TSX REPORT: Now the U.S. House is interested in Chinese swimmers; McLaughlin-Levrone needs a qualifier; inside a $14M NGB budget!

The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

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1. U.S. House committee wants action on Chinese swimming case
2. Could Pogacar approach a 60-year win margin at Giro d’Italia?
3. McLaughlin-Levrone still needs Trials 400H qualifier!
4. Wanda Diamond League adds new Chinese partner: Zeekr
5. USA Fencing reports $14.4 million budget for 2024-25

● Now the U.S. government is into the 2021 Chinese swimming doping incident, with the House Select Committee on the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party sending a letter to the International Olympic Committee, but also to the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI, asking about action under the feared Rodchenkov Act.

● Slovenian star Tadej Pogacar is not just rolling toward victory in his first Giro d’Italia, but has compiled such a big lead that he might win by the biggest margin in almost 60 years! Wow!

● Olympic women’s 400 m hurdles champion and world-record holder Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone was superb at UCLA last weekend in winning the 200 m. But: she doesn’t have a qualifying mark yet in the 400 m hurdles for the U.S. Olympic Trials and the entry deadline is coming up quick! (Wrong: see below)

● The Wanda Diamond League is seeing increasing visibility by Chinese companies, with new electric-car maker Zeekr coming on board as the “mobility” sponsor with specific activations coming up at four famed European meets.

● A detailed look into a U.S. National Governing Body budget, this time the projected $14.4 million for 2024-25 for USA Fencing. Where the money come from, and where does it go? Most of it comes from the fencers themselves!

World Championships: Judo (Japan wins second, France and Germany win first in UAE Worlds) ●

Panorama: Paris (Naudet brothers to produce Olympic film and documentary) = Special Olympics (World Games headed to Chile in 2027) = Athletics (GoFundMe page collecting for distance legend Gerry Lindgren) = Swimming (what if McIntosh won five golds in Paris?) ●

U.S. House Committee wants action on Chinese swimming case

Now the U.S. government is in the act on the Chinese swimming doping incident, in which 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for the banned substance Trimetazidine in January 2021, but were not sanctioned due to “accidental contamination” in the kitchen in which their meals were prepared.

On Wednesday:

“Chairman John Moolenaar (R-MI) and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party called on the U.S. Department of Justice and the International Olympic Committee to launch a formal inquiry, seeking immediate action and transparency following the World’s Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) decision to allow Chinese swimmers to participate in the 2021 Olympics after testing positive for illegal substances.”

The letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray began with:

“We write today to request that the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation use its exterritorial jurisdiction to investigate individuals involved in doping schemes at international sports competitions that involve U.S. athletes as outlined in the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act of 2019 (RADA).

“We specifically request that you investigate troubling reports that ‘[t]wenty-three top Chinese swimmers tested positive for the same powerful banned substance seven months before the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021′ and ‘continue[d] to compete after top Chinese officials secretly cleared them of doping and the global authority charged with policing drugs in sports chose not to intervene.’”

The Rodchenkov Act gives the Department of Justice authority to pursue individuals anywhere in the world who themselves assist or help others to carry out doping offenses related to major international sports competitions (it does not apply to athletes). It carries a 10-year statute of limitations and penalties of up to $250,000 in fines and up to 10 years imprisonment.

It has not been widely used, but did find a ring helping athletes including star Nigerian sprinter and long jumper Blessing Okagbare, who was banned for 10 years in 2022. El Paso kinesiologist Eric Lira was arrested, charged and pled guilty to supplying doping materials to Okagbare and others in 2023 and was sentenced earlier this year to three months in prison.

The letter to the International Olympic Committee begins:

“We write today to express our unwavering support for United States Olympic athletes and our profound concern regarding the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s mishandling of the recent scandal involving 23 Chinese swimmers who tested positive for trimetazidine (TMZ) prior to the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.”

The IOC is requested to undertake an independent investigation – beyond that already being done by WADA – into the decision not to challenge the finding of no sanctions:

“How the IOC responds to this scandal will directly affect this summer’s Olympic games and their promise of fair play that unites athletes from around the globe. …

“The IOC must act decisively to uphold the spirit of fair play and accountability that unites athletes from every corner of the globe.”

Observed: Have no doubt that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which has relentlessly ripped WADA on this case since a 20 April documentary from the German ARD channel was aired, contributed to the interest of the House Select Committee.

How the FBI and the Justice Department react will be more interesting, since WADA was clear that it believed there was no way to counter the finding of the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency of accidental contamination. Is there more to be uncovered?

If the FBI or Justice could find more, regardless of whether it would rise to the level of a prosecutable offense under the Rodchenkov Act, it could cause serious damage to WADA, which chose not to pursue the case under the difficult circumstances it was presented with as to access and time passage after the incident.

Could Pogacar approach a 60-year win margin at Giro d’Italia?

Slovenian star Tadej Pogacar, still only 25 and a two-time Tour de France winner, continued adding to his lead on Wednesday, finishing second in the 17th stage of the 107th Giro d’Italia.

The brutal, 159 km ride from Val Gardena – a ski resort – followed an up-and-down course across five climbs and ended with yet another uphill finish to Passo Brocon. Germany’s Georg Steinhauser, 22, attacked with 34 km left and could not be caught, finishing in 4:28:51.

Behind him, the overall second-placer, Colombian Daniel Martinez, tried to secure second, but Pogacar was having none of it and passed everyone else on the final uphill to the finish, taking second 1:24 behind Steinhauser, but 18 seconds up on Antonio Tiberi (ITA), Martinez and 2018 Tour de France champ Geraint Thomas (GBR).

With the time bonus for finishing second, Pogacar extended his lead again, now to 7:42 on Martinez and 8:04 on Thomas. With two more climbing stages remaining on Friday and Saturday, Pogacar seems able to name his margin of victory, already one of the biggest in Giro history.

Consider that in the post-World War II era, Pogacar currently has a 7:42 lead, already tied for no. 6 in margin of victory:

● 1. 24:16 for Carlo Clerici (SUI) in 1954
● 2. 23:47 for Fausto Coppi (ITA) in 1949
● 3. 11:26 for Vittorio Adorni (ITA) in 1965
● 4. 9:18 for Fausto Coppi (ITA) in 1952
● 4. 9:18 for Ivan Basso (ITA) in 2006
● 6. 7:42 for Eddy Merckx (BEL) in 1973

Could he approach 9:18 margin for Coppi in 1952 and Basso in 2006 and possibly ride to the biggest win in 59 years? Very little seems out of Pogacar’s reach … if he wants to go for it.

McLaughlin-Levrone still needs Trials 400H qualifier!

/Updated/The last time Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone ran the 400 m hurdles, she won at the Gyulai Memorial in Szekesfehervar, Hungary on 8 August 2022, winning in 51.68, after setting the world record of 50.68 at the 2022 World Championships 17 days earlier.

She’s clearly ready for defense of her Tokyo Olympic 400 m hurdles gold after a lifetime best of 22.07 in the women’s 200 m at the L.A. Grand Prix at UCLA last Saturday. Just one small problem.

McLaughlin-Levrone is not qualified to compete in the event at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

The USA Track & Field entry regulations explain the qualifying window as:

Opened: 1 July 2023
Closes: 9 June 2024

McLaughlin-Levrone has no 400 m hurdles races in that period, so she has entered the women’s 400 m hurdles at the Edwin Moses Legends Meet at Morehouse College in Atlanta on 31 May, a meet named for the men’s 400 m hurdles icon who redefined the event (and was a two-time Olympic champion). 

(McLaughlin-Levrone, as Olympic champion in the 400 m hurdles from Tokyo, is granted automatic qualification into the U.S. Olympic Trials under USATF Rule 8, exempting medal winners from qualifying marks for Worlds or Olympic Trials. Sorry about that.)

It’s a Puma American Track League meet as well as a World Athletics Continental Tour Silver meet, and includes races from 100 to 1,500 m, plus the long jump for men and women and the high jump for women.

McLaughlin-Levrone has a modest seven-race win streak across 2023 and 2024, with four races at 400 m, two at 200 m and one in the 100 m hurdles.

Wanda Diamond League adds new Chinese partner: Zeekr

China has increased its presence significantly in the track & field Diamond League, first with the naming of Wanda – the finance, real estate and sports conglomerate – as the title sponsor in a 10-year agreement than began in 2020.

As part of that deal, Diamond League meets were added in China and now clear of the Covid-19 pandemic, were held at the start of the 2024 season in Xiamen and Shanghai on 20 and 27 April.

Now comes a new Chinese sponsor: Zeekr.

The Tuesday announcement included:

“The Wanda Diamond League today announces electric vehicle manufacturer Zeekr as its new official mobility partner, in a move which brings athletics’ premier global series to the cutting edge of mobility and sustainability innovation.

“From 2024, Zeekr will partner with both the Wanda Diamond League and four individual series meetings to provide transport and mobility solutions for athletes, officials and VIPs in Oslo, Stockholm, Monaco and Paris.

“Since it burst onto the scene three years ago, Zeekr has pushed the boundaries of what is possible in electric mobility, driven by the conviction that great things happen when you seek more.”

Zeekr is not sold in the U.S., but is planning a $368 million initial public offering (IPO) for the U.S. market. Founded in 2021, it offers electric models in China with high technology applications and a focus on sustainability. Expansions are planned elsewhere in Asia and Europe.

It’s an interesting move, and in contrast to World Athletics – a part owner of Diamond League AG – which has five first-line commercial partners, all from Japan: ASICS, NTN, Seiko, Sony and TDK.

USA Fencing reports $14.4 million budget for 2024-25

What does it take to run a national federation which has produced six medals in the last two Olympic Games, has 39,500 members and a staff of 19? Less than $15 million.

At its 18 May meeting, the USA Fencing Board approved the 2024-25 budget of $14,390,941, a reduction of 3.1% from 2023-24. What goes into all this?

● 46%: $6.59 million for national and regional events.
● 27%: $3.87 million for team training camps and competition travel.
● 14%: $1.97 million for administration and international events.
● 8%: $1.19 million for membership processing and support.
● 5%: $0.69 million for marketing and diversity-equity-inclusion.

And the revenue?

● 62%: $8.96 million from national events.
● 21%: $3.08 million from membership.
● 9%: $1.33 million from sport performance.
● 6%: $0.87 million from marketing and communications.
● 2%: $0.24 million from international events.
● 0%: $0.04 million from other items.

Total revenue is projected at $14.51 million for a small surplus for the year.

Grants from the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee are forecast at $896,250 for the year, or 6.2% of the entire budget. Marketing revenue, including sponsorships, are projected at $845,006, or 5.8% of the total revenue.

Fencing, for the most part, is a sport paid for by the fencers, primarily through membership and tournament registration fees.

The financial statements were also part of the Board package and are showing growth, USA Fencing had $11.44 million in revenue in 2021-22 and $12.30 million in 2022-23; the projection is for $14.51 for 2024-25.

Assets were $4.69 million at 31 July 2023, with $1.12 million in reserves, but also $2.31 million in deferred income sitting in the bank, but not yet realized. There is $3.21 million in cash and investments.

This is not a wealthy National Governing Body, but its financials paint a picture of an efficient, reasonably healthy one for now, looking for new sources of revenue.


● Judo ● Japan scored its second win at the IJF World Championships in Abu Dhabi (UAE), as Goki Tajima, 26, won at 90 kg for his first senior individual medal! He defeated Serbia’s Nemanja Majdov, the 2017 World Champion at this weight, who also won a bronze at the 2019 Worlds, giving him a career medal of each color.

France won three medals on the day, with an all-French final in the women’s 70 kg class, and a win for Margaux Pinot over Marie Eve Gahie. Pinot, 30, won her first individual Worlds medal since 2019 and her first gold, overcoming Gahie, the 2019 World Champion.

Germany’s Anna-Maria Wagner became a two-time World Champion, winning at 78 kg over Alice Bellandi (ITA), a 2023 bronze medalist. France’s Madeleine Malonga, the Tokyo 2020 runner-up, took one of the bronzes.

Competition continues through Friday.


● Olympic Games 2024: Paris ● Paris 2024 and the International Olympic Committee announced that brothers Jules and Gedeon Naudet have been selected to produce the Official Film of Paris 2024.

The twist is that beyond the usual, 90-minute Official Film of the Games, a documentary series of five, 52-minute episodes will further showcase the “behind-the-scenes” effort for an athlete to get to the Games and the organization of the Games from within Paris 2024.

The series will be shown in France on France TV, ahead of the Olympic Games and after the Paralympics. The Naudet brothers will be working with French documentary company ELEPHANT.

● Special Olympics ● The Special Olympics World Games is headed to South America for the first time, as Santiago, Chile, will host the 2027 edition.

Following the 2023 Pan American Games and Parapan American Games held in Santiago in 2023, the 2027 Special Olympic World Games are projected for 19-31 October, with 170 national delegations competing in 20 sports.

Since holding the SOWG outside the U.S. for the first time, in 2003, the event has gone to Ireland, China, Greece, back to the U.S. (Los Angeles in 2015), to the UAE and Berlin, Germany in 2023, with 6,500 athletes participating.

● Athletics ● Gerry Lindgren, one of the greatest high school distance runners of all time and a 1964 U.S. Olympian, is now 77 and trying to retire, but is well short of enough money to do so.

A long-time fan and former high school runner in California, Kevin Young, has organized a GoFundMe page for Lindgren, with a goal of $150,000, and which has raised $8,994 so far from 91 donors. Wrote Young:

“Gerry Lindgren gave his all, training harder than any American runner ever had, winning many titles and races in high school, college and beyond. He represented the USA in the 1964 Olympics at age 18 in the 10,000m.

“Now it’s possible for us fans and supporters to show our appreciation for his hard work and sacrifice. Your donations will help him pay for recent medical bills (strokes in December 2023), will help him retire from his job at age 77 as a janitor at the University of Hawaii, and will help him pay off his mortgage.”

Lindgren won 11 NCAA titles at Washington State, including the 1969 Cross Country title over Steve Prefontaine among others. He is now running one more race, this time for retirement and against homelessness. All donations to the GoFundMe page go directly to Lindgren.

● Swimming ● Further to our note yesterday that Canadian teen sensation Summer McIntosh could challenge – in Paris – for the most individual-event Olympic golds in a single Games by a women’s swimmer: four by East German Kristin Otto in 1988.

Olympic stats star Dr. Bill Mallon (USA) chimed in, adding:

“And if McIntosh should go really wild, only three persons have ever won 5 individual gold medals at a single Olympics – Eric Heiden, Vitaly Shcherbo, and Michael Phelps.”

Heiden (USA) won five in speed skating at Lake Placid in 1980; Scherbo won five in men’s gymnastics as a member of the post-Soviet “Unified Team” in 1992 and Phelps, of course, won five in Beijing in 2008.

Phelps’ program in 2008 was strikingly similar to McIntosh’s events for Paris! He won the 200 m Free, 100-200 m Butterflys and the 200-400 m Medleys. McIntosh will also contest the 200 m Free, 200 m Fly and both medleys, but will swim the 400 m Free, not the 100 m Fly.

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