TSX REPORT: Seine shown swimmable in new tests! U.S. beat Australia in swim trials best times, 18-10; another new LA28 venue?

The Seine safe for swimming at Paris 2028? Could be! (Photo: skyguy414 via Wikipedia)

The Sports Examiner: Chronicling the key competitive, economic and political forces shaping elite sport and the Olympic Movement.★

To get The Sports Examiner by e-mail: sign up here!

Friends: Marvelous! Now 33 donors have covered 85.6% of our technical costs for the rest of 2024. Please help us across the finish line: you can donate here. Your support is the reason this site continues. Believe it. ★


1. Yippee! New tests show acceptable water quality in Seine
2. Swimming Trials scorecard: U.S. 18, Australia 10!
3. UCI lauds 2023 Worlds, finances in annual report
4. IOC’s Olympic Scholarships program now up to 1,260
5. Los Angeles OKs $5B Convention Center expansion

● New tests published by the City of Paris showed that the pollutant levels in the Seine River in the “Olympic area” for the open-water swimming and triathlon at the Olympic Games have gone down and were at levels which meet the requirements of World Aquatics and World Triathlon for competition cleanliness. The question is about future rain.

● A comparison of the winning times at the recent Olympic swimming trials events for Australia and the U.S. showed Americans winning 18 of 28 events. The U.S. sailed past their counterparts in 11 of 14 events, but the women were tied at 7-7. The showdown should be fantastic in Paris.

● The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) published its annual report for 2023, with a big success for its first-ever World Cycling Championships in Glasgow. Its finances are stable, with a unique formula to lose money in most years, paid by the IOC’s Olympic television dividend!

● The International Olympic Committee published an annual report for its Olympic Solidarity program, details support for 1,260 athletes through its Olympic Scholarship program and for more than a dozen other programs to aid coaches, administrators and development programs. No financials were included, but the 2022 spending was almost $123 million.

● The Los Angeles City Council gave the go-ahead for start-up work on the expansion of the Los Angeles Convention Center, already the proposed home for five sports for 2028. A new, 190,000 sq. ft. exhibit hall is planned to be added, as well as meeting room space and plaza areas, which could host several things in 2028 … if finished in time.

Also, the 2028 wrestling competitions are now whispered to be relocated to the Anaheim Convention Center, the same site as for the 1984 Olympic Games.

Panorama: Aquatics (World Aquatics ExDir Nowicki to talk to U.S. gov’t on Chinese swimmers) = Cycling (Groenewegen wins sprint stage at Tour de France) = Football (2: Argentina advances to Copa America semis; Euro 2024 quarters begin Friday) = Skiing (Lahti gets 2029 Nordic Champs, Lake Placid get juniors in 2025) ●

Yippee! New tests show acceptable water quality in Seine

Along with security and transportation, one of the most-focused-on elements of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be the water quality in the Seine River, in which the open-water swimming events and triathlon are scheduled to be held.

Shrill warnings from various groups have insisted that the Seine water quality project – at €1.4 billion (~$1.5 billion U.S.) – will be inadequate, but there was good news this week, with the results of tests showing pollutant levels at levels that meet World Aquatics and World Triathlon standards.

First, the regulations, which focus on Enterococci levels and E.Coli levels as predictors of contamination and possible gastrointestinal impacts for swimmers:

World Aquatics requirements for inland waterways:
Enterococci score: <200 is Excellent; <400 is Good; >400 is Unacceptable
E. Coli score: <500 is Excellent; <1,000 is Good; >1,000 is Unacceptable

World Triathlon requirements for inland waterways:
Enterococci score: <200 is Excellent; <400 is Good; <330 is Sufficient
E. Coli score: <500 is Excellent; <1,000 is Good; <900 is Sufficient

The City of Paris, to its credit, publicly posts its testing results of the Seine for contamination at four locations, showing high scores during period of heavy rain and less during dry weather. At the “Site Olympique” – the Pont Alexandre III bridge, where the Olympic events will be held (numbers estimated from a visual graph):

27 June (clouds): Enterococci ~ 70 — E. Coli ~ 725 (good)
30 June (rainy): Enterococci ~ 400 — E. Coli ~ 2,000 (unacceptable)
02 July (clouds): Enterococci ~ 62 — E. Coli ~ 580 (good)

The real issue is rain, which, if heavy, can overwhelm the treatment system and flush pollutants into the river.

The current, 14-day forecast for Paris shows only morning showers projected on two days – 11 and 13 July – through the 18th. If the rain level is low, then the treatment system should work as planned. But heavy rains could create problems that have overwhelmed the system in the past.

The Paris City Hall noted in a statement on the improved readings that “This positive development is a consequence of the return of sunshine and warmth as well as the effects of the work done as part of the strategy to improve the quality of the Seine’s waters.”

The triathlon events are scheduled for 30-31 July and 5 August, with the 10 km open-water events slated for 8-9 August.

Swimming Trials scorecard: U.S. 18, Australia 10!

Australian sprint swimming icon Cate Campbell, the eight-time Olympic medalist now 32, may have missed making a fifth Olympic team for Paris, but she hyped up interest in the Australia vs. U.S. swimming narrative.

She famously said last year in a television interview following the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest (HUN):

“Australia coming out on top is one thing, but it is just so much sweeter beating America.

“There were a couple of nights, particularly the first night of competition, where we did not have to hear the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ ring out through the stadium, and I cannot tell you how happy that made me. If I never hear that song again, it will be too soon. Bring on Paris, that’s all I have to say. U.S., stop being sore losers.”

So the game is on and while the next test will be in Paris later this month, it’s instructive to measure up the achievements of the Australian and American swimmers at their respective Olympic Trials, held from 10-15 June in Brisbane and 15-23 June at Indianapolis.

The result, of a comparison of winning times between the Australian and American swimmers in the 28 individual events:

U.S. 18, Australia 10.

Not really that close, thanks to the U.S. men, who out-performed their Australian counterparts in 11 of 14 events. U.S. men had better winning times in the 100-200-800-1,500 m Freestyles, 100 and 200 m Backstrokes, the 200 m Breaststroke, 100 and 200 m Butterfly and 200 and 400 m Medley. Australian swimmers had better times in the 50 m and 400 m Frees, and 100 m Breast.

That’s it.

The women’s events are another story, with the two tied at 7-7:

Australia: 50-100-200-400-800 m Frees, 200 m Back, 200 m Medley.

U.S.: 1,500 m Free, 100 m Back, 100-200 m Breast, 100-200 m Fly, 400 m Medley

Some of the showdowns in Paris will be epic, as Australia relies on two swimmers for five of their seven “wins” against the U.S.: Freestyle star Ariarne Titmus (3) and Backstroke-Medley star Kaylee McKeown (2).

The U.S. counters with Katie Ledecky to challenge in the 800 m Free and will be the favorite in the 1,500 m Free, world-record-setter Regan Smith in the Backstrokes – head-to-head with McKeown, plus the 200 m Fly, and Kate Douglass and Alex Walsh in the 200 m Medley against McKeown.

Is this any actual predictor of successes in Paris? Absolutely not. But it’s fun and frames the competitions to watch in the first week as the swimming gets going right away. And then there are the relays, which will favor the U.S. men and Australian women given their respective Freestyle strengths.

Ready to watch?

UCI lauds 2023 Worlds, finances in annual report

“Thirteen UCI World Championships, 131 National Federations, 220 titles of UCI World Champion, 200 million hours viewed on television worldwide including by one in seven Europeans, nearly a million fans physically present… the numbers broke all the records. And that is without mentioning the significant economic benefits for Scotland where the event generated over £205 million of economic activity.”

That’s Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) chief David Lappartient (FRA) in the 2023 UCI Annual Report, praising the first UCI World Championships, held in Glasgow (GBR) in 2023. The next will be held in the Haute-Savoie in France in 2027, so the experiment will continue.

The report covers the dizzying array of disciplines and programs which the UCI governs, including the Olympic programs in road, track, mountain bike and BMX, and the non-Olympic disciplines of para-cycling, eSports, Gravel, Trials, Cyclo-Cross and Indoor.

The UCI financials show its continued use of its Olympic television dividend to offset annual losses; the dividend was $24.34 million after both Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, but expected to increase after Paris 2024. The report presented the UCI strategy of using this money as a backstop against planned losses every year; happily, it did not lose all of it during the 2017-2020 cycle (+4.019 million Swiss francs) and forecasts having CHF 3.899 million left from the Tokyo 2020 payment at the end of 2024.

The UCI receives substantial income from hosting fees, not only for the massive 2023 Worlds, but also for the annual World Road Championships and smaller events.

For 2023, revenues were CHF 46.270 million (CHF 1 = $1.11 U.S.), with hosting fees and registration fees accounting for CHF 24.402 million. UCI spent CHF 51.277 million, of which CHF 15.023 million was on staffing, for an annual loss of CHF 5.007 million. With a positive investment result, the annual loss was cut to CHF 3.408 million.

UCI’s assets stayed level at CHF 96.675 million and showed reserves – some restricted, but most not – of CHF 50.183 million, quite healthy, but down about 6% from the end of 2022.

The statements show that cycling is stable if not growing, but that it still relies on Olympic money to support a variety of operations that it could not maintain otherwise.

IOC’s Olympic Scholarships program now up to 1,260

“By the end of 2023, the last year of preparations before the Olympic Games Paris 2024, the number of athletes supported by an individual Olympic Scholarship had grown from 1,146 to 1,260. These athletes represent 154 NOCs, while an additional 36 NOCs with large delegations (50+ athletes at Tokyo 2020 Games) are benefitting from a tailor-made option.”

That’s one of the headlines from the International Olympic Committee’s 52-page annual report on its Olympic Solidarity program.

The IOC’s solidarity program is a side-by-side companion to its distribution of Olympic television rights fees to the International Federations and is similarly funded – $540 million for the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 quadrenniums and $590 million for Paris 2024 – but the funds are not simply distributed to all 206 National Olympic Committees along a formula-driven, sliding scale. Instead, the money is doled out to individual athletes, to NOCs, to national federations and for all kinds of development programs.

In addition to the individual scholarship program, Olympic Solidarity distributed team grants to 141 National Olympic Committees to support 223 teams in various sports for Paris 2024 and the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Games: 123 women’s teams, 98 men’s teams and two mixed-gender curling squads.

The total distribution in 2023 for athletes and teams for 2024 and 2026 totaled $20.4 million.

But there are 17 different support programs of various kinds and types, including:

● Athlete Career Transition programs, for NOCs
● Athletes Commission Activity programs, for NOCs
● Continental Athlete Support Grants, for NOCs
● Olympic Scholarships for coaches, for national federations
● Technical Courses for coaches, for national federations
● Youth Athlete Development programs, for NOCs
● National courses for sports administrators, for NOCs
● International Courses in Sport Management, for NOCs
● Development of national sports, or NOCs
● NOC exchange programs

Each National Olympic Committee receives an annual $45,000 support grant, with those NOCs who need added assistance getting another $15,000.

How much does all this cost? Well, the report doesn’t say, referring to the forthcoming IOC Annual Report for 2023. For 2022, the IOC’s financial statements showed Olympic Solidarity spending of $112.879 million, up from $93.147 million in 2021.

The largest grants in 2022 were made for the Olympic Scholarship program ($14.659 million) and NOC administration development ($11.305 million), plus block grants to the National Olympic Committee regional confederations in Europe ($12.105 million), Asia ($10.973 million), the Americas ($10.025) and Africa ($9.257 million).

Los Angeles OKs $4.8B Convention Center expansion

By a vote of 13-1, the Los Angeles City Council approved a motion to begin “Early Works” on a significant improvement of the Los Angeles Convention Center, a project which could cost $4.78 billion if financed over 30 years.

The Convention Center opened in 1971 with a single, large exhibit hall that was well received as the Main Press Center at the 1984 Olympic Games in L.A., and was significantly expanded with the South Hall in 1993. But the two halls are not contiguous and are separated by Pico Boulevard.

The new plan would create a merger of these halls through the addition of a new, 190,000 sq. ft exhibit space, plus 55,000 sq. ft. of meeting rooms and 95,000 sq. ft. of plaza and “multi-purpose” space.

In a statement following the approval on Tuesday, with City Tourism Department noted:

“The Council approved a design-build delivery model that contracts with a joint venture of AEG and The Plenary Group to complete the project before the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the upcoming months, the City will work with AEG, Plenary, Populous (architect) and PCL and Webcor (general contractors) to finalize design plans, schedule and costs before construction starts in spring 2025.”

The motion specifically included:

“INSTRUCT the [Chief Administrative Officer] and [Chief Legislative Analyst] to accompany any Project Agreement with a dedicated City staffing plan to ensure modernization and expansion is complete by February 25, 2028.”

The expansion project is not needed for the Olympic or Paralympic Games, but the Games would provide a showcase for the expanded facility. The City Tourism statement explained:

“Los Angeles has been at a competitive disadvantage in attracting large, citywide conventions due to the lack of contiguous space, especially as competitors have completed or are in the process of completing major expansions.”

City Council members stressed that while the expansion is needed for the Convention Center to remain competitive, if the planning and finance development efforts show that the work cannot be completed prior to the 2028 Games, it can be postponed or shelved altogether. The motion included:

“INSTRUCT the CAO and CLA to report to Council regarding the status of the Expansion Project no later than December 2024 or sooner if the City assesses that project completion is infeasible or there has been increase to the Not to Exceed Budget (NTE) amount.”

Tuesday’s approval gives the go-ahead for a total spend of up to $54.14 million (including interest charges) for the design and development work for the project.

In terms of venue shuffling, the newest whisper is that wrestling will have its new home in an old favorite: the Anaheim Convention Center, the same location as for the 1984 Olympic Games.

Judo and wrestling were originally sited for 2028 at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, but LA28 Chair Casey Wasserman has confirmed in radio interviews that all campus facilities will be needed for Olympic Village training use. So, judo and wrestling will need new homes and the Anaheim Convention Center – one of the biggest anywhere at 1.8 million sq. ft. – can easily accommodate both.

Information provided to TSX pertained only to wrestling, which was very successfully held in the 7,500-seat Anaheim Arena, and will be again. Because of the distances from the 1984 Olympic Villages – UCLA and USC – a “day village” was set up in an exhibit hall to support wrestlers between sessions as needed.

As no other Anaheim venues are currently on the LA28 plan, another sport could be moved into the area to be paired for logistics and transportation reasons. An obvious choice would be the nearby Honda Center, home of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, but the area around it is being renovated to create “OC Vibe,” a massive, $4 billion mixed-use project slated to open in 2026. That could complicate things.


● Aquatics ● The Associated Press reported that World Aquatics Executive Director Brent Nowicki (USA) will meet with the U.S. government regarding questions on the January 2021 doping positives of 23 Chinese swimmers, who were ultimately not sanctioned.

“World Aquatics can confirm that its executive director, Brent Nowicki, was served with a witness subpoena by the United States government.

“He is working to schedule a meeting with the government, which, in all likelihood will obviate the need for testimony before a Grand Jury.”

Nowicki is certainly a good person to talk to about doping issues. He came to World Aquatics in 2021 after eight years as the Managing Counsel and Head of Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

World Aquatics provided no further specifics on a prospective date for his meeting.

● Cycling ● The second straight sprinter’s stage at the 111th Tour de France was won by Dylan Groenewegen (NED) on Thursday, who managed to get to the line first in stage 6 at the end of a furious mass finish after 163.5 km, ahead of stage 3 winner Biniam Girmay (ERI) and Fernando Gaviria (COL). The first 107 riders all given the same time of 3:31:55, in Dijon.

It’s the sixth career Tour stage win for the 31-year-old Groenewegen, who won his first Tour stage back in 2017. No change in the overall standings with two-time winner Tadej Pogacar (SLO) leading Remco Evenepoel (BEL) by 45 seconds and two-time defending champ Jonas Vingegaard (DEN) by 50 seconds.

A 25.3 km Individual Time Trial comes on Friday, then two hilly stages on Saturday and Sunday.

● Football ● The 48th Copa America, being held in the U.S. for the second time, has its first semfinalist as defending champion Argentina was tied late and had to win a penalty shoot-out, 4-2, to advance against Ecuador.

Ecuador was aggressive at the start, but could not score, and neither could Argentina, but the game changed in the 35th off a Lionel Messi corner which dropped right to midfielder Alexis Mac Allister at the near side of the Ecuador goal. He headed it backward – perfectly – to the other side of the Ecuador goal, where it was headed in by defender Lisandro Martinez for the 1-0 lead.

Argentina was on offense the rest of the half, but did not score and the half ended, 1-0, with Argentina owning a 4-3 lead on shots.

The second half started inconclusively, but then Argentina was called for a penalty for a hand ball on midfielder Rodrigo De Paul off an Ecuadorian shot in the box in the 60th, setting up veteran striker Enner Valencia for the try. He fooled Argentine keeper Emiliano Martinez and sent a roller to the left with his right heel that faded left and hit the post and rolled away!

Ecuador looked lost as the time wound down, but kept coming and in stoppage time, a re-start led to a cross from substitute midfielder John Yeboah on the right side into the box and sub forward Kevin Rodriguez beat Argentine midfielder Nicolas Otamendi to the ball and his header flicked the ball to the left and into the Argentine goal at 90+1! It was the first score against Argentina in the tournament!

At 90+6, Ecuador’s Jordy Caicedo almost scored on a header in front of the goal off an Alan Minda cross, but it went wide right. Regulation time ended 1-1, with Ecuador’s late rush giving it a 9-8 shots lead.

Straight to penalties at this stage of the elimination round, and Messi started by hitting the crossbar for a clean miss. Then sub striker Angel Mena’s shot was saved by Martinez. But Julian Alvarez, Mac Allister, Gonzalo Montiel and Mac Allister made four in a row and moved on by 4-2. Wow.

The rest of the schedule:

Upper bracket:
● 4 Jul.: Argentina (4-0) d. Ecuador (1-2-1), 1-1 (4-2) in Houston
● 5 Jul.: Venezuela (3-0) vs. Canada (1-1-1) in Arlington, Texas

Lower bracket:
● 6 Jul.: Uruguay (3-0) vs. Brazil (1-0-2) in Paradise, Nevada
● 6 Jul.: Colombia (2-0-1) vs. Panama (2-1) in Glendale, Arizona

The semis will be played on the 9th (East Rutherford) and 10th (Charlotte), with the final in Miami Gardens, Florida on the 14th.

The quarterfinals of the UEFA Euro 2024 will commence on Friday:

Upper bracket: 5 July
● Spain (4-0) vs. Germany (3-0-1) in Stuttgart
● Portugal (3-1) vs. France (2-0-2) in Hamburg

Lower bracket: 6 July
● England (2-0-2) vs. Switzerland (2-0-2) in Dusseldorf
● Netherlands (2-1-1) vs. Turkey (3-1) in Berlin

The semis will be held on 9 July in Munich and 10 July in Dortmund, with the final in Berlin on 14 July.

● Skiing ● The International Ski & Snowboard Federation (FIS) confirmed that Lahti (FIN) will host the 2029 Nordic World Championships in Cross-Country, Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping.

Some legal questions had to be ironed out, but have been resolved. This will be the eighth time for Lahti as host, the most recent in 2017.

Lake Placid, New York continued to add events, selected to host the 2025 World Junior Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships.

You can receive our exclusive TSX Report by e-mail by clicking here. You can also refer a friend by clicking here, and can donate here to keep this site going.

For our updated, 547-event International Sports Calendar for the rest of 2024 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!