TSX REPORT: Study says Paris ‘24 injects €6.7-11.2 billion impact; IOC excited about new Olympic Qualifier Series; WADA angry over Tunisian arrests

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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡

1. New study puts Paris 2024 impact at €6.7 to €11.2 billion
2. Inaugural Olympic Qualifying Series starts in Shanghai
3. Olympic Qualifying Series set for future expansion
4. WADA protests arrest of Tunisian anti-doping chief
5. U.S. ski star Johnson hit with 14-month whereabouts sanction

● A new study of the long-term economic impact of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games shows potential impacts over 17 years – 2018 to 2034 – of between €6.7 billion and €11.2 billion. That’s comparable to the estimates way back in 2016, during the bid phase. Even so, it’s only a small contributor to the massive economic engine of the Ile-de-France region.

● The International Olympic Committee’s first “Olympic Qualifier Series” starts on Thursday in Shanghai, with competitions in Breaking, Sport Climbing. Skateboarding and BMX Freestyle cycling. Combined with June’s second stop in Budapest, it will determine the Paris qualifiers in these sport, giving them a higher profile than otherwise possible. Capacity crowds of 15,000 are expected each day.

● IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell explained that the Olympic Qualifier Series will be continued, but not as a simple stand-alone, but as part of a concerted push – especially on digital media – to highlight the qualifying path not only to the Olympic Games, but to the Winter Games in 2026 as well.

● The World Anti-Doping Agency expressed “deep concern” over the arrest of the head of the Tunisian Anti-Doping Agency, who was carrying out WADA instructions over non-compliance of Tunisia with the World Anti-Doping Code. WADA will also hold a meeting of its Foundation Board on Friday to discuss the 2021 incident in which 23 Chinese swimmers were found to be doping, but were not sanctioned after the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency said they consumed contaminated food.

● American ski star Breezy Johnson was sanctioned with a 14-month suspension for recording three “whereabouts” failures over a 12-month period. The sanction is fairly mild and runs from October 2023 when she missed her third report. That means she could be back – if recovered from her 2022 injuries – for this December’s World Cup Downhill in Colorado.

World Championship: Ice Hockey (Four unbeatens left in men’s Worlds, as U.S. hangs on for playoff spot) ●

Panorama: Russia (Degtyarev takes over as sports minister) = Athletics (2: Kerley promises 100 m world record!; no interest on delayed Doha Diamond League show) = Cycling (Paret-Peintre takes Giro stage 10) = Swimming (2: Lilly takes presenting role for U.S. swim trials; McIntosh takes world lead in 400 m Free at Canadian Trials) ●

1.
New study puts Paris 2024 impact at €6.7 to €11.2 billion

The Limoges Center for Sports Law and Economics (CDES) announced in a new study released on Tuesday that the long-term economic impact of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games is estimated in a range from €6.707 billion to €11.145 billion from 2018 through 2034! (€1 = $1.08 U.S.)

The lengthy period takes into account the preparation and staging of the Games, and a 10-year legacy period, and is limited to the Ile-de-France region which includes Paris. Most of the impact comes from the 2018-24 timeframe:

Lowest: 92% for Games period, 8% for legacy
Middle: 84% for Games period, 16% for legacy
Highest: 83% for Games period, 17% for legacy

And the drivers are well familiar to mega-events:

Lowest: 21% tourism, 31% construction, 48% organizing
Middle: 30% tourism, 28% construction, 42% organizing
Highest: 32% tourism, 27% construction, 41% organizing

The study includes all economic centers of the 2024 effort, not only the Paris 2024 organizing committee, but also the government’s SOLIDEO construction agency and related works. It also included a warning about the overall impact of the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the economy of the region. Even at the maximum impact of €11.145 billion over 17 years, it’s essentially a trivial amount compared to even a single year of the Ile-de-France Gross Domestic Product, estimated in 2021 at €765 billion!

The methodology as described is fairly standard, with gross, unduplicated spending with a multiplier taking into account future indirect and induced spending in the Ile-de-France region, with a reduction for displacement of “normal” economic activity – in tourism for example – that was pushed out due to the Games being held. The multipliers for the low-middle-high values were conservative at 1.05, 1.25 and 1.50, yielding the overall impact spread.

An analysis of the Paris 2024 organizing committee’s expenses showed an impressive 75% spent inside the Paris region (Ile-de-France) and 25% outside.

Estimates of visitors to the Games, in part relying on ticket sales, news media and athletes (and families) who will come to Paris showed:

● 2.3 to 3.1 million unique visitors coming to the Games
● 36% foreign spectators for the Olympic Games
● 17% foreign spectators for the Paralympic Games
● 90,000+ athletes, officials, media and volunteers

Careful calculations were made about the number of visitors who actually were accommodated in Paris during the Games and “day-trippers,” who came in to see events, but then went back home. Interestingly, a comparison of the economic impact of news media to volunteers showed:

News media: 25,045 out of region, spending €119 million
Volunteers: 27,900 out of region, spending €133 million

The displacement impact – subtracting out normal tourism activities if the Games had not been held – was significant in Paris, at 22%.

An appendix compared the 2016 economic impact projections for 2018-34, reducing the 2024 report numbers for inflation. It’s a mixed result:

Lowest: €5.3 billion in 2016 vs. €5.69 billion now
Middle: €8.1 billion in 2016 vs. €7.64 billion now
Highest: €10.7 billion in 2016 vs. €9.47 billion now

Observed: The takeaway from all the numbers is that the Paris 2024 effort has been fairly successful in maintaining its cost structure and that the total overall economic impact is substantial.

However, it is only a modest contributor to a much, much larger economic engine that is the Ile-de-France region. Having the Games is a net plus for the French, Ile-de-France and Paris economies, but hardly a major driver. That, in itself, is crucially important to remember.

2.
Inaugural Olympic Qualifying Series starts in Shanghai

“This is the uniqueness of this event: it’s about sport, it’s about culture, it’s about art, it’s about music, it’s about fashion. And you can really see in that festival area, you have the sponsor showrooms – these are really expanses of fans trying sports – you have the big stage of concerts, you have food trucks, so we have a fantastic set-up for this first edition of the Olympic Qualifier Series.”

That’s Pierre Fratter-Bardy (FRA), the International Olympic Committee’s Associate Director for Olympic Games Strategy & Development, speaking during a Tuesday news conference about the two-stage Olympic Qualifier Series that begins in Shanghai (CHN) on Thursday and will finish in Budapest (HUN) next month.

Olympic qualifying competitions will be held in Breaking, Sport Climbing, Skateboarding and BMX Freestyle.

The Olympic Qualifying Series was developed out of the Olympic Agenda 2020+5 recommendation to raise the profile of the qualifying process for Paris 2024. IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell (NZL) noted that more than 400 events have been shown on the IOC’s Olympic Channel and highlighted on the IOC’s digital channels.

In Shanghai and Budapest, McConnell explained that more than 450 athletes will participate in total, from 120 national federations across 55 National Olympic Committees, with about 80 Olympians from prior Games and 18 prior Olympic medal winners in the four sports. He explained how the sports were selected:

“The four sports really fit together well in terms of the field of play … and they all fit together culturally as well, with the community atmosphere, the individual expression, the music, the culture that comes along with these four sports and disciplines.”

Moreover, for Sport Climbing and Skateboarding in their second Olympic Games and Breaking in its first Games, these sports did not have long-established, traditional qualifying processes. The same is also true for BMX Freestyle, first contest at Tokyo 2020.

Asked what constitutes “success” for this first-time effort, Fratter-Bardy observed:

“It all starts with the athletes and this is about getting their feedback and ensuring that this new Olympic experience, it brings something to them. What we heard from them, speaking to them here on the ground, is that it can’t get closer to the Games. … For most of them, it is the first time they are competing in an event with the Olympic Rings and this triggers a lot of excitement. It’s also a multi-sport event and we are offering them the opportunity to go and watch the other sports competitions, which is very unique as well.

“So I said, it starts with the athletes, obviously then, we have the fans and we expect the park to be full. We expect huge crowds … We have four days of competition: you have Thursday, Friday [for] prelims, Saturday, Sunday for finals, and every day we have a big show. On Thursday we start with the dance show, on Friday we have a fashion show, on Saturday, it’s about Chinese culture, and on Sunday, we’ll end up with a big concert.

“So we will look at success from the athlete’s and from the fan’s perspective, and then, obviously, it’s an event that has been designed with a digital mindset in mind, and we have plenty of activations that have been planned especially for digital platforms.”

Fratter-Bardy, speaking from Shanghai, said, “It’s an exceptional setup. The park is truly phenomenal.” One ticket will allow access to all competitions and festival programs on each day, with the park capacity at 15,000.

The Olympic Qualifier Series is another Olympic Agenda 2020+5 activation for the IOC, and tributes were paid to the Youth Olympic Games programs in Nanjing (CHN) in 2014 and Buenos Aires (ARG) in 2018 that showcased some of these new sports very successfully. Moreover, the mammoth success of the annual International Festival of Extreme Sports (FISE), which draws more than 100,000 a day each year.

Fratter-Bardy emphasized the IOC’s actualization of its mission: “In Shanghai, in a couple of days, we will see a continuation of this real focus on innovation, and urban sport in the Olympic program.”

3.
Olympic Qualifying Series set for future expansion

IOC Sports Director McConnell was asked about the future of the Olympic Qualifying Series, and he focused on the wider promotion of the Olympic qualifying process rather than on actual events that the IOC would arrange:

● “In terms of the wider promotion of the Olympic Qualifiers, we really do see this continuing and probably expanding in the future. And for the Olympic Winter Games, we’re already discussing with the winter Olympic federations how we could build on what we’ve done, learned all of the successes on the pathway to Paris for the winter pathway towards Milano Cortina over the next couple of winters.”

● “Yes, we see a continuation of promoting the qualifiers more generally, always in partnership with the federations and not limiting what they do around their own events, and then specifically around the Olympic Qualifier Series, we’ll take this back and have a look . We’re really sure it’s going to be hugely successful over the two stops on the series and then we’ll see how we can look at that as we move forward to Los Angeles.”

● “What we try and do with the Qualifiers promotion is find ways of allowing the federations to have their commercial partners, their partners across their different events and different hosts, and promote those, including a lot around the digital promotion to ensure that people know those qualification events, to amplify and add value to the federations, to the hosts, to the athletes, to the [National Olympic Committees] and everyone.”

● “In terms of the Olympic Winter side, I think, again, just to be clear, we’re not looking necessarily at the Olympic Qualifier Series being implemented for Milano Cortina, but what we are looking to do is really promote the pathway towards Milano Cortina, the qualification … to really celebrate that there are a huge number of events across all of the winter disciplines over the next two winter seasons, and in the case of the indoor sports, over the course of the summers as well that count towards Milano Cortina and the pathway there.”

An Olympic Qualifying Series for Los Angeles in 2028 will look different, as Breaking is not on the program, while BMX Freestyle, Skateboarding and Sport Climbing has been confirmed. A federation which will be on the Olympic program for 2028 for the first time will be World Squash, which would be a candidate for a Qualifying Series inclusion.

4.
WADA protests arrest of Tunisian anti-doping chief

“The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has expressed its deep concern following the arrest of the Director General of the National Anti-Doping Organization of Tunisia (ANAD) and dismissal from his role for simply trying to abide by the consequences of ANAD’s non-compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code).”

Monday night’s statement came in the aftermath of furious response by Tunisian President Kais Saied, who heard about the covering of the Tunisian flag in accordance with Tunisia’s non-compliant status at the 20-nation Tunisian Open Masters championship in Rades, appeared unannounced at the facility and had the flag raised and national anthem sung.

On Monday, the state prosecutor’s office confirmed that the head of the Tunisian swimming federation, the head of the national anti-doping office and seven others have been arrested, with charges under seven sections of the penal code including “attack on the flag of Tunisia,” “formation of an organised group to commit attacks and cause disorder,” and a “plot against the internal security.” Two have been detained with the other seven freed ahead of a trial.

The WADA statement also included:

“WADA supports the efforts of ANAD and International Federations to uphold the decision by the WADA Executive Committee to assert non-compliance in this case. Reports that the ANAD Director General has been arrested for doing so is a matter of grave concern. WADA calls for his immediate and unconditional release from custody, as well as the dropping of any charges made against him pertaining to this.

“Since the non-conformity in Tunisia was established, WADA has been working closely with the authorities to ensure the matter could be dealt with as quickly as possible. Indeed, excellent progress has been made in that regard, making this latest development all the more unfortunate and untimely. WADA remains confident that the matter will be resolved in the very near future.”

A spokesman for the Tunisian Youth and Sports Ministry said last week – prior to the meet – that changes to Tunisian law had been made to accommodate the World Anti-Doping Code and that the non-compliant label – as WADA alluded to in its statement – would be lifted within a couple of weeks.

An extraordinary online meeting of the WADA Foundation Board will be held Friday to further discuss the 2021 case concerning the doping positives of 23 Chinese swimmers for trimetazidine during a January national-level competition.

WADA accepted a report from the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency that excused the positives due to contamination of a kitchen in which meals were prepared for the swimmers, but a documentary from the German ARD channel has raised significant questions about the tests, the report and that WADA did not appeal the excused positives to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The WADA Executive Committee has already had extended discussion on this matter on 25 April, and an independent counsel has been engaged to determine if WADA’s actions in the case were proper.

5.
U.S. ski star Johnson hit with 14-month whereabouts sanction

American women’s downhiller Breezy Johnson agreed to a 14-month suspension by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for three “whereabouts” failures in a 12-month period:

“At the time of the Whereabouts Failures, Johnson, 28, was included in the USADA Registered Testing Pool (RTP), which consists of a select group of elite athletes subject to certain Whereabouts requirements in order to be located for out-of-competition testing. Within a 12-month period, Johnson accrued three Whereabouts Failures: the first on October 29, 2022, the second on June 13, 2023, and the third on October 10, 2023.”

The penalty for a first failure of this type is 12-24 months and her relatively low ban is “because Johnson’s degree of fault was relatively low given the circumstances of the case.” Her ban was effective as of 10 October 2023.

Johnson owns seven FIS Alpine World Cup medals, from 2021 and 2022, and had a very promising 2022 season cut short by injury during training in January 2022, three weeks prior to the Beijing Olympic Winter Games, where she was a medal contender.

Because of this late announcement and the 2023 start date for her ban, she will be eligible again in December of this year and could rejoin the World Cup tour in time for the season’s first Downhill, at Beaver Creek, Colorado on 14 December.

≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ≡

● Ice Hockey ● Pool play continues at the 2024 IIHF men’s World Championship in Prague and Ostrava (CZE), with Canada and Switzerland still unbeaten in Group A and Sweden and Latvia undefeated in Group B.

Through three rounds of seven matches in both groups, Canada is 3-0 with 16 total goals, led by Connor Bedard (Chicago Blackhawks) leading the tournament with five goals so far. The Swiss are also 3-0 and the two sides will meet on the 19th.

Sweden has also scored 16 total goals and is 3-0, beating the U.S., 5-2, then Poland (5-1) and Germany (6-1). Latvia is 3-0 with two overtime wins, followed by Slovakia (2-1) and the U.S., which has a win over Germany (6-1), the loss to Sweden and an overtime loss to Slovakia, 5-4, on Monday. Nevertheless, the top four in each group make it to the playoffs, and the U.S. schedule is favorable.

The quarterfinals are on the 23rd and the medal matches on the 26th.

≡ PANORAMA ≡

● Russia ● Mikhail Degtyarev has been appointed the new Minister of Sport for Russia, with Russian President Vladimir Putin signing the decree on Tuesday (14th). He replaces Oleg Matytsin, the former head of the International University Sports Federation (FISU), who became minister in 2020.

Degtyarev, 42, is a State Duma member and has been the governor of the eastern Russian territory of Khabarovsk Krai since 2021. He has been sanctioned by multiple countries, including the U.S., for his role in supporting Russian invasions of Ukraine in 2014 and 2022.

He said he plans no changes in policy regarding Russian athletes and their decisions whether to compete as neutrals – if permitted – at Paris 2024, and he expects to continue with contacts in the Olympic Movement despite the continued suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee.

● Athletics ● American Fred Kerley, the 2022 World men’s 100 m champion, with a lifetime best of 9.76 from that year, posted on X (ex-Twitter) on Tuesday:

“World record next time I touch the 100m”

Jamaican Usain Bolt’s 9.58 world mark has been untouched since his brilliant performance at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin (GER). Kerley’s last 100 m was on 27 April at the Suzhou Diamond League, finishing third in 10.11.

Whoever watched the Diamond League meet in Doha (QAT) last Friday watched it live on Peacock, as the Nielsen report for Saturday’s shows did not include the “encore presentation” of the meet on CNBC, which meant it drew less than an average of 100,000 viewers.

● Cycling ● No change in the overall standings at the 107th Giro d’Italia on Tuesday, as Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar continues with a 2:40 lead on the field.

The 10th stage, a 142 km ride from Pompeii to Bocca della Selva with a nasty uphill finish, saw Jan Tratnik (SLO) lead onto the 18 km final climb, but was passed with 2.7 km left by France’s Valentin Paret-Peintre, who won in 3:43:50. Countryman  Romain Bardet also passed Tratnik for second, 29 seconds behind, with Tratnik third (+1:01).

● Swimming ● On Monday, Canadian teen sensation Summer McIntosh won the Canadian Olympic Trials in the women’s 400 m Freestyle with the fastest time in the world this year: 3:59.06. She’s one of three to break four minutes in 2024, with American Katie Ledecky fourth on the year list at 4:01.41.

But McIntosh, 17, the 200 m Fly and 400 m Medley Worlds gold medalist in 2022 and 2023 and runner-up in the 400 m Free in 2023, said afterward, “To be honest, I’m not happy with that.”

She won again on Tuesday night in the 200 m Free at 1:53.69, a seasonal best and improving her grip on the no. 2 spot on the world list.

McIntosh will be in the pool many more times this week as the Canadian trials continue through the 19th.

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced an expanded sponsorship agreement with existing partner Eli Lilly & Co., becoming the Presenting Sponsor of the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials in swimming at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Lilly is headquartered in Indianapolis and has long been a significant civic supporter of events in the city. As part of its new deal with the USOPC, it will also be an official partner of Making Team USA presented by Xfinity, a new platform illustrating the stories of U.S. athletes.

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