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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. World Rowing confirms move to Long Beach for LA 2028
2. IOC CoComm chief says Paris 2024 “on track”
3. Germany agrees on added compensation to Munich Massacre families
4. Meyers-Taylor elected to USOPC Board for 2023-26
5. Australia’s Groves wins La Vuelta Stage 11 sprint
A three-year process to move the 2028 Olympic rowing competition from Lake Perris to the historic Long Beach Marine Stadium was confirmed by World Rowing, agreeing to a one-time change to a 1,500 m race course. The head of the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission for the Paris 2024 Games said the project is “on track” and is fully confident in the preparations and even the budget so far. The German government, with the State of Bavaria and City of Munich contributing, announced a compensation settlement with the families of the 11 Israeli athletes, coaches and officials killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, days ahead of the official, 50-year commemoration ceremony. Four-time Olympian and Olympic and Worlds bobsled medalist Elana Meyers Taylor was elected by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Athletes Advisory Council to serve on the USOPC Board of Directors starting in January. At the Vuelta a Espana, Australian Kaden Groves won the sprint finish to Stage 11, while Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel continues in the overall lead.
World Rowing confirms move to Long Beach for LA 2028
/Updated/Among the 142 pages of the agenda and reports for the 2022 World Rowing Congress to be held on 26 September is the introduction by President Jean-Christophe Rolland (FRA) that includes the federation’s agreement to move to the rowing events for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles:
“For some time now, I have widely shared our analysis on the opportunity to organise the Olympic and Paralympic regattas in Long Beach, rather than on Lake Perris as initially proposed in the bid file, in order to adapt to the context and to be in perfect harmony with the 2020 Olympic Agenda. Following our investigations, measurements and technical analyses, the Board has decided to formally accept this option proposed by the LA28 OGOC. We consider that reducing to 1500m, adapting to the technical and environmental constraints was a significant and justified effort, but one that will of course remain exceptional and unique. I would like to remind you that only the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic regattas are affected by this exceptional decision. Our existing Rules will continue to apply to all other official competitions. The ball is now in the Organising Committee’s court for the next steps.”
Translation: Moving the events from Lake Perris to Long Beach ostensibly removes a separate housing issue in Riverside County for the LA28 organizers, and makes the Games more compact and hopefully, saves money. The original request from LA28 was made in early 2019 and informally agreed by World Rowing in November of 2021. Now it’s final.
The Long Beach Marine Stadium is historic, having been used for the 1932 Olympic Games, but with the installation of the J.H. Davies Bridge in 1955, the course length is restricted and a full course of 2,000 m cannot be accommodated. So, the competitions will be shorter, at 1,500 m.
The 2,000 m course length was adopted for Stockholm in 1912; it was 1,750 m for Paris 1900, 3,218 m for St. Louis in 1904 and 2,414 m for London 1908. And for the post-war 1948 Games in London, the course was 1,850 m, so a different distance is not unprecedented. But this will be the shortest course in Olympic history.
The Marine Stadium, however, is adjacent to the Pacific Ocean and is impacted by tidal issues. Morning competitions will be called for and so there may be a need for some housing support close to the venue to keep crews from making pre-dawn bus rides from the Village at UCLA to Long Beach. That is yet to be determined.
The change of venue for rowing naturally means that the Canoeing competitions needs to be moved as well. The International Canoe Federation is already on board with this and has been since last year. A November 2021 inquiry at an ICF Council meeting was replied to with: “We are in Long Beach. LA28 wants it there.”
The rowing folks, however, are continuing to negotiate with the International Olympic Committee and LA28 about the program for 2028. The IOC has long been trying to eliminate the Lightweight division in the Games, which included the Double Sculls for men and women at Tokyo 2020 and listed for Paris 2024. Rolland wrote:
“[T]he objective remains to propose the inclusion of three Coastal Rowing events for Los Angeles 2028, a proactive and ambitious attitude in the face of the IOC’s position to eliminate lightweight events. We are entering the final phase of this phase, including an evaluation according to very precise criteria in line with Agenda 2020+5. This centres around aspects of costs and complexity, popularity and interest for the host country, universality, and gender equality and relevance for young people.
“In order to put the odds in our favour, the Council decided, based on the analysis and recommendation of the Coastal Rowing Commission, to focus on the ‘beach sprint’ format which, in the context of Los Angeles 2028, potentially Brisbane 2032 and the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026, offers a more relevant and powerful argument.”
Note that World Rowing is trying to add another event to its existing total of 14. That decision should come in 2023.
(Thanks to reader Paul Roberts for spotting a typo on the 1904 – not 2004 – St. Louis Olympic Games.)
IOC CoComm chief says Paris 2024 “on track”
“I can say, on behalf of all of the members of the Coordination Commission, that we were blown away by the level of accuracy, the precision, and the state of preparation for these Games.”
That’s IOC member Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant (BEL), the head of the Paris 2024 Coordination Commission, as interpreted into English during a Wednesday news conference following three days of meetings with the organizing committee.
He left no doubt of his confidence in the 2024 Games:
● “It is obviously normal for things to change, we have had adaptations, but over the course of the adaptations that have been made, this project has been strengthened on all different fronts. The vision [remains] to make these Olympic Games as spectacular as possible, emblematic, also the use of different emblematic sites in Paris, that Paris can offer.
“We are looking at sustainable, we are looking at responsible Games, and also Games that will be useful for French society and the world of tomorrow. All of the different pieces of the puzzle are intact, and they have been well prepared, and I think that they are very much well alive.”
● “Preparations for Paris 2024 are underway; we are on the right track for meeting different deadlines and this for us is a fundamental issue. Why? If you’re slightly off-track six years out, that’s fine, but two years out, we have to be following the different steps that have been outlined. And this is the case, which will allow us to deliver on the Olympic Games.
“We are two years out, in fact, less than two years out, and despite all of the different constraints that were imposed because of the pandemic and because of the economic crisis and geopolitical crisis that we have seen the past eight months, it’s remarkable that they’ve still managed to stay on track, and therefore, I would like to commend all the different stakeholders involved in Paris 2024 that have been here over the course of the last few days.
“We are leaving with strengthened trust in the leadership of Paris 2024.”
● “Collectively, all together, all of the different stakeholders, we want to deliver on this vision of Paris 2024, the elements of the ambition and the vision that will ensure that Paris 2024 and its Olympic Games will be a turning point in the history of the modern Olympic Games. They will be unique, useful, with real legacy left for France. In fact, a legacy which is already showing and will continue beyond the closing of the Olympic Games.”
Multiple questions were raised about the budget, which Paris 2024 head Tony Estanguet (FRA) has said is under pressure from the worldwide inflationary pressures and supply-chain issues. A third comprehensive budget will be released at the end of the year and the IOC and Paris 2024 are already engaged in an “optimization” process to find cost efficiencies wherever possible. Said Beckers-Vieujant:
“We are leaving Paris with the conviction, with the belief that Paris 2024 is on track and will be able to overcome the [budget] challenge and the challenges that may present themselves in the upcoming weeks and months. The teams are ready, the projects are in place, and I have blind faith in Paris 2024.”
As for the organizing committee’s domestic sponsorship sales effort, Beckers-Vieujant was optimistic:
“They’re still on track and happy that it’s going to reach the percentage it’s aiming for – 80% by the end of the year – then there’s no reason for concern. In fact, there are discussions on different levels – tier one, two and three – that are ongoing. There’s quite a lot in the pipeline and I know the teams are very busy with this. It is important, of course, because it’s over the next few months that we’re going to have to bring all of these marketing programs to a positive end. But we’re very happy with the level of involvement on the part of certain companies, and so at this stage, no reason for concern.”
Beckers-Vieujant said there had been no discussions about lowering the capacity along the River Seine for the Opening Ceremony from 600,000 to perhaps 400,000. Estanguet noted that discussions are continuing with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) about the use of the well-known Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille – built in 2012 with a retractable roof – for preliminary basketball matches, with the federation asking if the facility can be air-conditioned … at the expense of Paris 2024, of course.
Germany agrees on added compensation to
Munich Massacre families
German media reported that an agreement on added compensation to the families of the 11 Israeli athletes and officials killed by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich 1972 Olympic Games had been reached, with family members now expected to attend the formal, 50-year memorial ceremony in Munich on 5 September.
The German government previously made payments to the families in 1972 and again in 2002, but these were derided as trivial in view of amounts paid to the victims of other tragedies.
Reports indicated that €28 million (about $28.02 million U.S.) will be paid in total, principally by the German government (€22.5 million), with smaller shares contributed by the State of Bavaria (€5 million) and the City of Munich (€500,000).
Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said:
“The German government welcomes the fact that it has now been possible to reach an agreement with the relatives on an overall concept to mark the 50th anniversary.
“This includes the reappraisal of the events by a commission of German and Israeli historians, the release of files in accordance with the law, the classification and acceptance of political responsibility within the framework of the commemoration ceremony, as well as the provision of further recognition services by the federal government, by the state of Bavaria and by the city of Munich.”
In a joint statement, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Israeli President Isaac Herzog noted:
“The agreement cannot heal all wounds. But it opens a door to each other. With this agreement, the German state acknowledges its responsibility and recognizes the terrible suffering of the murdered and their relatives, which we will commemorate next week.”
Meyers-Taylor elected to USOPC Board for 2023-26
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Athletes Advisory Council (AAC) elected four-time Olympian – and five-time medal winner – Elana Meyers Taylor to serve on the USOPC Board of Directors from 2023-26.
Meyers Taylor will replace Steve Mesler – also a bobsledder – as one of three AAC-elected, athlete representatives on the 18-member USOPC Board. Her term will begin on 1 January 2023.
Meyers Taylor is widely respected not only as an athlete – winning five Olympic medals from 2010-22 (0-3-2) and eight World Championships medals (4-2-2) – but also for her leadership. She was elected to be a U.S. team’s flagbearer at the Beijing 2022 Opening Ceremony, but could not participate due to Covid, and was then elected to be flagbearer at the Closing Ceremony.
No stranger to board rooms, she has served on the board of USA Bobsled & Skeleton and as President of the Women’s Sports Foundation, and had a two-month internship in 2014 at the International Olympic Committee.
Australia’s Groves wins La Vuelta Stage 11 sprint
The mildly hilly, 191.2 km 11th stage of the 77th La Vuelta a Espana ended with a flat finish into Cabo de Gata, meaning the stage was for the sprinters.
German John Degenkolb made the first move toward the finish, but was passed by Sebastian Molano (COL), but the trio of Kaden Groves (AUS), Danny van Poppel (NED) and Tim Merlier (BEL) blew by to finish 1-2-3 in 5:03:14, with the top 120 riders all given the same time. It was Groves’ first career win in a Grand Tour.
No change in the overall standings, with Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel leading three-time defending champ Primoz Roglic (SLO) by 2:41 and Spain’s Enric Mas by 3:03. Thursday’s stage is a lengthy 192.7 km, finishing with a brutal final climb to the finish in Penas Blancas with a rise of 1,260 m in the final 20 km.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Athletics ● Remember Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, the Belarusian sprinter who criticized her coaches at Tokyo 2020, then escaped at the Tokyo airport and eventually was granted asylum in Poland?
She’s a Polish citizen now, and on an Instagram post as Kristi Timanovskaya, she wrote in part (in Polish):
“Last Saturday, the Polish Team Championship took place, where I won the individual 100 meters, and our team @azsawf took second place
“This was my first official competition in which I participated not as a Belarusian, but as a Pole.
“After all, after such a long time, I can go to the track without any problems and represent my club. …
“Thank you @polishathletics for welcoming me and giving me the chance to continue my sports career.
“This season has been strange and difficult for me, but now I am going to rest and prepare for the new season with renewed vigor. I’m sure everything will be different now and my results will increase a lot.”
Timanovskaya, now 25, has run 11.31 this season and has a best of 11.04 from 2018; if she could regain that form, she could be one of her country’s best sprinters.
● Football ● The European Football Union (UEFA) announced impressive audience figures for the 2022 Women’s European Championship held in July, with 365 million estimated to have watched some part of the tournament worldwide.
That’s from 60 broadcast partners around the world, including ESPN in the U.S. and is an all-time record. The growth of interest in the women’s game was demonstrated by comparison to the two prior tournaments that drew 116 million in 2013 and 178 million in 2017.
The in-person attendance of 574,875 at the 10 different stadia in England that hosted game shredded the prior high of 240,055 from 2017 in The Netherlands. The per-match average of 18,544 was also a record.
● Sailing ● This is about Russian and Belarusian officials. World Sailing suspended eight individuals from the federation’s board and committees on late May, with the suspensions quickly appealed.
The World Sailing Judicial Board appointed an independent panel to hear the cases and a 12 August decision upheld the federation’s suspensions for all offices actually held. Other bodies, such as the IOC, do not want Russian or Belarusian athletes to compete, but have not suspended officials from those countries. World Sailing’s governing Council will review this policy in November.
● Swimming ● Marijuana use is looked at liberally in some countries, but not in Singapore. Rio 2016 hero Joseph Schooling – who swam at the University of Texas and won the 100 m Butterfly over American icon Michael Phelps – knows this only too well.
Now 27, Schooling has not reached the same level since Rio, but has been a consistent medal winner at regional competitions, including the important Asian Games. His two-year National Service conscription to the military was deferred through the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games last year and while he began serving in January 2022, he was allowed time off for training and competitions.
That ended on Tuesday (30th) as he admitted to cannabis use in preparation for and during the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi (VIE). The military will no longer allow “disruptions” to his service for training or competitions, and his case will be handled by the military as he is considered an active-duty service member.
He tested negative for marijuana at the Southeast Asian Games, but admitted the use in May. He could be sentenced to detention in a military facility, and the case is ongoing.
● Volleyball ● Defending champion Poland completed group play undefeated, along with five other teams at the FIVB Men’s World Championship being played in Katowice (POL) and Ljubljana (SLO).
Italy, Serbia, Poland, Brazil, France and the Netherlands all went 3-0 in their groups and advanced as winners to the round of 16, single-elimination playoffs that start on 3 September. The U.S. men were 2-1 – losing to Poland in four sets – in Group C and are seeded eight, playing Turkey on 4 September in Gilwice (POL); a victory would send the U.S. against the winner of Poland-Tunisia in the 8 September quarterfinals.
For our updated, 620-event International Sports Calendar for 2022 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!