearly five-minute video sent to U.S. athletes. He said that the WADA-commissioned report on the incident and WADA’s response is due this week.

● Attendance records are being set at both the Copa America in the U.S. and the UEFA Euro 2024 tournament in Germany as the semifinals ramp up on Tuesday and Wednesday. Argentina meets Canada on Tuesday and Spain and France square off in the first set of semis.

Panorama: Russia (IOC’s Tarpischev says Russian athletes should go to Paris) = Football (UEFA expands rule for only captains to speak with referees) ●

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.
Mahuchikh’s joyless world record, due to the war

Sunday’s spectacular resumption of the Diamond League at the Meeting de Paris featured two world records, the first coming from Ukraine’s 22-year-old women’s high jump World Champion, Yaroslava Mahuchikh.

She cleared 2.10 m (6-10 3/4) to break Bulgarian Stefka Kostadinova’s 1987 world record of 2.09 m (6-10 1/4), the third of three world marks by Kostadinova in 1986 and 1987. Mahuchikh skied over on her first try and was visibly jubilant at the achievement. She said a few minutes later:

“I feel fantastic because it was an incredible jump, and I managed to do it in my first attempt. It was really incredible, even more so because I only jumped 2.07 [6-9 1/2] at my second attempt, and it was already my personal best.

“My coach told me that maybe I should stop because of the Olympic Games coming up – of course that is more important – but I felt inside I could do it, and, to be honest, I wanted to try the World Record . And I did it at my first attempt.

“Of course we have been doing a lot of work with my coaches, a lot of hard work, also to recover from a small injury before the European Championships. Now that I am healthy, I am ready to fight, and I broke my own national record here in Paris where people have been very supportive. I am looking forward to the Olympic Games here.

“I am sure it will be a great competition, and even better atmosphere, but I know it will be hard, and will be very competitive. A major event like the Olympics you really need to be mentally strong, and like my coach says, it is a celebration and you should definitely enjoy it.”

A day later, however, her tone was more somber, with the Italian news service ANSA publishing a post from her social media, where she posted a photograph of Monday’s Russian bombing of Kiev, including the Okhmatdyt children’s hospital. Mahuchikh wrote:

“No record can give me joy while Russia attacks my country, every day, while it kills our soldiers and takes the lives of children and parents.

“Russia is a terrorist. What more proof is needed? Ukraine needs help to win this war and protect the world from its consequences.”

One aspect of the Paris Olympic Games in Mahuchikh’s favor is that World Athletics has banned Russian and Belarusian athletes; none will compete in track & field.

2.
Giant Paris 2024 store opens with 1,000 items on sale

The Paris 2024 “megastore” is open for business, with about 1,000 items of licensed merchandise available in a nearly 10,000 sq. ft. store on the Place Clemenceau along the Champs-Elysees Avenue in the midst of Paris.

It formally opened on 27 June, with long hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and will continue operations beyond the end of the Paralympic Games, to 15 September 2024. According to the announcement:

“The Paris 2024 megastore offers a price range to suit all budgets, with items ranging from EUR 5 (pens, bracelets and notebooks) to EUR 800 (giant plush made in France).” (€1 = $1.08 U.S.)

The megastore has a staff of 250 and can accommodate an expected load of 10,000 shoppers a day!

It’s the largest, but only one of 150 official shops at or just outside the competition and celebration venues, with 8,000 licensed products available across a total of 30,000 points of sale in and around Paris.

The items sold are from 80 official licensees, of which 90% are French-based, smaller and medium-sized companies.

There are all kinds of items available – pins, berets, apparel of every kind, water bottles, flags, lunch boxes, five different pencil cases (!), but if you’re ready to follow the Games day and night, how about the Paris 2024 Single Duvet set in Navy, with the Paris 2024 logo surrounded by a running track?

3.
Tygart maintains pressure on WADA in new video

In a Monday video message to athletes in its registered testing pool, which includes most (if not all) of the U.S. Olympic team, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency head Travis Tygart said he will continue to press for answers in the case of the 2021 Chinese swimming incident in which 23 athletes tested positive for trimetazidine.

The 4:45 video was mostly about the Chinese swimming case, but included a thanks to U.S. athletes at the end:

“You know, again, thank you for your efforts to be the very best you can be, the right way. Thank you for being the role models that you are, and supporting anti-doping, even when it’s sometimes difficult to do.

“And pleas enjoy the moment and best of luck to those who are going to Paris. We hope you can go, and win or lose, show that you’re doing it the right way and are the role models we all need and desperately want you to be.

“So thank you again for your commitment.”

Tygart pushed again against the World Anti-Doping Agency’s handling of the China swimming case, including:

● “We hear that the review that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) did in the handling of the 23 Chinese positive swimming cases, that review that they did is supposed to come out tomorrow, or in the next day or two.”

● “And while we were ultimately glad that WADA was forced to have an independent review, we of course were disappointed that the very staff whose decisions in this process were at question, that they were the ones to set the terms of reference for this review.

“It seems, as the athletes indicated, more of a self-serving, check-the-box type of exercise. And we were also disappointed that the questions that WADA asked this reviewer were very limited ones, and very technical questions.

“There were just two questions and these questions really were set up, I think, to give an easy way to give the perception that WADA and CHINADA did everything that they should have done.”

● “Really the only question and what we pushed for was to ask, ‘Did WADA and CHINADA do everything they could have done under the rules to protect clean athletes’ rights?’ And, we now know that WADA has admitted that China and CHINADA did not follow the rules, that those cases, at a minimum, if it was due to contamination, should have been a violation, which means they should have been publicly announced, and that those athletes should have been disqualified. …

“And, you know, most importantly, if WADA continues to stand by these positive tests being due to contamination, the report from this independent person must show the data, not just the opinions of others, but show the data that was relied on by CHINADA and let the world see whether or not, based on the science, as WADA and CHINADA have claimed whether that is truly a case of contamination or something different.

“And up to now, despite asking for it repeatedly, we’ve seen no data that supports that this was contamination.”

Tygart, famous for persistence across years, added, “We will continue to push for the answers that we know you deserve, and athletes around the world deserve, and we’re hopeful to eventually get to the bottom of this.”

4.
Attendance records already at Copa America and Euro 2024

The leaders of the South American confederation – CONMEBOL – were looking for another attendance bonanza by booking the 2024 Copa America tournament in the U.S. for the second time, and also adding six CONCACAF teams to the 10 South American squads.

It’s paid off so far, as the tournament has moved to the semifinal stage:

09 July: Argentina (4-0) vs. Canada (2-1-1) at East Rutherford, New Jersey
10 July: Colombia (3-0-1) vs. Uruguay (4-0) at Charlotte, North Carolina

Argentina, the defending champions, defeated Canada, 2-0, in the tournament opener back on 20 June, with both goals in the second half.

Attendance, as expected, has been stellar in the U.S., ahead of the 2016 Copa America Centenario held in the U.S. and possibly the best ever (attendance was not readily available for the 2004 tournament and before). Match averages:

2024: 47,552 for 28 matches so far
2021: 7,800 for 28 matches in Brazil (Covid restrictions)
2019: 33,356 for 26 matches in Brazil
2016: 46,370 for 32 matches in the U.S. (Centenario)
2015: 25,227 for 26 matches in Chile
2011: 33,947 for 26 matches in Argentina
2007: 40,393 for 26 matches in Venezuela

The third-place game will take place on Saturday in Charlotte and the gold-medal game on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The UEFA Euro 2024 is also heading toward the close with semifinals on Tuesday and Wednesday (penalty shoot-out victories counted as wins):

09 July: Spain (5-0) vs. France (3-0-2) in Munich
10 July: Netherlands (3-1-1) vs. England (3-0-2) in Dortmund

Attendance has been excellent. With three matches left, the average is above 50,000 for the first time this century and for the first time since the 1988 Euro in West Germany, which drew an average of 56,656 per match, but across just 15 matches in the eight-team tournament. Averages this century:

2024: 51,932 for 48 matches so far
2020: 21,554 for 51 matches (11 nations: Covid restrictions)
2016: 47,594 for 51 matches in France
2012: 46,481 for 31 matches in Poland and Ukraine
2008: 36,903 for 31 matches in Austria and Switzerland
2004: 37,445 for 31 matches in Portugal
2000: 36,220 for 31 matches in Belgium and Switzerland

The total attendance so far of 2,492,720 has already surpassed the record of 2,427,303 from the 2016 tournament in France.

The championship match will be played on Sunday (14th) in the Berlin Olympiastadion.

5.
Russia’s Friendship Games names new CEO

The World Friendship Games to be held in Moscow and Ekaterinburg, have been reported to be postponed to 2025, but reports on Monday from the Russian news agency TASS made no mention of any change in dates from the previously-announced 15-29 September 2024.

Instead, it was announced that Alexey Sorokin has resigned as the head of the organizing committee and will work on bringing international athletes to the event instead. Dmitry Putilin, the Vice President of the European Thai Boxing Federation and the head of the Russian Thai Boxing Federation, will be the new chief executive of the organizing committee.

The International Olympic Committee has heavily criticized this event as “politicized sport,” and asked both International Federations and National Olympic Committees to stay away from it.

TASS reported that World Athletics has apparently decided to ignore the results of the track & field competitions at the BRICS Games, held in Kazan (RUS) from 15-16 June, with 13 countries participating and 42 events.

Although the results were submitted, they have not been shown as part of the World Athletics database, while other competitions, such as the Belarus national championships in late June, have been integrated. Former All-Russian Athletics Federation head Irina Privalova, told TASS:

“There is nothing surprising for me in the fact that World Athletics is ignoring the results of the BRICS Games track and field tournament. We have been working quietly for a long time, not paying attention to anyone, holding competitions, developing track and field in our country. This is the most important thing.”

≡ PANORAMA ≡

● Russia ● The long-time head of the Russian tennis federation and member of the IOC, Shamil Tarpischev, told the Russian news agency TASS that its athletes should go to Paris if possible:

“If they allow it, if there is an opportunity, our athletes should go to the Olympics. No matter what, everyone still knows that this is a Russian athlete. Plus, given the conditions, it will be a big school, to withstand such pressure.

“We should also not forget that the participants of the Olympics are also an example for future generations.”

● Football ● A UEFA experiment during the ongoing Euro 2024 tournament is being adopted for the confederation’s club competitions, with immediate effect:

“Referees now have an open line of dialogue with the teams to explain key decisions, including those involving VAR . This information and accompanying explanations are provided only to the team captains, who are the only players entitled to speak to the referee and request clarifications in a respectful manner.

“Captains must also take responsibility for their team-mates, asking them to respect the referee, keep their distance and not surround the match officials.

“Where the captain is the goalkeeper, therefore not close to the action in the majority of cases, the teams are requested to nominate a single outfield player authorised to speak with the referees, to receive their explanations.

“Players disregarding these instructions and approaching the referees to show dissent or to act disrespectfully are cautioned.”

It will be fascinating to see if this concept is picked up by other confederations.

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