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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. Paris 2024 says it has sold 6.8 million tickets so far!
2. All Opening Ceremony spectators will need tickets
3. World Athletics replaces indoors with “short track”
4. Seven arrested for abuse against Vinicius Junior
5. Russians refuse IWF’s anti-war declaration requirement
The Paris 2024 organizers announced that it has now sold 6.8 million of the 10 million tickets available for the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games tickets going on sale in October. The last sale saw 1.89 million tickets sold against a projected total of 1.5 million. Officials detailed some of the arrangements for the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony, with everyone needing to register for a ticket, even those watching for free, to allow authorities to position people for security and transportation needs. The World Athletics Council approved a new concept of “short track,” removing the indoor designation and replacing it with rules-to-come to allow use of smaller tracks in place where 400 m ovals are not possible or practical. This could have significant impact in future years. Spanish authorities arrested seven men in connection with hate-crime cases, especially involving Real Madrid striker Vinicius Junior from Brazil. A candlelight march was held in New Delhi, asking for action against the head of the Indian wrestling federation over abuse issues. In weightlifting, 13 Belarusians signed a “non-support” of the Russian war on Ukraine declaration required by the International Weightlifting Federation, allowing them to compete in the IWF Grand Prix tournament in Havana. But no Russians would sign it, leaving them unable to compete under the IWF’s regulations.
● World Championships ● Football (U.S. men undefeated in FIFA U-20 World Cup) = Ice Hockey (U.S. men finish pool play undefeated at IIHF Worlds) ●
● Panorama: U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum (names new chief executive) = Athletics (Spain’s Perez takes 35 km walk world record) = Cycling (Thomas back on top in Giro d’Italia) = Diving (Schnell and Capobianco impress at U.S. Diving nationals) = Judo (six repeat as USA Judo national champs) = Sport Climbing (Grossman wins IFSC World Cup in Salt Lake City) = Swimming (3: triple wins for Sims, Curzan, King and el Kamash at Tyr Pro Swim Mission Viejo; Sjostrom gets two world leads at Mare Nostrum Monaco; Beck and Rasovszky win Open Water World Cups) = Taekwondo (14 Russians and nine Belarusians admitted to Worlds) ●
Paris 2024 says it has sold 6.8 million tickets so far!
“Taking into account the different stages of ticket sales already held (packs of tickets, followed by sales per unit), as well as the sales aimed at the various groups involved in the Games (travel and hospitality packages through the intermediary of On Location; stakeholders; communities; the sports movement; Olympic partners, etc.), Paris 2024 has already sold 6.8 million tickets for the Olympic Games, surpassing initial estimates.”
That’s from a Tuesday announcement by the Paris 2024 organizing committee, which has now sold 68% of all Olympic tickets planned to be available, with 14 months still remaining before the Games.
The statement noted that 3.25 million tickets were sold in the first wave of “ticket pack” sales and a further 1.89 million tickets in the second wave – more than the planned 1.5 million – for a retail total of 5.14 million. That means that another 1.66 million reserved for hospitality and travel packages and sponsors – out of about two million – have been reserved or sold.
The criticisms of ticket pricing continue to be heard, but the open market is hardly holding back. To meet the continuing high interest, another ticket sale is on the way:
“Additionally, to keep up with this considerable demand, Paris 2024 plans to open ticket sales again at the start of summer 2023 (on a date yet to be decided), focusing mainly on the competitions held in regions outside Paris, for football (Bordeaux, Nantes, Nice, Marseille, Lyon and Saint-Etienne), handball and basketball (Lille). These sales will be open to all in France as well as abroad. For the first time in the Paris 2024 sales process, the draw to purchasing timeslots will be replaced by direct sales.”
Another round of ticket sales for all events is slated for the end of the year and will continue through the Games.
The just-completed second-round of sales saw buyers from 178 countries, but 63.5% of the tickets sold went to buyers in France, with an average age of 40. In terms of cost and selection:
● “Almost 60 per cent of the tickets were priced at EUR 100 or less, with 17 per cent of tickets being sold at EUR 24.”
● “Team sports, for which the venues tend to be among the biggest and with the greatest number of sessions available, were the highest sellers as expected. Football was in first place for tickets sold, followed by basketball, handball, athletics and volleyball respectively.”
● “Tickets in all categories for triathlon, sports climbing, BMX racing, BMX freestyle and breaking sold out on the first day they became available (Thursday 11 May), in less than two hours! And sessions such as that where the famous French judoka Teddy Riner will compete (qualifying rounds in the morning and final phases in the evening), or the basketball 3×3 finals also sold out within two hours. The EUR 90 tickets for the Opening Ceremony were all taken up in less than an hour.”
Tickets for the Paralympic Games will begin on 9 October, with 2.8 million tickets to be made available and half of which will be priced at €25 or less. The most expensive seats are promised at €100 each.
All Opening Ceremony spectators will need tickets
The questions of how the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony on the Seine will be arranged are beginning to be answered. At a Tuesday news conference, it was explained that all spectators – the 100,000 with purchased tickets closer to the water – and those on the upper levels watching for free, will be required to register for tickets.
This will allow the organizers and especially the French and Parisian security officials to place people more evenly throughout the 6 km route, avoid any masses in one area and try to match where people will watch to the available transit to the area.
The Ile-de-France transit authorities have said that the system could manage up to 500,000 people coming to the 26 July ceremony, which would mean 400,000 free spectators, but French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin said that he expected 600,000 in total, and explained:
“The high quays will be free and, in connection with the town hall of Paris, we have decided that it was the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior to design, develop, finance and organize a secure pre-registration platform which will allow all the public to register and gain free access to the different areas of the high quays.”
Said Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet at a Tuesday news conference:
“When France organizes the Games — the last time was 100 years ago — it does so with ambition. It’s a challenge to organize a ceremony with these conditions but, again, it’s the biggest audience that France will ever have had, the most beautiful showcase. Our responsibility is to create dreams, to show how incredible this country is.”
Reuters reported that discussions were continuing about how to showcase the Olympic flame on the Eiffel Tower, but not at the top, already filled with various kinds of antennae.
The Opening Ceremony route will go from east to west in 91 boats, with another 25 in reserve for emergencies, with an additional 30 more craft for security. Police deployments are expected to reach 35,000 for the ceremony.
During the Games, there will be 30,000 police securing the Games, rising at a maximum of 45,000 on any single day. Darmanin noted that the security effort will be intense:
“We will be, in terms of security, extremely demanding towards those who will go to the low platforms, the high platforms or who will go to the stadiums, including with the private security management agents. We have increased the screening of the agents security, which sometimes explains the sector’s recruitment difficulties since we have required within the framework of the global security law levels of qualification, a clean criminal record and levels of moralization – let’s put it like that – much more higher than before.”
The threats are well known, from possible drone attacks to continuing protests of the changes in the French pension system. But the show is going on.
World Athletics replaces indoors with “short track”
In a decision designed to significantly change track & field and essentially merge its traditional outdoor and indoor formats, the World Athletics Council gave approval – to be confirmed in August – of a plan to change “indoor” to “short course” track and re-set the possibilities for records in each. Tuesday’s announcement included:
“World Athletics intends to introduce the new term ‘short track’ to replace the current term ‘indoor’ to describe events and performances that are set on a 200m track, traditionally staged indoors.
“The World Athletics Council is supporting the concept of ‘short track’ competition to allow more flexibility in the setting of 200m tracks, which may, in the future, be constructed outdoors or in temporary city locations, rather than in a traditional indoor arena. Performances set on outdoor or temporary 200m tracks could therefore be recognised as official results for the purpose of records and rankings.”
So, it’s the track itself that will count, not whether events are held indoors or not. World Athletics President Sebastian Coe (GBR) explained:
“This change will allow and actively encourage the possibility for 200m tracks to move to an outdoor environment and will provide a more affordable option to cities, especially where space is in short supply, while stimulating the growth of the sport through investment in new infrastructure.”
The specific rules attached to this change were not released, but a new classification of records was listed, with some interesting changes:
● World records, in an absolute sense, will be available for some new distances, including 50 m and 60 m, and 50 m and 60 m hurdles, held anywhere, short track or long.
● Specific Short Track world records will be maintained for 200 m, 400 m, 800 m, 1,500 m, mile, 3,000 m, 5,000 m, 3,000 m walk, 5,000 m walk, 4×200 m, 4×400 m, 4×800 m, pentathlon and heptathlon.
● Field event world records can be set anywhere.
There are questions to be answered, of course, such as the definition of “short track” is: 200 m tracks only, or up to 300 m? Or less than 200 m, like the only 160-yard board tracks used in the heyday of American indoor track.
The World Athletics Council also made a critical change in advancement rules for major events in the 1,500 m, Steeple and 5,000 m, scraping the “next fastest times metric in favor of qualification by place only. So instead of the now-familiar “first two in each heat plus the next fastest three times,” qualifying will require a finish in a specified number of places.
This does not impact events below 1,500 m.
A new rule was approved to allow an empty lane to be filled at an event in case of injury or other difficulty that removes a competitor. Also, personal implements in field events will be allowed, as long as they are approved models.
Seven arrested for abuse against Vinicius Junior
Police in Spain reported arrests of four men in Madrid and three in Valencia for hate crimes against Brazilian striker Vinicius Junior, who plays for Real Madrid:
● “A hate crime investigation was opened after an inflatable effigy dressed in the No. 20 jersey of winger Vinicius Jr was hung from a bridge in front of the club’s training grounds. Alongside it was a 16m (17.5-yard) red and white banner – the colours of rival team Atletico Madrid – that read ‘Madrid hates Real’.”
● “Three men were also arrested in Valencia for racist conduct aimed at Vinicius in a match between Valencia and Real Madrid, police said on Twitter.”
Police said that among the four arrested in Madrid were three were part of a “radical group of fans” in the city, who were already know to authorities.
For its part, the famed Spanish LaLiga asked for a change in Spanish law that would allow it to cancel matches and suspend or ban spectators who misbehave, saying in a statement:
“LaLiga is extremely frustrated by the lack of sanctions and convictions by sporting disciplinary bodies, public administrations and courts public administrations and the jurisdictional bodies to which complaints are made.”
There are rules in place for this, but only after an in-game waiting period, which have not been enforced.
Also on Tuesday in New Delhi, perhaps 1,000 people held a candlelight march “demanding the resignation and arrest of the president of the wrestling federation for allegedly sexually harassing young athletes, one of whom was a minor.”
The protests have been going on for about a month, asking for action against Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. He has denied the allegations and says they are politically motivated. Others have alleged that Singh has urged coaches to exploit female wrestlers being trained by them.
The matter is being investigated by Indian police, but with no results as yet. A report is due at the end of June.
Russians refuse IWF’s anti-war declaration requirement
The International Weightlifting Federation announced Saturday that it had approved 13 Belarusian lifters and six officials to participate in the 2023 IWF Grand Prix in Havana, Cuba, all of whom signed a declaration of “non-support” of the Russian war against Ukraine.
“No signed declarations were received from athletes or support personnel with a Russian passport by the end of the established deadline (May 15, 2023). Therefore, AIN lifters and related staff with Russian passports lost the opportunity to enter the upcoming IWF event in Cuba.
“The IWF gave an equal and fair opportunity to the athletes and support personnel from both concerned countries to participate at the IWF Grand Prix in La Havana (CUB). These recommendations follow the IOC guidelines.”
That’s not how Russian Weightlifting Federation President Maxim Agapitov saw it. He told the Russian news agency TASS:
“Almost two months after the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), on May 12, the IWF Executive Committee decided to allow Russians and Belarusians to the tournaments in a neutral status, but only established new, special, unfair eligibility criteria for us, calling them fair.
“For example, one of the many conditions for athletes’ admission to tournaments is a clause on political views.
“The eight hours provided to the athletes and the [federation] for familiarization and signing of the English-language legal document, which has been prepared for months for us, look like a planned action with a visual attempt to allow Russian athletes to international competitions, but in fact obviously impossible.
“The calculation, apparently, was to ensure that no one had the opportunity to delve into the essence of the document and thoughtlessly signed it for the sake of the long-awaited termination of illegal suspension. Moreover, admission to the IWF tournament, which is a qualification competition for the 2024 Olympics and which will be held in Havana from June 8 to 18, is at stake. What’s wrong with cheese in a mousetrap?”
“Russian weightlifters have fulfilled and are fulfilling all the conditions for participation in international competitions. [The federation] made all applications in a timely manner and fulfilled all the requirements for the participation of our athletes. If the legal participation of our athletes, prescribed in the IWF charter and the Olympic Charter, is still part of the IWF’s plans, then we urge you to stop trying to violate our rights.
“Having read the documents translated into Russian, not a single Russian weightlifter has yet signed a humiliating declaration with discriminatory criteria for admission to IWF competitions that do not comply with the constitution.”
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Football ● At the FIFA men’s U-20 Championships in Argentina, the U.S. men have won their first two games and will play Slovakia on Friday for the group title.
The Americans defeated Ecuador, 1-0, in the opener on a Jonathan Mendoza goal in stoppage time at 90+3, then had an easier time against Fiji with a 3-0 win on scores by Diego Luna (66th), Cade Cowell in the 88th and another ultra-late goal at 90+9 for Caleb Wiley.
The Round of 16 will begin on 30 May, with the quarters on 3-4 June, semis on 8 June and the championship final on the 11th.
● Ice Hockey ● Pool play has concluded at the IIHF men’s World Championship in Finland and Latvia, with the U.S. sporting the only unbeaten record at 7-0, including an overtime win. That’s good for 20 points atop Group A, ahead of Sweden (6-1, one OT win and one OT loss: 18) and defending champ Finland (5-2, one OT loss: 16).
Switzerland was the surprise Group B winner at 6-1 (one OT loss: 19 points), ahead of Canada, which was 5-2 with one OT win and one OT loss (15 points).
In the playoffs beginning on Thursday, the U.S. will face the Czech Republic (4-3), while the Swiss (6-1) will play Germany (4-3), Sweden (6-1) will take on Latvia (5-2) and Canada (5-2) will play Finland (5-2).
The U.S. is leading the tournament with a glossy 34-8 goals-against mark so far, with Cutter Gauthier (19) leading the team with six scores.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum ● Following a months-long search, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum announced that Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences President Marisa Wigglesworth as its new chief executive, to begin in July.
At the Buffalo Society, she is responsible for strategic and operational leadership of the Buffalo Museum of Science and the 264-acre Tifft Nature Preserve, with a budget of $5.4 million, a staff of 70 and more than 200,000 annual visitors.
Wigglesworth was previously the chief of philanthropy at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, head of external affairs at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and chief of philanthropy for Big Brothers Big Sisters International.
● Athletics ● A world record for the women’s 35 km race walk last Sunday for Spain’s Maria Perez at the European Race Walking Team Championships in Podebrady (CZE).
She crushed a good field and led a Spanish sweep, winning in 2:37:15 to shave 29 seconds off of the 2:37:44 by World Champion Kimberly Garcia of Peru in Dudince (SVK) in March. Raquel Gonzalez followed in 2:45:42 with Cristina Montesinos third in 2:45:58.
● Cycling ● Britain’s Geraint Thomas sailed back into the lead at the 106th Giro d’Italia on Tuesday, finishing just behind Portugal’s Joao Almeida, but 25 seconds ahead of Slovenian rival Primoz Roglic on a brutal uphill finish to Monte Bodone at the end of stage 16.
France’s Bruno Armirail started the day as the leader, but finished the 203 km, triple-climb stage in 19th, 4:24 back of the leaders and in seventh place. He dropped back on the final climb, with Almeida leading a group of six who took control of the race just 8 1/2 km from the end, and then he and Thomas accelerating away with 4 km to go, not to be headed.
Thomas’s lead is 18 seconds on Almeida and 29 seconds on Roglic, with Italian Damiano Caruso the next closest at 2:50 back. There’s plenty of climbing left this week on the road to Rome on Sunday, not to mention a third Individual Time Trial on Saturday
● Diving ● The USA Diving National Championships are roaring to a close in Morgantown, West Virginia, with impressive performances by Olympians Delaney Schnell and Andrew Capobianco.
Schnell, who won a Tokyo Olympic silver with Jessica Parratto in the women’s Synchronized 10 m event, teamed with Parratto to win that event, 575.16 to 528.00 for Nike Agunbiade and Katrina Young. Then Schnell won the women’s 10 m final at 689.05, way ahead of Agunbiade (613.95).
Capobianco, the Tokyo silver winner (with Michael Hixon) in the men’s Syncho 3 m, won the men’s 3 m Springboard final by more than 50 points over Tyler Downs, 887.20 to 835.30.
Downs added to his medal count with a win with Gregory Duncan in the men’s Synchro 3 m final, winning by 116.43 points, and Downs took a silver – with Kassidy Cook – in the Mixed Synchro 3 m final. Nineteen-year-old Jack Ryan and 30-year-old Krysta Palmer (the Tokyo 3 m bronze winner) teamed up for the win, 282.27 to 278.04.
Ryan added a win in the men’s 1 m Springboard, scoring 776.90 to 746.25 for Lyle Yost.
Cook got a win with Sarah Bacon in the women’s Synchro 3 m final at 568.08 to 531.30 for Kyndal Knight and Samantha Pickens. Cook and Bacon had previously won the U.S. title in this event in 2020.
In the Mixed Synchro 10 m, Maxwell Weinrich and Kaylee Bishop won with 247.62 points, over Bayleigh Cranford and Aiden Wang (241.86). Jordan Rzepka and Brandon Loschiavo took the men’s Synchro 10 m (763.35) over Maxwell Flory and Zach Cooper (713.52)
Tokyo Olympian Hailey Hernandez won the women’s 1 m Springboard, 530.10 to 501.60 over Joslyn Oakley.
The meet wraps up on Wednesday with the men’s 10 m Platform and women’s 3 m Springboard finals.
● Judo ● The USA Judo National Championships were on in Spokane, Washington, with a lot of familiar faces on the podium and six wins by defending champions.
Among the men’s highlights were repeat national titles from Ari Berliner at 66 kg, defeating Lenny Sheynfeld in the final; Alex Knauf at 90 kg (for his third career U.S. title) and Avtandili Bogveraze at +100 kg, who is listed this year as competing for Georgia, after being affiliated with the U.S. in 2022.
At 73 kg the 2022 runner-up, Dominic Rodriguez won gold this time, over Isaac Charmichael in the final, and defending 81 kg champ Kell Berliner was defeated in the gold-medal match by Johan Silot Suse.
There were three women defenders: Maria Laborde at 48 kg, beating Giovanna Prado in the final; Nicole Stout at 78 kg (her third national title), over Alyssa Zawack, and at +78 kg for Mackenzie Williams, also her third American national championship.
Jenna Schurr went from bronze last year to gold at 52 kg (over Katherine Wu), and Karlee Carrouth moved from silver to gold at 63 kg, beating Regina Arias. Last year’s winner at 70 kg, Yasmin Alamin, reached the final again, but lose to Melissa Myers.
● Sport Climbing ● The fourth stage of the 2023 IFSC World Cup was in Salt Lake City and included a home win for women’s Bouldering leader Natalia Grossman.
She dazzled in the final, clearing four tops and four zones (4T 4Z 5/5), impressively ahead of France’s Oriane Bertone (2T 2Z 3/6) and fellow Americans Brooke Raboutou (2T 3Z 4/10) and Anastasia Sanders (1T 4Z 6/16). For Grossman, it was her eighth career World Cup win, five of which have been at Salt Lake City.
In the men’s Bouldering event, it was Japan claiming gold and silver with two-time World Champion Tomoa Narasaki and Sorato Anraku quite close: 4T4Z 6/5 for the winner and 4T4Z 12/6 for Anraku. American Sean Bailey was fourth (3T3Z 8/7).
The women’s Speed final saw world-record holder Aleksandra Miroslaw claim another victory, ahead of Desak Made (INA) in the final, 6.43 to 6.82.
Indonesian stars Veddriq Leonardo – the world-record holder – and Kiromal Katibin went 1-3 in the men’s Speed, with China’s Peng Wu taking the silver. Leonardo was sensational in the final at 4.95 to 6.99 for Wu, while Katibin – a former world-record holder himself – clocked 4.98 in the bronze final to defeat Sam Watson of the U.S. (5.98).
● Swimming ● The Tyr Pro Swim Series meet in Mission Viejo, California saw triple wins for Bella Sims, Claire Curzan, Lilly King and Egyptian Olympian Marwan el Kamash, and a busy schedule for Torri Huske.
Sims, 17, scored a lifetime best in the 400 m Free to win in 4:06.41, then won the 200 m Free in 1:58.44 and the 800 m Free in 8:29.25, with 14-year-old Kayla Han second in 8:32.88.
Curzan, 18, won the 100 and 200 m Backstroke events in 59.00 and 2:07.78, then claimed the 50 m Fly title in 25.88, ahead of Huske, and finished in tie for third in the 100 m Free – with Rio Olympic co-champ Simone Manuel – in 54.50.
King was dominant in all three Breaststroke events, winning the 50 in 30.09, the 100 in 1:06.67, and the 200 m in 2:25.34.
Huske was everywhere, winning the 100 m Fly in 56.84, the 200 m Medley in 2:11.88, second in the 100 m Free to Abbey Weitzeil, 53.26 to 54.27 and second to Curzan in the 50 m Fly.
Teen star Han opened the meet with a runner-up finish in the women’s 1,500 m Free to Jillian Cox, was second in the 800 m Free and then got a win in the 400 m Medley in 4:42.96.
El Kamash took the 400-800-1,500 m Free races, the only man to win three events. Breaststroke star Nic Fink won the 50 m (27.50) and 100 m (59.77) races, but fell short at 200 m, losing to Jake Foster, 2:11.58 to 2:11.72.
The Backstroke races were closely fought, with Justin Ress, the 2022 World 50 m Champion, winning in 24.79 ahead of world-record holder Hunter Armstrong (24.91). But Armstrong grabbed the 100 m Back in 52.82, ahead of former Olympic champ Ryan Murphy (53.36), and then Keaton Jones won the 200 m Back, ahead of Murphy by 1:57.04 to 1:57.50.
Ryan Held grabbed sprint title in the 100 m Free (48.74) and 50 m Fly (23.76), tied with Youssef Ramadan (EGY).
Some more hot swimming at the third and final leg of the Mare Nostrum series in Monaco over the weekend, with Swedish star Sarah Sjostrom, now 29, claiming a world-leading time in the fourth round of the women’s 50 m Free in 23.82 (11th-fastest performance ever), just ahead of Australian star Cate Campbell (24.34), now fourth on the year list.
Sjostrom also won the women’s 50 m Fly final in 24.89, another world leader; she owns the top four performances of the year.
Lara van Niekerk (RSA) clocked 29.75 in the fifth round of the women’s 50 m Breast, fastest in 2023. Canada’s Ingrid Wilm moved to no. 2 in the women’s 50 m Back at 27.37.
In the men’s 50 m Free, Hungary’s Szebasztian Szabo out-touched American Michael Andrew, 21.72 to 21.74, to move to nos. 2-3 on the 2023 world list. Andrew, however, won the men’s 50 m Fly final in 22.85 to move to no. 2 in the world for 2023, just ahead of Italian star Thomas Ceccon (22.87), now no. 3.
At the World Aquatics Open Water 10 km World Cup races in Golfo Aranci, Italy (Sardinia), Hungary’s Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Kristof Rassovszky surged on the final lap to win in 1:47:17.6, just ahead of Italy’s Domenico Acerenza (1:47:20.1) and German Oliver Klemet (1:47:20.5). Joey Tepper was the top American in 10th (1:49:00.4).
Germany’s Leonie Beck, the 2022 Worlds runner-up, won her second straight World Cup in 1:56:17.4, ahead of Italians Ginevra Taddeucci (1:56:18.6) and Giulia Gabbrielleschi (1:56:20.5). Beck worked her way up from 56th after the first lap to the lead on the final lap and won by daylight. Mariah Denigan of the U.S. was sixth in 1:56:31.2.
The weather was rainy and the water itself was a challenge with the temperature at just 62 degrees F (17 C) and everyone was wearing wet suits. Germany, with Beck and Klemet, plus Rob Muffels and and Lea Boy, won the 4×1500 m relay in 1:04.57.7 over Italy (1:04:58.6).
The U.S. squad of Denigan, Tepper, Dylan Gravely and Kensey McMahon finished fourth in 1:06:17.1.
● Taekwondo ● The 2023 World Championships will begin in Azerbaijan on 29 May, with World Taekwondo declaring:
“23 athletes have been provisionally approved to participate as Individual Neutral Athletes (AIN) following the completion of the three-step verification process established by the World Taekwondo Council on April 3. On arrival in Baku they will have to sign a declaration committing to fully respecting the conditions of participation. Two athletes’ registrations were rejected after the Review Committee determined that they did not meet the eligibility criteria.”
The approved athletes apparently include 14 Russians and nine from Belarus, but the two were not allowed were Tokyo Olympic gold medalists Maksim Khramtsov (80 kg) and Vladislav Larin (+80 kg).
Gennady Zhigulsky, the Executive Director of the Taekwondo Union of Russia told TASS on Tuesday:
“We have just received information that both of these athletes have been suspended from the World Championships. What can I say? Apparently, it is beneficial for someone to eliminate competitors without waiting for the start of the competition.”
A undisclosed source told TASS:
“Larin and Khramtsov were not allowed the first time, there was an additional commission … They asked questions about social networks, why they liked something somewhere, there were some comments or photos somewhere.”
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