TSX REPORT: Paris 2024 budget steady, Gomis may be fired for anti-Semitism; Queensland Premier Palaszczuk retires, six T&F Athletes of the Year!

Winner: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk holding the placard announcing Brisbane as the host for the 2032 Olympic Games (Photo: IOC live-stream screenshot)

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1. Paris 2024 confirms budget, to consider Gomis’ anti-Semitic post
2. Surprise: Queensland’s Palaszczuk retires as Premier
3. Coe sees 2024 as year of “acceleration” for track & field
4. Lyles, Kipyegon, Duplantis among World Athletics awardees
5. WADA holds Nigeria, Venezuela, Tunisia, OCA non-compliant

● The Paris 2024 board approved a balanced budget at €4.397 billion, but also will consider expelling Board member (and Olympic basketball medalist) Emilie Gomis for an anti-Semitic post after the Hamas attack on Israel.

● The face of the Brisbane bid for the 2032 Olympic Games, Annastacia Palaszczuk, announced her retirement after nine years as Queensland Premier, on Sunday, as of the end of this week. What will this mean for the controversial, multi-billion-dollar redevelopment of the Gabba stadium?

● The World Athletics Council approved new working groups to review policies on transgenders, Russian and Belarusian participation, implementation of its World Plan and announced dates for the 2025 World Road Running Championships in San Diego and 2026 World Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee.

● Instead of two World Athletics athletes of the year, six were named on Monday in Monaco, including American Noah Lyles as the men’s track athlete of the year.

● The World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed non-compliant status on Nigeria, Tunisia and Venezuela and a $500,000 fine against Olympic Council of Asia. But will WADA’s sanctions be honored?

World Championship: Handball (Women’s Worlds quarterfinals set) ●

Panorama: Paris 2024 (4: Belarus welcomes IOC decision; Baltic countries don’t; Heraskevych asks about eligibility of three Russian wrestlers; Klitschko decries IOC policy) = African Games (ANOCA lines up Egypt and D.R. Congo for 2027-31) = Canada (“Future of Sport” commission to look into abuse) = Alpine Skiing (U.S.’s Johnson in whereabouts inquiry) = Archery (Schloesser scores 121 10s in a row, but loses Indoor World Series final) = Boxing (IBA charts independent course, with first pro title fight) = Football (2: U.S. Soccer’s player of the year nominees; 2024 Copa America pools drawn) = Luge (Mazdzer retires at Lake Placid) = Rowing (Zeidler, Grant and Craig win Crew of the Year honors) = Swimming (Whiffen takes men’s 800 m Free short-course record) = Water Polo (U.S. women sweep Spain in friendlies) = Weightlifting (USA Weightlifting skips Venezuela, will compete in Europe) ●

Errata: Some readers of yesterday’s post saw a reference to Brazil’s iconic Estadio Maracana as “Estadio Macarena”! Thanks to reader Scott LeTellier for volunteering the correction. ●

Paris 2024 confirms budget, to consider Gomis’ anti-Semitic post

The Paris 2024 organizing committee board met Monday and confirmed the fourth review of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Board budget, with an increase to €4.397 billion (about $4.73 billion U.S.), an increase of €17 million (~$18.29 million U.S.), about a 0.4% increase:

“The joint review carried out since September 2023 has made it possible to consolidate all the assumptions in the revenue plan and to make marginal adjustments to income, which has risen very slightly thanks mainly to increased income from financial investments made possible by the rise in interest rates and a cash surplus. …

“While part of the residual reserve was mobilised in 2023, during the budget review (EUR 154 million, including EUR 60 million linked to inflation), to cover costs that are now known, it was decided to maintain the residual reserve at a protective level (EUR 121 million) to deal with the uncertainties of implementation over the next nine months. As a reminder, the Court of Auditors recommended in its last report that this reserve be maintained at a minimum level of EUR 100 million.”

Legacy planning of the community involvement programs – Club Paris 2024 (4.6 million members), Terre de Jeux 2024 (4,500 communities), and Generation 2024 (8,700 schools) – was confirmed, with the French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF), the French Paralympic Committee and the national federations to take charge of the programs.

Planning to support the Paris 2024 staff as they move on to new work after the organizing committee closes down was also approved to begin.

A serious matter concerning anti-Semitic behavior of a board member was also discussed. Emilie Gomis, 40, a London 2012 silver medalist in women’s basketball, has been a member of the Paris 2024 board since October 2022, and is a paid ambassador for the Terre de Jeux program.

The Paris 2024 Ethics Committee delivered a report on an Instagram post by Gomis on 9 October, which described it as (computer translation of the original French):

“[A]n illustration in which there are maps of France in 1947, in 1967 and in 2023, on which the tricolor flag which initially covers almost the entire French territory is gradually replaced by the Israeli flag, until that it only survives on a very small part of this territory. These cards are illustrated with the following text written in large letters: ‘What would you do in this…situation?’ …

“The questioning that accompanies these images tends to legitimize actions aimed at defending oneself against an invader and repelling him. More precisely, while the publication in question took place two days after October 7, 2023, before the intervention of the Israeli army in Gaza, this question has the object and effect of justifying the acts committed against the Israeli population by the Hamas, which ‘are among the most serious violations of international humanitarian law,’ as expressed by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

“The publication in question can also be legitimately interpreted as suggesting that the France of 2023, whose map is dominated by the Star of David, is also ‘invaded by Jews.’”

She apologized weeks later, but the Ethics Committee agreed that she be excluded from the board and her contract as a Terre de Jeux ambassador be terminated. A special meeting of the board has been called to consider this action “in the next few days.” The French National Olympic Committee has also referred her action to its Ethics Committee, as she is a member of the Elite Athletes Commission.

Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet told reporters that work on the reduced-size judges tower in Tahiti for the surfing competitions has resumed, with a smaller barge being used to ensure no harm to the coral in the area.

The new tower is timed for completion in May in time for a test event ahead of the Games.

Surprise: Queensland’s Palaszczuk retires as Premier

Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Queensland Premier and the face of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic bid and of the state’s controversial redevelopment program for the Brisbane Cricket Ground (the Gabba) and surrounding area, unexpectedly announced her retirement on Sunday (10th).

Palaszczuk, 54, said she would retire as Premier at the end of this week, and from her Parliamentary seat at the end of 2023. She has been a Member of Parliament since 2006, became the leader of the Labor Party in 2012, and became Premier in 2015, winning three terms.

Her successor as Premier will be determined by the Labor caucus; Palaszczuk endorsed Deputy Premier Steven Miles, but Treasurer Cameron Dick and Health Minister Shannon Fentiman are also to be considered. Miles said on Saturday cited the 2032 Olympic Games as one of his priorities if selected as Premier:

“We need to work better with our partners to deliver the legacy benefits of the Olympics and Paralympics.”

Palaszczuk told reporters:

“If you were wondering, I turned my mind to this when I was trying to have a holiday with my partner. Everyone deserves a break.

“Finally, my mind was made up at national cabinet last week when I saw so many new faces. Renewal is a good thing. …

“I have no job come January. But look, I think I will be out there promoting Queensland in some form or capacity. Look around you, this state has so much to offer.”

Palaszczuk’s personal poll numbers have been falling, while the Labor Party support in the state have held steady, with elections coming in October 2024.

Observed: Palaszczuk could certainly think about a future with the Brisbane Olympic organizers at some time in the future, but not now. The immediate question for whoever becomes Premier is what to do about the widely debated and increasingly unpopular A$2.7 billion (~$1.77 billion U.S.) Gabba redevelopment project for 2032, which must get going fairly soon.

Coe sees 2024 as year of “acceleration” for track & field

“The year 2024 is going to be one of change. In a decade from now, I want people to look back at 2024 and say the decisions the sport made that year not only future proofed athletics, but significantly accelerated its popularity and value.”

That’s World Athletics President Sebastian Coe (GBR) after the World Athletics Council meeting in Monaco that finished last Friday. The Council set up review groups on multiple hot-topic areas:

● A Working Group on Gender Diverse Athletes was established to continue the federation’s review of its regulations for transgender athletes and those with “differences in sex development.”

The Chair will be Doriane Lambelet Coleman (SUI), a two-time AIAW scorer for Cornell at 800 m and now a Duke University law professor, who has written extensively on the legal aspects of doping and of transgender and gay and lesbian athlete rights. The group’s report is due by the end of 2024.

● A Working Group on the status of Russians/Belarusian in International Competitions and Events, to recommend to the Council on future actions concerning athletes from the countries:

(1) “Whether the sanctions are sufficient or if they should be replaced, added, or varied with other sanctions to be imposed pursuant to Article 13 of the World Athletics Constitution.”

(2) “Consider the conditions and criteria that would need to be in place to permit at some point in the future participation of Russian and Belarusian Athletes, Athlete Support Personnel, Member Federation Officials and other Officials to participate and/or attend World Athletics Series Events or the Olympic Games.”

This group is chaired by four-time Olympic triple jumper Dr. Francis Dodoo (GHA), a long-time Professor of Sociology and Demography at Penn State, who attended Washington State, and previously taught at Maryland, Vanderbilt and Tulane.

● A World Plan Implementation Taskforce will be chaired by U.S. member Willie Banks, who drove the development of the World Plan for Athletics 2022-2030. The members of the group were not announced.

● An anti-doping protocol for athletes from countries considered the most likely to have doping issues was agreed, with minimum standards for testing to include the first of three required out-of-competition tests to take place 12 weeks prior to a major event such as an Olympic Games or World Championships.

The final test should be concluded at the time that entries are finalized, to ensure time for substitutions in case of a positive test.

The Council also approved the use of the results of the World Athletics Relays in Nassau (BAH) in May to used for first-round seeding at the Paris Olympic Games as an inducement for federations to send world-class teams.

Dates were announced for the 2025 World Road Running Championships in San Diego, California (USA) for 26-28 September 2025, and for the World Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee, Florida (USA) for 10 January 2026.

Lyles, Kipyegon, Duplantis among World Athletics awardees

World Athletics announced its annual award winners on Monday, naming six superstars as its World Athletes of the Year:

Men/track: Noah Lyles (USA) ~ World 100/200/4×100 m Champion
Men/field: Mondo Duplantis (SWE) ~ World Vault Champion
Men/road: Kelvin Kiptum (KEN) ~ World record 2:00:35 marathon

Women/track: Faith Kipyegon (KEN) ~ World 1,500/5,000 m Champion
Women/field: Yulimar Rojas (VEN) ~ World Triple Jump Champion
Women/road: Tigist Assefa (ETH) ~ World record 2:11:53 marathon

In addition to the astounding marathon records by Kiptum and Assefa, Duplantis extended his own world marks indoors and outdoors and Kipyegon set women’s world records at 1,500 m, the mile and 5,000 m!

The naming of six World Athletes of the Year was a new concept, brought on by voters; per the announcement:

“The adaptation of the World Athlete of the Year honours awarded this year follows feedback received during the voting process. Many sensational performances – including an extraordinary 23 world records – were achieved in 2023.

“When it came to compiling the votes, athletes, fans and World Athletics Family members commented that it was incredibly hard to limit the vote to just one athlete, because of the various disciplines and the vast differences in skill sets required. As a result, for 2023 the World Athlete of the Year awards have been divided into three event categories: track, field and out of stadia.”

The “Rising Stars” awards went to Kenyans Emmanuel Wanyonyi (World 800 m silver) and Faith Cherotich (Women 3,000 m Steeple bronze medalist). The Fair Play award went to Ethiopian distance star Letsenbet Gidey, who comforted Sifan Hassan (NED) after she fell in the final strides of the women’s 10,000 m at the World Championships.

WADA holds Nigeria, Venezuela, Tunisia, OCA non-compliant

The detention slips are piling up as the World Anti-Doping Agency announced last week that the national anti-doping agencies in Nigeria and Venezuela are now non-compliant, the anti-doping agency of Tunisia has been “watchlisted” for non-compliance and a fine of $500,000 has been confirmed against the Olympic Council of Asia.

Both Nigeria and Venezuela have been identified with failures to meet “critical requirements” and the Tunisian agency has a disconnect between its national legal system vis-a-vis doping and the World Anti-Doping Code.

In all three cases, the penalties include exclusion as a host of any WADA events, or to sit on the WADA Board or committees and three sanctions which would touch the athletes from those countries:

● “[N]ot be awarded the right to host regional, continental and World Championships, and Events organized by Major Event Organizations;

● “[Its] flag will not be flown at regional, continental and World Championships, and Events, organized by Major Event Organizations (other than the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games);

● “[Its] flag will not be flown at the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, until the reinstatement conditions set out below are met.”

Both Nigeria and Venezuela have contested the non-compliance holding and the case will move to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where a decision may or may not come prior to the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Beyond these three, non-compliant countries include the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Gabon, and Russia as well as the International Fitness and Bodybuilding Federation.

The Olympic Council of Asia was fined $500,000 for its breach of regulations in allowing the North Korean flag to be flown at the Asian Games in Hangzhou (CHN):

“It became clear during the Asian Games that the OCA did not take steps to comply with the terms of the DPRK’s non-compliance and that the DPRK flag was repeatedly flown at the event. Despite repeated reminders from WADA before and during the Games, the OCA refused to comply.”

Observed: This may seem like a purely technical game, but WADA’s credibility is at stake here. Nigeria has had significant doping issues and $500,000 for the Olympic Council of Asia – which includes China, Qatar and Saudi Arabia as members – means nothing.

But will WADA’s sanctions be honored, or are they seen by these organizations – and others who watch these issues closely – as optional, meaning that the authority of the World Anti-Doping Agency is waning. WADA can count on support from the IOC and IPC for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, but what about the International Federations and regional Games?

The first test may come in March at the 2024 African Games in Ghana.


● Handball ● The quarterfinals are set for the 26th IHF Women’s World Championship, being held in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, with the three medal winners from 2021 – Norway, France and Denmark – all still in the hunt:

12 Dec.: France (5-0) vs. Czech Republic (3-2) in Herning (DEN)
13 Dec.: Sweden (5-0) vs. Germany (4-1) in Trondheim (NOR)

12 Dec.: Netherlands (5-0) vs. Norway (4-1) in Herning (DEN)
13 Dec.: Denmark (4-1) vs. Montenegro (3-2) in Trondheim (NOR)

The semifinals will be held on 15 December and the medal matches on the 17th, all in Herning.

Now through two full rounds of play, Romania’s Eliza Buceschi is the top scorer with 47 goals in 63 shots, followed by Marketa Jerabkova (CZE: 46) and Senegal’s Soukeina Sagna (40).

Attendance through 96 matches, which includes playoffs down to 32nd place, has averaged 2,756 (264,609 total).


● Olympic Games 2024: Paris ● Belarus was finally heard from on the participation requirements distributed by the International Olympic Committee on Friday:

“We welcome the admission of Belarusian athletes to the Games in Paris 2024, however, the decision taken does not fully satisfy the interests of the Belarusian sports community.

“Existing strict restrictions, including participation in competitions without national symbols, a limited number of qualifying competitions, and the exclusion of athletes competing in team events, all these conditions continue to be extremely discriminatory towards the athletes of our country.”

The presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, meeting on Monday, expressed their regret at the IOC’s decision to allow certain Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in Paris.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda told reporters, “It’s a very disappointing decision, and I still hope that it could be revised, it could be corrected.

“We already see reactions from various federations, and I think that Olympic principles have nothing to do with terror, murder, or destruction. So, it’s highly discouraging to see such decisions right now, in the critical stage of the war in Ukraine.”

Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics said:

“To my mind, if nothing changes, it would be very difficult to see Ukrainian or Latvian athletes competing there. But this is, of course, a decision that needs to be taken by the governments and sports communities in every country and, of course, it has to be well coordinated and well thought through with like-minded nations, including Ukraine, the Baltic nations, and other European nations that are not happy with these decisions.”

Ukrainian Skeleton Olympian Vladyslav Heraskevych posted Monday the names of three Paris-qualified Russian wrestlers whose support of the war against Ukraine has been called into question:

“The IOC has already noted that 8 athletes with a Russian passport have already qualified for Paris 2024.

“Among them are representatives of freestyle wrestling. [97 kg Abdulrashid] Sadulaev, [57 kg: Zaur] Uguev and [74 kg Zaurbek] Sidakov.

“All three were participants in a rally at the Luzhniki Stadium on March 2022.”

Ukrainian boxing great Wladimir Klitschko, twice heavyweight champion and younger brother of Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, posted on X (ex-Twitter):

“The IOC has decided that russian and belarusian athletes will take part in the Paris Olympic Games under a “neutral” flag. This false neutrality serves to conceal war crimes. The russian flag is not white, it’s covered in blood. This decision taints the Olympic spirit.”

● African Games ● The African Games has met with controversy as Ghana has had considerable difficulty organizing the 2023 edition, attributed in 2018 but plagued by delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic and economic distress in the country. It is now scheduled for 8-23 March 2024, in Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast.

However, the future of the African Games appears brighter, with a Monday announcement of a meeting between Mustapha Berraf (ALG), the head of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and the sports ministers of Egypt – Prof. Ashraf Sobhy – and Francois-Claude Kabulo, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Result:

“[T]he three parties jointly decided to support Egypt’s bid to host the 2027 African Games. This decision is in line with the shared desire to promote sporting excellence in Africa and meet the international standards of Games in accordance with the Olympic Charter.

“The Democratic Republic of Congo reasserts its commitment to the African Sports Movement by opting to host the African Games in 2031.”

Cairo hosted previously in 1991; the Democratic Republic of the Congo has never hosted the event.

ANOCA head Berraf, 69, bears watching as he was the International Olympic Committee member who asked President Thomas Bach (GER) to consider serving a third term during the recent IOC Session in India. Brokering hosts for the next two editions of the African Games amid the current difficulties with Ghana’s 2023/24 hosting is a significant triumph.

● Canada ● Canadian Sports Minister Carla Qualtrough announced a three-member “Future of Sport” commission, to be followed by a national conference on the findings:

“Over 18 months, the Commission will engage and seek input from the sport community, including survivors and victims of maltreatment in sport. The process will be trauma-informed, human rights-based and forward-looking. The Commission will be independent, transparent and flexible. It will develop recommendations for the Government of Canada to improve safety in sport and the sport system in Canada.”

Abuse complaints, both emotional and physical, have been leveled at multiple national federations over the past year. Qualtrough said that C$10-15 million may be required (C$1 = $0.74 U.S.), more than four times what the U.S. Commission on the State of the U.S. Olympics and Paralympics was granted by the U.S. Congress.

● Alpine Skiing ● U.S. women’s Downhiller Breezy Johnson, a seven-time World Cup medal winner, is being investigated by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for “whereabouts” violations that could lead to a suspension.

Athletes competing at the world-class level are required to register their “whereabouts” so that they can be located for unannounced, out-of-competition testing. Three “whereabouts” failures within a 12-month period constitute a violation, which could result in a two-year suspension. She is not competing while the inquiry is on, ensuring that if she is suspended, it would be at an earlier date.

● Archery ● Close, but no cigar. In the (non-Olympic) men’s Compound tournament at the World Athletics Indoor (18 m) World Series stop in Taoyuan City (TPE) for the Taipei Open, Dutch star and three-time Worlds medal winner Mike Schloesser completed the qualifying round with a perfect score of 600.

It’s the fourth time he has scored 600 in a round (60 arrows x 10 points), but then he extended his streak by shooting 60 more 10s in his elimination matches in the round-of-32, round-of-16, quarterfinals and semifinals: 120 in a row!

But in the final against Prathamesh Jawkar (IND), he lost by 149-148. Schloesser hit a 10 on his first shot, but then a nine, ending his streak at 121. He scored six more 10s in a row, then a nine that lost the third end, and even with six more 10s to close – 13 out of 15 – Jawkar scored the upset. But it was a memorable achievement.

● Boxing ● The International Boxing Association held a Congress, a Global Boxing Forum and a Champions Night fight card in Dubai (UAE) over the weekend, depicting an organization charting a future not focused on the Olympic Movement.

The IBA appeal against its expulsion by the International Olympic Committee at the Court of Arbitration for Sport will not be decided until 2024. In the meantime, the IBA staged another Champions Night program included seven bouts, four of which were pro-format contests of eight to 12 rounds. Russian Albert Batyrgaziev, the Russian Olympic Featherweight (57 kg) defeated Cuba’s three-time World Champion Lazaro Alvarez in a 60 kg bout to win the first IBA professional title.

The Forum announced a new scoring concept, which would have three judges viewing on a screen and a fourth as a video reviewer using slow motion; this is to be introduced in parallel with the current scoring system as a test.

The Congress voted to return Switzerland as a member federation, agreed to accept new members Norfolk Island Boxing Association and Tuvalu Amateur Boxing Association, and accepted a new “U.S. Boxing Federation,” described as founded by four-class professional champ Roy Jones Jr. to replace USA Boxing, which left the IBA.

● Football ● U.S. Soccer announced the nominees for its Player of the Year awards, which includes fan voting that will count for 15% of the total weight in scoring.

The men’s nominees include goalkeeper Matt Turner, midfielder Yunus Musah and forwards Folarin Balogun, Ricardo Pepi and Christian Pulisic.

The women’s nominees are defenders Crystal Dunn, Emily Fox and Naomi Girma, midfielder Lindsey Horan and forward Sophia Smith.

Voting began Monday and will conclude on Monday, 18 December at noon, Eastern time.

The draw for the 2024 Copa America, to be played in the U.S. for the second time, was held in Miami (USA) last Thursday (7th) with four groups of four to begin play next 20 June:

A: Argentina (defending champ), Peru, Chile, CONCACAF team
B: Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela
C: Bolivia, Panama, United States, Uruguay
D: Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, CONCACAF team

Two CONCACAF entries will come from playoffs to be held early in 2024. The top two teams from each group will advance to the 4-6 July quarterfinals, then semifinals on 9-10 and the medal matches on 13 July (third) and 14 July (championship).

● Luge ● Four-time U.S. Olympian and surprise 2018 PyeongChang silver medalist Chris Mazdzer retired following last weekend’s FIL World Cup in Lake Placid, New York. But he gave the fans a thrill by not just sliding down the course one more time, but finishing 12th overall in the men’s Singles in 1:43.358, just 0.773 away from the bronze medal.

Now 35, with a wife and a two-year-old son, he knew the time was right:

“I can’t dedicate the time it would require to be an exceptional luge athlete and have a job and have a family. Something had to give, and honestly, looking back, I’ve had a fantastic career, and I’ve had a bunch of amazing life experiences. I think this is the way to do it. Let’s go out at home.”

● Rowing ● The World Rowing Awards were announced Monday, honoring men’s Single Sculls star Oliver Zeidler of Germany and British Lightweight Pairs rowers Imogen Grant and Emily Craig.

Zeidler won the 2023 Worlds gold in his specialty, for his third men’s Single Sculls gold. He also swept the three World Cups in the event in 2023, making him a clear choice.

For the Women’s Crew of the Year, Grant and Craig also collected a Worlds gold in their event, defending their 2022 Worlds win and set a world-best time for their race during the second World Cup.

Former Italian Olympian Francesco Fossi was named as Coach of the Year for guiding Dutch men’s crews in the Double Sculls and Quadruple Sculls to world titles, and American Caryn Davies – a three-time Olympic medalist and four-time World Champion in the women’s Eights – was awarded the Thomas Keller Medal for achievement, sportsmanship and impact.

● Swimming ● A world short-course record was the highlight of the European Short Course Championships in Bucharest (ROU), with Ireland’s Daniel Whiffen storming to a 7:20.46 in the 800 m Freestyle.

That shattered the mark of 7:23.42 by Australia’s seven-time Olympic medal winner Grant Hackett from way back in 2008. Whiffen, 22, won a Commonwealth Games silver in 2022 in the men’s 1,500 m Freestyle and was a Tokyo Olympian in the 800 and 1,500 m Frees. He had already won the 400 m and 1,500 m Frees at the meet. Said Whiffen of the record performance:

“That world record, I think it’s one of the oldest in the books. To beat [Hackett’s] record is just amazing. I look up to him every day.”

● Water Polo ● The U.S. women’s team, which finished a depressing seventh at this year’s World Championships, swept bronze medalist Spain in a two-game exhibition series in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.

The first game, held last Thursday (7th) saw Jewel Roemer score twice and Ashleigh Johnson make 11 saves in a 9-7 win. Spain had a 3-2 halftime lead, but the Americans scored four times in the third quarter for a 6-4 lead heading into the fourth. The U.S. lead expanded to 9-5 with two late scores for Spain to make it close.

On Saturday, Jenna Flynn scored three times, Jovana Sekulic and Jordan Raney each got two and with 11 more saves from Johnson, won the fourth quarter by 2-0 for an 11-9 win. The game was tied 6-6 at half and 9-9 after three, but Flynn and Raney scored the only goals of the fourth.

● Weightlifting ● In view of the “Do Not Travel” advisory for Venezuela from the U.S. Department of State from July 2023, USA Weightlifting asked the International Weightlifting Federation for special permission to avoid the 2024 Pan American Championships in Caracas.

The State Department’s warning begins with “Do not travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, and the arbitrary enforcement of local laws. Reconsider travel due to wrongful detentions, terrorism, and poor health infrastructure,” and went on from there. The country is ruled by a Socialist government with difficult relations with the U.S.

On Monday, USA Weightlifting announced that its request to compete in the European Championships instead was approved:

“USA Weightlifting is extremely thankful that IWF President Mohammed Jalood and European Weightlifting Federation President Antonio Conflitti are allowing Olympic-eligible Team USA athletes to compete in the 2024 European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, instead of the Pan American Championships in Caracas, Venezuela.

“We’re appreciative that all parties involved have prioritized our delegation’s safety and understand the significant logistical challenges our team faced in traveling to Caracas for the competition. We’re additionally thankful for the assurance that results earned at the European Championships will count for Olympic qualifying.”

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