TSX REPORT: Salt Lake 2034 sailing, headwinds for French Alps 2030; four more Valieva 2022 appeals! Big TV audience for NYC Grand Prix!

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1. Salt Lake City 2034 bid sails on, not so French Alps 2030
2. Bach: emotional moment at the Eiffel Tower
3. IOC: Int’l Federation role is not to pay prize money
4. Four new appeals in Beijing 2022 skating Team event drama
5. Strong NYC Grand Prix TV audience, good NCAA T&F ratings

● The International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board approved the recommendations of its Future Host Commission and forwarded the French Alps 2030 bid and the Salt Lake City 2034 bid to the IOC Session for approval in July. The Salt Lake City bid is complete; the French Alps bid still needs government guarantees.

● IOC President Thomas Bach opened the Executive Board meeting Lausanne by telling his colleagues about Paris 2024: “They are ready. They are set,” and shared an emotional moment of seeing the Olympic Rings on the Eiffel Tower.

● The IOC Executive Board posted a statement, chiding World Athletics for offering prize money for the winners of the Paris 2024 track and field events, including “The NOCs and the IFs have different roles to play to make their support for athletes effective and transparent.”

● Four appeals in the endless wrangling over the Beijing 2022 Winter Games were filed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, including three from Russia and one from Canada, all widely anticipated. A hearing on the Russian appeals was held Wednesday; the Canadian appeal hearing is still to come.

● Big viewing audience for the NYC Grand Prix track meet on NBC on Sunday, with 1.371 million, following an 81% year-over-year increase for ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA Track & Field Championships! But both were overshadowed by football matches, especially the Brazil vs. Mexico friendly in College Station, Texas!

Panorama: Paris 2024 (2: Air France to carry 20% of athletes attending Olympic or Paralympic Games; “MindZone” and Olympic Village nursery to debut in Paris) = Los Angeles 2028 (LA28 asks for Para Climbing to be added to 2028 program) = Milan Cortina 2026 (“very reassuring” construction report given to IOC) = Int’l Testing Agency (IOC adds $10 million grant to ITA budget for 2025-28) = Russia (BRICS Games opens in Kazan) = U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (New Era Cap joins as licensee) = Athletics (3: world leads in three more events as European Champs close in Rome; Katir and Cherono face new suspensions for doping; “official” NCAA attendance figure provided) = Basketball (2: USA Basketball names women’s Olympic team; college, Olympic and NBA legend Jerry West passes at 86) = Football (U.S. men rebound with 1-1 tie with Brazil) = Skating (ISU Congress agrees to re-write constitution, allow markings on costumes) = Swimming (3: Titmus smashes 200 Free world record in Aussie trials; 1,007 qualify for U.S. trials; Court of Arbitration tosses Thomas’ suit to enter U.S. Trials) ●

Salt Lake City 2034 bid sails on, not so French Alps 2030

As expected, the Salt Lake City-Utah bid for the 2034 Olympic Winter Games was confirmed by the International Olympic Committee Executive Board to be presented for formal election on 24 July at the IOC Session in Paris.

Karl Stoss, the IOC’s Future Host Commission Chair for the Winter Games, told an online news conference that the Salt Lake City situation is near-perfect:

“The Salt Lake City project is a really great project, with a very, very strong engagement from the private side. So that means 100% privately-funded revenues in this project. And it is guaranteed and it is very clear for us that this one will be a very comprehensive and balanced budget.

“So, from our side, nothing is outstanding. It’s going on, and as we told you in Salt Lake City already, I think Salt Lake City would be ready to start the Olympic Winter Games tomorrow.

“But they have still time ‘til 2034 and we are looking forward to see all the friends in Paris for the election.”

At a follow-up online news conference from Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City-Utah chief executive Fraser Bullock said it’s not over yet (but getting close):

“Obviously, we have to prepare a little bit for when there’s going to be the formation of an OCOG or an organizing committee. We don’t spend a lot of time on that; let’s win the bid first, but obviously some ongoing efforts.”

He explained that while any discussions concerning the host-city contract for the 2034 Games with the IOC are confidential, “they are collaborative, they are a wonderful partner, and we’re reviewing all kinds” of items related to the bid.

And what about start-up funding for a 2034 organizing committee, planned to be exceptionally thin, but which will still need money?

“Relative to early funding, no, we haven’t asked for nor will we receive any early funding from the IOC. We are fortunate that we have a very supportive community, and our formula for funding the organizing committee in the early years is spend very little, but raise money from our community that will support the needs we have, both early on and all the way through the Games.

“And so it will be all donations because we don’t have any opportunity to pursue sponsors until L.A. [2028] is concluded.”

Next up is a private online briefing for all IOC members on 26 June of about 30 minutes, followed by questions. The election date in Paris has been fixed as 24 July.

Salt Lake City’s proposed dates for the 2034 Games are 10-26 February for the Olympic Winter Games and 10-19 March for the Winter Paralympic Games.

Things are more unsettled for the French Alps 2030 bid, where the required governmental guarantees for things like finances, security, athlete access and so on have not been completed, and complicated by the snap elections for the French Parliament to be held on 30 June and 7 July.

Stoss explained:

“The French Alps 2030 project has committed to deliver all outstanding guarantees prior to the IOC Session. Due to the current political situation in France, the documents could not be finalized before the [Executive Board] decision.

“Therefore, today’s EB decision on French Alps 2030 is subject to the following being delivered in accordance with IOC requirements. It means prior to the IOC Session, submission of the Games delivery guarantee by the French government and a final confirmation of a public partnership contribution to the Games organization budget from the two regions of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes [AURA] and Provence Alpes-Cote d’Azur [PACA] and the French government.”

Stoss also spoke to the situation for 2038, where a “preferred dialogue” has been identified with Switzerland, noting the discussions are ongoing:

“We are waiting for a few answers, and we are in a very good dialogue with them, and I think we will continue this dialogue very fast, after Paris. Maybe in 2025 we start a targeted dialogue with Switzerland.”

The IOC Executive Board did approve the “initial sports program” for 2030, with the same core sports for all Winter Games this century: biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing. The specific disciplines in each will be confirmed in 2025.

Bach: emotional moment at the Eiffel Tower

The IOC made available a video of the opening of the IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne, with President Thomas Bach (GER) expressing his enthusiasm for the forthcoming Paris Games:

“Paris is not only on track to deliver the first-ever Olympic Games aligned with our Olympic Agenda reforms, but they are ready. They are set.

“You can feel this in the discussions with everybody, but also in the city . So I had a pretty emotional moment there on Saturday afternoon, it was unbelievable. They had put up, over the night, the [Olympic] Rings at the Eiffel Tower, and then on Saturday, we went there. I wanted to see it first-hand; photos are nice, so we went to the Trocadero – full of people, everybody in awe – looking at the Rings and the Eiffel Tower.

“Then it was about sunset, then the Eiffel Tower turned first into bronze, then into gold, in the background, you had the cupola of the dome of the Invalides, shining in gold, it was really breathtaking.

“Then we were waiting for a couple of minutes, and then the sun set, and the Rings were illuminated. It’s really unbelievable and you can feel this in the city.”

The Executive Board meeting continues through Friday; Bach is expected to hold his media briefing on Friday.

IOC: Int’l Federation role is not to pay prize money

The IOC Executive Board issued a statement Wednesday in its customary, calm tone that emphasized that it is not the role of International Federations to pay prize money to athletes who win medals at the Olympic Games.

In April, World Athletics announced that it would pay $50,000 to each Olympic gold medal winner in Paris (individuals or relay teams), a first among international federations. The move has been celebrated among athletes, but condemned by other federations. The IOC’s view:

“The NOCs and the IFs have different roles to play to make their support for athletes effective and transparent.

“The role of the NOCs is to develop the athletes, give them the best possible training and competition conditions, and support them in education and their daily life with regard to their profession. Finally, it is the prerogative of the NOCs to select the athletes from their country who have qualified on the field of play for the Olympic Games. At the Olympic Games, the athletes take part as members of the Olympic team of their respective NOCs. A significant majority of NOCs reward their team members for their achievements at the Olympic Games.

“The IFs have a different role. The athletes do not participate as members of their sport, but as members of their national Olympic team. The role of the IFs is to develop their sport universally, to give as many people as possible access to their sport, and finally to undertake to close the gap between athletes from more privileged countries and those from less privileged ones. In this way, they have to create more equal conditions for all the athletes around the world in their respective sports.

“These distinct responsibilities were recently reaffirmed by the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), the Winter Olympic Federations (WOF) and the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).”

The statement did not indicate that any action would be taken against World Athletics, which will fund the $2.4 million in payments from its share of the IOC’s television rights payment given to the federations after each Olympic Games. It is expected to receive $40 million or more from the IOC following the Paris Games.

Four new appeals in Beijing 2022 skating Team event drama

The endless saga of the doping positive of Russian skater Kamila Valieva and the final results of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games Team figure skating event, is continuing with a Wednesday hearing and four appeals of the final results to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The 12 June hearing concerned three of the four appeals:

● Russian Olympic Committee vs. International Skating Union
● Figure Skating Federation of Russia vs. International Skating Union
● Aleksandr Galliamov, Nikita Katsalapov, Mark Kondratiuk, Anastasia Mishina, Victoria Sinitsina and Kamila Valieva v. International Skating Union

These three appeals all seek the same outcome, to place Russia as the winner of the event – that was the result on the ice in Beijing, prior to the disclosure of Valieva’s doping positive – changing the re-ranking of the results by the ISU, which elevated the United States to the gold medal, Japan to the silver, but with a re-scoring concept that left Russia in third place.

The fourth appeal is from Canadian skating and includes team members Madeline Schizas, Piper Gilles, Paul Poirier, Kirsten Moore-Towers, Michael Marinaro, Eric Radford, Vanessa James and Roman Sadovsky, plus Skate Canada, and the Canadian Olympic Committee. It names as defendants the Russian team member, the Russian Olympic Committee, the Figure Skating Federation of Russia, the International Skating Union and the International Olympic Committee.

This appeal asks the Court of Arbitration for Sport to rule on the ISU’s re-ranking of the results from 30 January – highly questioned at the time, and since – and to place the U.S. first, Japan second and advance Canada to third, based on the ISU’s competition and anti-doping rules in place at the time of the Beijing Winter Games.

Reports indicate that the Canadian appeal will be heard on 22 July; all four are questioning the same result and all sides said after the ISU’s January holding that they would appeal.

The ISU, in its re-ranking, subtracted the 20 points won by Valieva for first places in the women’s Short Program and Free Skate. That brought down the Russian score from 74 to 54, behind the U.S. (65) and Japan (63). However, the Canadians point to ISU rules which specifically require a re-ranking to elevate the placement (and points won) by athletes impacted by the disqualification of an athlete ranked above them.

By doing this, Canada would earn an additional point in both the women’s Short Program and Free Skate and would have 55 points, to 54 for Russia, and thus the bronze medal.

Strong NYC Grand Prix TV audience, good NCAA T&F ratings

Nielsen television audience data for last weekend is now available, with good numbers for the NCAA Track & Field Championships on ESPN, but much bigger for Sunday’s NYC Grand Prix.

The NCAA meet in Eugene concluded with strong viewing – more than 500,000 – for both the men’s Friday finals and the women’s Saturday finals:

5 June (Wed.): 340,000 on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern
6 June (Thu.): 257,000 on ESPN2 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
7 June (Fri.): 602,000 on ESPN at 9:00 p.m. Eastern
8 June (Sat.): 519,000 on ESPN at 5:30 p.m. Eastern (40)

The four-day total on ESPN and ESPN2 was 1,718,000, way up from the past three years:

2023 in Austin: 948,000 combined total (2024: +81.2%)
2022 in Eugene: 1,178,000 combined total (2024: +45.8%)
2021 in Eugene: 909,000 combined total (2024: + 89.0%)

The 602,000 audience for Friday’s men’s finals was the best since 603,000 in 2022 for the Saturday women’s finals.

However, Sunday’s NYC Grand Prix – featuring Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone and Noah Lyles on NBC – did much better, with a prime, 2:00 p.m. (Eastern) slot and an average audience of 1.371 million!

That’s the biggest T&F television audience of the year (min. 250,000; all times Eastern):

09 Jun.: 1.371 million on NBC for USATF NYC Grand Prix
04 Feb.: 1.197 million on NBC for New Balance Indoor Grand Prix
25 May: 1.166 million on NBC for Prefontaine Classic
11 Feb.: 1.087 million on NBC for Millrose Games
17 Feb.: 1.051 million on NBC for USATF Indoor Nationals

18 May: 846,000 on NBC for USATF L.A. Grand Prix
28 Apr.: 790,000 on NBC for USATF Bermuda Grand Prix
07 Jun.: 602,000 on ESPN for NCAA T&F Championships
03 Mar.: 539,000 on NBC for World Indoor Championships
08 Jun.: 519,000 on ESPN for NCAA T&F Championships

05 Jun.: 340,000 on ESPN2 for NCAA T&F Championships
06 Jun.: 257,000 on ESPN2 for NCAA T&F Championships

The NYC Grand Prix also had a respectable 106,000 audience in the prized 18-34 age demographic; Saturday’s NCAA Champs had 40,000 in the same age group.

National-team football matches also did well, especially with Spanish-language audiences:

08 Jun.: 709,000 on Telemundo for USA-Colombia at 5:00 p.m.
08 Jun.: 611,000 on TNT for USA-Colombia at 5:30 p.m. Eastern
08 Jun.: 203,000 on TNT for USA-Colombia pre-game at 4:30 p.m.

The age 18-34 audiences included 117,000 on TNT and 101,000 for Telemundo.

The Mexico-Brazil friendly, a 3-2 win in stoppage time for the Brazilians before 85,249 at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas (8:30 p.m. Eastern), was a much better draw, with 1.589 million on Univision and 249,000 on TUDN for a 1.838 million. The combined 18-34 audience totaled 319,000.

For comparison, the French Open finals on NBC in Paris drew 756,000 for the women’s Swiatek-Paolini championship on Saturday and 1.621 million for Sunday’s Alcaraz-Zverev men’s final.

Saturday’s NBC Sports Olympic Trials special, which included wrestling, drew 644,000 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern


● Olympic Games 2024: Paris ● Air France is going to be busy this summer; it announced Wednesday:

“Based on reservations made at this stage, the company expects to carry 20% of all athletes and para-athletes travelling to Paris and France, i.e., 1 in 5 athletes, mainly from Brazil, the United States, Italy and Japan.

“In terms of the different categories of athlete, the company plans to carry 15% of Olympic athletes and 35% of Paralympic athletes. 13% of the “Olympic family”, comprising mainly members of the National Olympic Committees and the International Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games will also travel on Air France.

“Over the summer of 2024, Air France expects to carry up to 125,000 customers per day, equivalent to the volumes during summer 2019. Athletes, delegations and supporters will be arriving en masse over 24, 25 and 26 July, and departing on 11, 12 and 13 August, with a peak in traffic expected on 12 August. Traffic peaks are also expected during the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Supporters for these two competitions flying with Air France will be arriving mainly from the United States, UK, Italy, Germany and Japan.”

The IOC unveiled two new athlete services for 2024, to be housed at the Olympic Village, the Athlete365 Mind Zone and the Olympic Village Nursery.

The Athlete365 Mind Zone is the first space in an Olympic Village looking after the athletes’ mental health, and Olympic Village Nursery will provide a space for playtime and family bonding for athlete parents:

“The Nursery does not provide childcare, but is rather a dedicated and quiet space for Olympians and Paralympians to have quality time with their children. It can be booked for a private or shared timeslot through an online booking system.”

● Paralympic Games 2028: Los Angeles ● The LA28 organizing committee proposed the additional of Para Climbing to the program of the 2028 Paralympic Games, the first time an organizing committee has asked to add extra sports to the Paralympic program.

The 22 core sports for the 2028 Paralympic Games were approved by the International Paralympic Committee in January 2023: Blind Football (soccer), Boccia, Goalball, Para Archery, Para Athletics, Para Badminton, Para Canoe, Para Cycling, Para Equestrian, Para Judo, Para Powerlifting, Para Rowing, Para Swimming, Para Table Tennis, Para Taekwondo, Para Triathlon, Shooting Para Sport, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Fencing, Wheelchair Rugby, Wheelchair Tennis.

Para Climbing, as an added sport, can be formally approved at the IPC Governing Board meeting on 26 June.

● Olympic Winter Games 2026: Milan Cortina ● IOC Executive Director for the Olympic Games Christophe Dubi (SUI) said the IOC Executive Board received an upbeat report on the preparation for 2026:

“The crux of the report was really the presence of Simico CEO [Fabio Massimo] Saldini, going into the details of each of the venues that they are in charge of developing in the next few months.

“So, very reassuring, very detailed report on each of them, including the bob and luge track. I will not comment any further than saying that so far the initial steps are according to timeline. But we have also said, and on numerous occasions, that this is an extremely tight timeline.

“The same goes for the ski jumping hills in Val di Fiemme, which have suffered delays in their construction. A new homologation and testing scheme is being put in place with the international federation, the FIS.”

Dubi added that Milan Cortina is also developing a ticketing program that assures strong attendance and sufficient revenue against their budget.

● International Testing Agency ● The IOC Executive Board founded the ITA in 2017 with a $30 million grant and on Wednesday, an additional $10 million donation was authorized for the period of 2025-28. The announcement noted:

“The ITA, pursuing a sustainable financial model that mainly relies on revenues from the over 70 international sports bodies to which it delivers programmes, has been able to reduce its reliance on the IOC’s Olympic Movement financial contribution to only 9 per cent of its annual budget. This figure is lower than anticipated at the inception of the Agency, and demonstrates its increased financial independence.”

● Russia ● The BRICS Games in Kazan were opened by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday (12th), and will continue through the 24th. Initial reports were of 4,751 participants from 60 countries – 90 have been invited – competing in 27 sports and 387 events.

(BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa.)

● U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee ● The USOPC announced a new licensing deal with New Era Cap, which “will provide exclusive headwear to U.S. Olympians and Paralympians, beginning with the moment they make the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams through their experiences in Paris.”

This is the first U.S. Olympic team product agreement with a “headwear-focused brand” and American athletes “will receive three additional New Era caps – a bucket hat, a beret, and a trucker-style cap – that are exclusive to Olympians and Paralympians.”

The licensing deal also includes the LA28 organizing committee, with specific products to be created for sale.

Team USA hats and caps from New Era are on sale now.

● Athletics ● The 2024 European Athletics Championships in Rome came to a close on Wednesday, with strong performances in the final two days that included multiple world-leading performances:

Men/High Jump: 2.37 m (7-9 1/4), Gianmarco Tamberi (ITA)
Men/Triple Jump: 18.04 m (59-2 1/4), Pedro Pichardo (POR)
Men/Triple Jump: 18.18 m (59-7 3/4), Jordan Diaz (ESP)
Women/400 m hurdles: 52.49, Femke Bol (NED)
Women/Long Jump: 7.22 m (23-8 1/4), Malaika Mihambo (GER)

Tamberi, the co-Olympic champ in Tokyo, thrilled the crowd at the Stadio Olimpico, won the men’s high jump at 2.31 m (7-7), , then cleared 2.34 m (7-8) and 2.37 m (7-9 1/4) on his first tries for his third European title, also in 2016 and 2022. Ukraine’s Vladyslav Lavskyy was second, equaling his lifetime best of 2.29 m (7-6).

The triple jump was sensational, with Portugal’s Olympic champ Pablo Pedro Pichardo taking the world lead in round two at 18.04 m (59-2 1/4), his third-longest jump ever. But Spain’s Diaz – like Pichardo, a former Cuban – exploded in round five to 18.18 m (59-7 3/4), moving him to third all-time!

Dutch star Boll had the lead from the second hurdle on in the women’s 400 m hurdles final and breezed to a 52.49 win, a full 1.6 seconds up on Louise Maraval (FRA), 52.49 to 54.23. Bol defended her 2022 title and from 21-24 has won nine European titles, both indoor and outdoor.

In the women’s long jump, Germany’s Mihambo – also Olympic champ in Tokyo – ended the proceedings early, throwing down a massive 7.22 m (23-8 1/4) winner in round two. It’s her second-best jump ever and best in five years! Italy’s Larissa Iapichino moved to no. 3 on the outdoor world list in second at 6.94 m (22-9 1/4).

Norway’s Olympic 1,500 m champ Jakob Ingebrigtsen took the lead just 600 m into the men’s 1,500 final and did not relinquish it, winning his sixth Euro outdoor track title (he’s only 23) in 3:31.95, with Belgium’s Jochen Vermeulen getting a lifetime best for second in 3:33.30.

Teammate Karsten Warholm won his third European gold in succession in the 400 m hurdles in 46.98, astonishingly, not among his personal top-10 fastest races! He was well ahead of a national record 47.50 by Italy’s Alessandro Sibilio.

Dominic Lobalu, a refugee from South Sudan now running for Switzerland, followed up his 5,000 m bronze with a final-lap win in the men’s 10,000 m in 28:00.32, ahead of France’s Yann Schrub (28:00.48).

Mondo Duplantis (SWE) took his third European title in the men’s vault, winning at 5.92 m (19-5), then cleared 5.97 m (19-7) and 6.10 m (20-0) before going to a world record 6.25 m (20-6) and missing three times. Greek Emmanouil Karalis boosted himself to no. 3 on the outdoor world list in second at 5.87 m (19-3).

Tokyo Olympic javelin silver winner Jakub Vadleych (CZE) moved up from second in 2022 to European Champion with his final-round 88.65 m (290-10) bomb that also makes him no. 2 on the world list this season. He overtook German Julian Weber, the 2022 winner, who reached 85.94 m (281-11) in the first round, but could not improve.

Estonia’s Johannes Erm moved to no. 2 in the world for 2024 with his 8,764 in the decathlon, a lifetime best, with Norway’s Sander Skotheim second at 8,635. World-record holder Kevin Mayer (FRA) was fifth at 8,476.

Italy capped off a great meet with a 37.82 win in the men’s 4×100 m, with the Netherlands a distant second in 38.46. Only the U.S. (37.40) has run faster among national teams. Belgium, with 400 m champ Alexander Doom on anchor, won the 4×4 in 2:59.84 (which would have placed fourth at the NCAA meet), ahead of Italy in 3:00.81.

Swiss Mujinga Kambundji repeated as European women’s 200 m champ at 22.49 (+0.7), just ahead of Daryll Neita (GBR: 22.50). World 800 m leader Keely Hodgkinson (GBR) didn’t feel well, but led wire-to-wire to win the 800 in 1:58.65, ahead of Gabriela Gajanova (SVK: 1:58.79).

Italy’s Nadia Battocletti completed a 5-10 double with a national record 30:51.32 runaway in the women’s 10,000 m in 30:51.32. Diane van Es (NED) got a lifetime best in second in 30:57.24.

Great Britain, with Neita on anchor, won the 4×100 m in 41.91, no. 2 in 2024, with France (42.15) second. Bol anchored in 50.45 to help the Netherlands win the 4×4 in 3:22.39, also no. 2 among national teams in 2024. Ireland was a close second in 3:22.71 and Belgium was right behind at 3:22.95.

Austria’s world no. 2 Victoria Hudson got her first European medal with a 64.62 m (212-0) win in the javelin.

Italy triumphed on the medal table with 24 in all (11-9-4), followed by France with 16 (4-5-7) and Great Britain with 13 (4-4-5).

The Athletics Integrity Unit has added charges of tampering against already-suspended distance stars Mohamed Katir (ESP: suspended to February 2026) and Lawrence Cherono (KEN).

Katir, the 2022 Worlds 1,500 m bronzer and 2023 Worlds 5,000 m runner-up, was banned for “whereabouts” failures; Cherono, a 2:03;04 marathoner from 2020, has been charged with the use of trimetazidine and provisionally suspended; the tampering charge is additional.

Association of Track & Field Statisticians Treasurer Tom Casacky kindly provided the official attendance figures for the NCAA T&F Championships in Eugene last week:

5 June: Day 1 – 8,668
6 June: Day 2 – 9,458
7 June: Day 3 – 9,997
8 June: Day 4 – 9,802

The total is 37,925, a far cry from what was observed in the stands at Hayward Field. But those are the “official” figures.

● Basketball ● USA Basketball formally named its women’s Olympic team on Tuesday, with a goal of an eighth consecutive gold medal in Paris, and selected 12 players who already own a combined 15 Olympic golds.

Diana Taurasi will be trying for a sixth Olympic gold, with Napheesa Collier, Chelsea Gray, Brittney Griner, Jewell Loyd, Breanna Stewart and A’ja Wilson all returning from the Tokyo 2020 championship team. Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young won at Tokyo as members of the USA 3×3 Women’s National Team.

A six-member Women’s National Team Committee, chaired by Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Jen Rizzotti told The Associated Press why sensational newcomer Caitlin Clark was not selected:

“[W]hen you base your decision on criteria, there were other players that were harder to cut because they checked a lot more boxes. Then sometimes it comes down to position, style of play for [coach] Cheryl [Reeve] and then sometimes a vote. …

“It would be irresponsible for us to talk about [Clark] in a way other than how she would impact the play of the team. Because it wasn’t the purview of our committee to decide how many people would watch or how many people would root for the U.S. It was our purview to create the best team we could for Cheryl.”

Clark – or someone else – could still be selected in case of injuries or illness which would sideline one of the already-named players.

One of the greatest players and one of the most gifted executives in the history of basketball, Jerry West, passed away on Wednesday at age 86 in Los Angeles.

The brilliance of his career in basketball is illustrated by his election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame three times: as a member of the 1960 Olympic champion basketball team, as a 14-time NBA All-Star in 1980 and as a contributor, to be enshrined later this year.

He starred at West Virginia, co-captained the 1960 Olympic team with Oscar Robertson and then was a 10-time All-NBA First Team performer for the Los Angeles Lakers in a 14-year career from 1961-74. He annually elevated his play during the playoffs, earning the nickname, “Mr. Clutch.” His 1972 Lakers won the NBA title and enjoyed a record 33-game winning streak during the season. Across 14 seasons, he averaged 27.0 points per game (with no three-point shot), 5.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game.

West coached the Lakers for three seasons, then became the team’s general manager in 1982 and shepherded the team through the “Showtime” period with five NBA titles. He rebuilt the team in the 1990s with Phil Jackson as coach and Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant as the stars, but left before their championship run began.

He became the general manager of the Memphis Grizzlies from 2002-07, was an executive board member with the Golden State Warriors from 2011-17 and consulted with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2017-24.

● Football ● The U.S. men got another test before its Copa America schedule starts on 23 June, facing powerful Brazil in Orlando, Florida on Wednesday, but showed real progress with a hard-fought, 1-1 draw.

The iconic Brazilians, perpetually on offense, had 60% of possession in the first half and scored first with a 19th-minute goal by Rodrygo. A clever pass from Raphinha from right to left reached an open Rodrygo at the left edge of the penalty area and he sent a liner across the U.S. goal and into the net for the 1-0 lead.

The U.S. equalized soon after as midfield star Christian Pulisic sent a hard, right-footed bounding free kick from the top of the box in the 26th. That’s how the half ended, with Brazil taking eight shots to six for the Americans.

Brazil dominated most of the play to start the second half, but could not score on  U.S. keeper Matt Turner. Pulisic had a great chance to give the U.S. the lead in the 68th, shooting all alone with a liner from the left of goal, but Brazil’s star keeper Alisson got his left hand on it and made the save.

In the last 20 minutes of the second half, the game turned into end-to-end rushes. Rodrygo was in on Turner in the 74th, almost face-to-face, and sent a hard shot, but Turner slapped it away with his left hand. Pulisic made a gorgeous pass to sub striker Brenden Aaronson right in front of Alisson in the 83rd and had a point-blank chance, but the Brazilian keeper rejected it. And Pulisic barely missed a diagonal shot from left to right in the 86th aimed at the far edge of the Brazilian goal.

And Turner had to reject a last Brazilian chance on the final play of the match at 90+6 on a Vinicius Junior shot off of a corner to save the draw.

The U.S. entered the game with a 1-18 record all-time against Brazil and got its first draw in the series, a marked improvement from the 5-1 rout by Colombia last Saturday. Brazil finished with 61% possession and a 24-12 advantage on shots, but had to settle for the draw.

● Skating ● At the International Skating Union Congress in Las Vegas, delegates gave President Jae Youl Kim (KOR) his requested endorsement of the federation’s Vision 2030 plan and agreed to move forward with re-drafting of the ISU Constitution to bring it up to date.

Also approved was a new approach to investments of the federation’s considerable reserves to allow for better returns, seen as crucial to keeping or eliminating future operating deficits, currently projected for each year through to 2029.

On the ice, Urgent Proposal 11 was passed, allowing sponsor logos on athlete uniforms; for figure skating:

“[T]hey may display on their person and their clothing not more than six advertising markings, trademarks, logos or other distinguishing signs (hereafter called “markings”), provided they are dignified and with a maximum of 60 cm2 each and do not refer to tobacco or alcohol while being off the ice including in the “kiss and cry” area, the television interview area, during the official warm-up before the competitive performance and during practice sessions.

“One marking of the clothing supplier may also be displayed, not larger than 30 cm2. No markings are permitted on boots or blades, except for the boot manufacturer’s name on the boot heel not larger than 10 cm2 and one engraved identification of the manufacturer not larger than 20 cm2 on each blade and each blade guard.”

So, look for “clothing suppliers” to have their logos on figure skating costumes in the future; given the design of some costumes, this will be interesting.

In Short Track, the ISU Short Track World Cup series is being renamed the Short Track World Tour for greater visibility.

The ISU Congress will continue through Friday.

● Swimming ● Australian Freestyle star Ariarne Titmus barely missed breaking her own women’s 400 m Free world record on the first day of the Australian Olympic Trials on Monday, but smashed the 200 m Free world mark on Wednesday!

She had to to win, with 2023 World Champion Mollie O’Callaghan in hot pursuit, and Titmus touched in 1:52.23, breaking O’Callaghan’s 2023 mark of 1:52.85 from 2023. O’Callaghan was second in 1:52.48, the no. 2 performance ever.

In the women’s 100 m Back, world-record holder Kaylee McKeown won in 57.41, the second-fastest time in history, missing her own mark by 0.08. O’Callaghan was (again) not far behind in 57.88, no. 3 in the world for 2024 and no. 4 on the all-time list!

Cameron McEvoy, the 2023 World Champion in the men’s 50 m Free, won that race in 21.35, a time only he and Britain’s Ben Proud have bettered this year.

The meet continues through Saturday.

SwimSwam.com reported that the final number of swimmers qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in Indianapolis landed at 1,007.

About 950 are expected to actually compete in the meet, which starts Saturday.

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas lost an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to allow her to swim at the U.S. Olympic Trials because she had no standing to challenge her status.

The CAS decision, issued on Monday (10th), pointed out:

“The panel concludes that since the Athlete is not entitled to participate in ‘Elite Event’ within the meaning of USA Swimming Policy, let alone to compete in a [World Aquatics] competition, which occurs upon registration with WA prior to a competition or upon setting a performance which leads to a request for registration as WA world record, she is simply not entitled to engage with eligibility to compete in WA competitions.

“The policy and the operational requirements are simply not triggered by her current status.”

She’s not registered.

Thomas has not competed at all since the 2022 NCAA Championships – a short-course meet – and posted no long-course times at all since transitioning during the qualifying period that began on 29 November 2022 and concluded on 9 June.

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