TSX REPORT: Paris 2024 security unchanged over Moscow attack; Walsh sisters star in NCAA swimming; IOC pairs with Looney Tunes!

A new Delta "LA28" Airbus airliner coming soon! (Photo courtesy Nuno Seletti/Airways Magazine)

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1. Paris 2024: no change in security status after Moscow attack
2. CONCACAF: Mexican fan chant “extremely disappointing”
3. Walsh sisters lead Virginia to another NCAA women’s swim title
4. IOC formalizes Looney Tunes licensing deal
5. Modest early ratings for ISU Figure Skating Worlds

● Friday’s horrific mass killings at a suburban Moscow concert hall has not impacted the planning for security for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. French authorities are already extra vigilant for Islamic plots, given past incidents in the country. The Ile-de-France President told reporters that fans might want to choose less crowded transport options and walk the last leg to the venues this summer.

● The CONCACAF Nations League final was stopped twice near the end the game for yet another instance of a homophobic chant from Mexican fans on goal kicks from U.S. keeper Matt Turner. CONCACAF issued a statement condemning the conduct and multiple fans were sent home, but the problem persists.

● Gretchen Walsh had an NCAA women’s swimming championship to remember, with three individual wins, three collegiate records and four more wins on relays as her Virginia squad won its fourth title in a row. Sister Alex Walsh also got three individual wins, and Florida frosh Bella Sims won two individual events and a relay. Remember those names for the Olympic Trials!

● The International Olympic Committee announced its formal licensing deal with Warner Bros. Discovery’s worldwide merchandising arm, another step in its effort to raise the Olympic profile in non-Games years.

● Audiences for the first day of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal last Thursday ran right into the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and were down from their usual levels. Same for the CONCACAF Nations League semis in Spanish, but wrestling did well!

Olympic Trials: Table Tennis (U.S.’s Wang and Sung on to Paris; Jha and Kumar head to qualifier) ●

Panorama: Los Angeles 2028 (new LA28-themed Delta plane spotted) = Alpine Skiing (2: Radamus stars at U.S. Alpine nationals; Zermatt-Cervinia abandoned for 2024-25 season) = Bobsled & Skeleton (four indicted to USABS Hall of Fame) = Football (Reyna named top player at CONCACAF Nations League) = Freestyle Skiing (Two more national Moguls titles for Kauf!) = Rowing (U.S. names Paris Olympic selections in larger boats) ●

Errata: Some readers saw a version of Monday’s post which stated that U.S. star Ilia Malinin was the third-to-last skater at the 2024 men’s Free Skate at the 2024 World Championships. In fact, he was the last skater. Thanks to former USA Figure Skating Executive Director David Raith for the correction! ●

Schedule: Owing to a scheduled technical installation, no post will appear on Wednesday. Back in action on Thursday! ●

Paris 2024: no change in security status after Moscow attack

The terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue in a Moscow suburb on Friday night, which killed 137 and injured more than 100, did not change the stance of security forces working on the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

In response to the attack and continuing concerns over Islamist plots against French targets, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal posted on X (ex-Twitter) on Friday:

“Following the attack in Moscow, a Defense and National Security Council was convened this evening at the Elysée by the President of the Republic.

“Given the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the attack and the threats weighing on our country, we have decided to raise the Vigipirate posture to its highest level: attack emergency.”

RMC Sport reported comments from an unidentified member of the Paris 2024 organizing committee on Monday, which explained:

“This has already been taken into account for several months.

“After the attack in Arras in 2023, the Vigipirate plan had already reached the maximum level, the same subject came back in the news. The attack of October 7 [by Hamas against Israel] is also taken into account in our analyzes and in the work of the Olympic Intelligence Center. The threat has never weakened, we must keep that in mind.”

Valerie Pecresse, the President of the Ile-de-France region which includes Paris, told reporters on Monday, “You shouldn’t be afraid to do a little walking, it’s good for your health. It’s August.”

Pecresse said the transportation services throughout the region are being coordinated with the Paris 2024 schedule of events and that online resources will be available to show rail lines that are overcrowded, and – importantly – “all the deserted lines with the distances to be covered on foot with their equivalent in minutes.”

Her hope is that spectators will opt for alternate routes, “which sometimes require finishing the journey on foot.”

She also hopes for help from younger visitors to take up the walking option: “We hope that between 25 and 35 years old, we can from time to time extend the journey on foot.”

CONCACAF: Mexican fan chant “extremely disappointing”

It has happened again and again and it happened Sunday evening at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas near the end of the U.S.’s 2-0 win over Mexico in the final of the CONCACAF Nations League.

Referee Drew Fischer (CAN) stopped play in the 89th minute for more than three minutes after the chant came following a goal kick from U.S. keeper Matt Turner, and then again after a Turner goal kick at 90+6.

A CONCACAF statement was issued late Sunday:

“Concacaf condemns the discriminatory chanting in the final minutes of the Nations League Final between Mexico and the United States men’s national teams.

“Security staff in the stadium identified and ejected a significant number of fans, and the referee and match officials activated the FIFA protocol.

“Concacaf in 2021 launched its What’s Wrong Is Wrong campaign, through which it has consistently urged fans to cease the chant, with regular digital communications and significant in-stadium messaging before and during all Concacaf events.

“It is extremely disappointing that this matter continues to be an issue at some matches, particularly in the context of the next two years presenting such a tremendous opportunity to grow the sport in our region. We will continue to urge fans to support their teams positively and with respect for the opposition and all participants in the game.”

There were 59,471 at AT&T Stadium for the final, which was well in hand for the U.S. after Gio Reyna’s goal in the 63rd for a 2-0 lead. The homophobic chant from Mexican fans has been an issue for years, and happened in 2023 during the U.S.’s 3-0 win against Mexico in the Nations League semifinal in Las Vegas on 15 June.

The U.S. team was also hit by fan-thrown debris after Reyna’s 63rd-minute goal.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino (SUI) has suggested stronger measures are needed to respond to fan provocations, such as immediate forfeits, but no new rules have yet been adopted.

Walsh sisters lead Virginia to another NCAA women’s swim title

The University of Virginia women won their fourth straight NCAA Division I women’s swimming & diving title last week at Athens, Georgia, powered by Gretchen and Alex Walsh.

Those will be familiar names at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Indianapolis in June. Gretchen, 21, won a full set of medals at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships with a gold on the women’s 4×100 m Medley relay, silver on the 4×100 m Free relay and a bronze in the women’s 50 m Butterfly.

Alex, 22, won the Tokyo Olympic silver in the 200 m Medley and was the 2022 World Champion in that event.

Between them, they won six individual events and had legs on four winning Virginia relays as the Cavaliers won the team title with 527.5 points to 441 for Texas and 364 for Florida.

Gretchen not only won her three events, but destroyed the records in each:

50-yard Free: 20.37, NCAA and American Records
100-yard Free: 44.83, NCAA and American Records
100-yard Fly: 47.42, NCAA and American Records

Alex also scored three wins:

200-yard Breast: 2:02.07
200-yard Medley: 1:49.20
400-yard Medley: 3:55.97

Overshadowed by the Walsh sisters was Florida frosh Bella Sims, a Tokyo Olympic silver medalist in high school in the 4×200 m Free relay, who won two events:

200-yard Free: 1:40.90
500-yard Free: 4:32.47

Sims also grabbed a third win with her teammates in the 800 m Free relay in 6:48.59, with Emma Weyant – the Tokyo Olympic 400 m Medley silver medalist – also aboard, and was third in the 200-yard Back.

Remember those names come June.

IOC formalizes Looney Tunes licensing deal

As previously signaled, the International Olympic Committee and Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products formally announced their licensing deal which will see official Olympic products featuring WBD’s iconic cartoon characters:

“Beloved characters such as Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote and Tweety will now feature in a range of consumer products developed with official licensees.

“The Looney Tunes characters have a long association with sport, including their starring role in the 1996 blockbuster ‘Space Jam’ and its 2021 sequel ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy,’ as well as a past product collection featuring Team USA that debuted during the Olympic Games Atlanta 1996.”

The deal goes beyond the IOC alone and the announcement noted:

“WBDGCP has partnered with the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games in the United States of America and Italy, and with the National Olympic Committees in Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Spain and Mexico to create country-specific Looney Tunes merchandise for each Olympic team. It also created Paralympic team merchandise for the USA and Brazil.”

All of this is part of an effort, stated in Olympic Agenda 2020+5, to promote the Olympic Games more strongly during the “off years” when no Olympic or Winter Games is held. The IOC has slowly but surely begun a licensing program which included merchandise with some past Olympic marks, but is now working with a global licensing giant in Warner Bros. Discovery.

No timetable was offered on the availability of items online or in stories in licensed countries.

Modest early ratings for ISU Figure Skating Worlds

The ISU World Figure Skating Championships were held in Montreal (CAN) last week, an excellent time zone for U.S. viewers, but directly against the enormously popular NCAA men’s Basketball Tournament.

Audience data from Nielsen from the first day (21st) showed below-average viewing for the men’s Short Program and Pairs Short Program on USA Network:

21 Mar.: 170,000 for men’s Short Program (1 p.m. Eastern)
21 Mar.: 238,000 for Pairs Short Program (8 p.m. Eastern)

While the entire event was shown on Peacock (no audience totals available), portions were shown daily on USA Network or on NBC. More data is expected later this week.

The CONCACAF Nations League semifinals at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, were shown only on Paramount+ in English, but also by Univision’s TUDN in Spanish:

21 Mar.: 140,000 for U.S. vs. Jamaica on TUDN (6:28 p.m. Eastern)
21 Mar.: 294,000 for Panama vs. Mexico on TUDN (9:37 p.m. Eastern)

These numbers are also down from other Spanish-language broadcasts with Mexico or the U.S. playing. Blame March Madness!

Surprisingly strong on Thursday (21st) was the NCAA Wrestling Championships on ESPN, which drew an average of 282,000 viewers at 7 p.m. Eastern, against both the NCAA basketball games, figure skating and the Nations League!


● Table Tennis ● Two-time Olympian Kanak Jha and two-time national champion Amy Wang collected victories at the U.S. Olympic Trials held West Monroe, Louisiana, with Wang and runner-up Rachel Sung headed to Paris.

The U.S. women had already earned three Olympic quota spots for Paris – with Lily Zhang already qualified – so the top two at the Trials will go. Wang and Sung played on Sunday’s final day, with Wang winning in straight sets, 11-9, 11-5, 12-10 and 13-11.

Wang finished undefeated (9-0) and lost a total of only five sets. Sung was 3-3 going into Sunday, but won her matches against Angela Guan and Tiffany Ke to secure second. Both Wang and Sung are UCLA sophomores and lifelong friends.

Jha steamed through the Trials with a 9-0 record and lost only seven sets during the tournament. Nikhil Kumar finished second, starting 7-2 before a Sunday loss to Jha. 8-11, 3-11, 11-9, 4-11, 9-11.

Jha and Kumar, a 2019 Pan American Games Team gold medalist, will attempt to qualify for Paris at the Pan American Qualifier in Lima (PER) from 14-18 May.


● Olympic Games 2028: Los Angeles ● Airways Magazine reported a new Delta airplane is being readied, with special LA28 decorations.

An on-order Airbus A350-900 has been spotted at the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France, yet to have its engines attached, and will be ready in a few months.

The red-and-deep blue color scheme – with night stars – incorporates Delta’s integrated LA28 logo on the side of the plane, and three black palm trees mark the transition between the front of the plane – in white – and the mid-plane coloration.

Delta introduced a “Team USA” plane in 2022, an A330-900; the airline said it wasn’t ready to talk about the LA28-themed aircraft just yet.

● Alpine Skiing ● The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Alpine nationals were in Sun Valley, Idaho, with River Radamus collecting two titles to bring his career total to four.

He won the Super-G in 1:15,24, ahead of Kyle Negomir (1:15.38) and Isaiah Nelson (1:15.45), then took the Giant Slalom in 2:03.91, taking a big lead on the first run. Bridger Gile (2:04.58) finished second and George Steffey (2:05.11) was third.

Luke Winters won his fourth U.S. title overall and third in the Slalom, timing 1:46.22, ahead of Croatia’s Matej Vidovic (1:46.65) and Camden Palmquist of the U.S. (1:47.32).

The women’s Super-G went to 18-year-old Elisabeth Bocock (1:06.62) over Allison Mollin (1:07.37) and Tatum Grosdidier (1:07.45); it’s Bocock’s first U.S. title. World Cup veteran Paula Moltzan won the Giant Slalom by 2:10.34 to 2:10.39 over Bocock, with Madison Hoffman (AUS: 2:12.83) in third. It’s Moltzan’s fourth national championship.

The women’s Slalom was a rare tie for the win between three-time Australian national champ Hoffman and defending champ Lila Lapanja (USA), both in 1:46.07. Zoe Zimmerman of the U.S. got third (1:46.42). It’s the fourth career U.S. national title win for Lapanja.

The International Ski & Snowboard Federation announced Monday that the controversial Zermatt-Cervinia cross-border race will not be attempted in the 2024-25 season:

“[I]t has been agreed by FIS, Swiss-Ski and the Federazione Italiana Sport Invernali (FISI) not to include Zermatt/Cervinia in the Alpine draft calendar 2024/25.

“The first cross-border Alpine World Cup races were part of the men’s and women’s calendars in the 2022/23 and 2023/24 seasons but could not make history due to unfavourable weather conditions in both years.”

The event, initially organized as a cross-border breakthrough event, not only had to be canceled twice, but drew criticism from environmental groups for race grooming that involved excavations on the Matterhorn glacier.

● Bobsled & Skeleton ● USA Bobsled & Skeleton hosted the final IBSF World Cup of the 2023-24 season and also inducted four new members to the USABS Hall of Fame.

The 1936 Winter bobsled Two-Man bronze medalists, Gilbert Colgate Jr. and Dick Lawrence, were inducted posthumously, as was photographer Kay Jones of Lake Placid, a fixture at the track for decades.

Skeleton racer David Kurtz, a Pennsylvania attorney, was a captain of the 1994 and 1998 U.S. Olympic Bobsled teams and served as the Skeleton race director at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

● Football ● U.S. midfield star Gio Reyna was named as the Best Player at the CONCACAF Nations League after his goal in the final and two assists in the semifinal win over Jamaica.

Teammate Matt Turner was named Best Goalkeeper, with two shutouts in the four matches he played, including the final against Mexico.

Panama received the Fair Play Award.

● Freestyle Skiing ● At the U.S. Moguls Championships at Waterville, New Hampshire, Beijing Olympic silver medalist Jaelin Kauf was the star, winning both the Moguls and Dual Moguls events for her sixth and seventh career U.S. titles.

She first took the Moguls win at 84.80, ahead of Kasey Hogg (84.47) and Tess Johnson (83.24) in exceptionally snowy conditions. In Dual Moguls, Kauf won over Elizabeth Lemley in the gold-medal final and Alli Macuga defeated Kylie Kariotis for the bronze.

The men’s Moguls gold went to Ryan Tam (84.23) over 2021 national champ Nick Page (84.12) and Charlie Mickel (83.98), and then Mickel took the Dual Moguls win, beating Gavin Tobey in the gold-medal final. Jackson Crockett won the bronze. It’s the first U.S. title for Tam and the second for Mickel.

● Rowing ● USRowing named 21 members of its Paris 2024 Olympic Team, including medal-winning teams from the 2023 World Championships.

The men’s Four, silver medalists in 2023, returns intact, with Liam Corrigan, Michael Grady, Nick Mead and Justin Best, all second-time Olympians. In the women’s Double Sculls, Sophia Vitas and Kristi Wagner won the Worlds bronze last year, with Wagner a Tokyo Olympian.

The 2022 Worlds silver medalists in the women’s Lightweight Double Sculls, Michelle Sechser and Molly Reckford, are headed to Paris; they finished fifth in Tokyo. Sechser also won the Worlds silver in 2023, but with Mary Jones.

In the women’s Eights, five members of the 2023 Worlds silver winners will be available, with Charlotte Buck, Cristina Castagna (coxswain), Margaret Hedeman, Mary Mazzio-Manson, and Regina Salmons all named to a 13-women squad for the Eights and Fours. Meghan Musnicki, now 41, a three-time Olympian and member of the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalists and a five-time World Champion, was also named to the squad.

The U.S. men’s Eights team was selected and will try to qualify at the World Rowing Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne (SUI) from 19-21 May.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic trials for other events will be held from 4-7 April in Sarasota, Florida.

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