TSX REPORT: Wasserman reveals multiple LA28 venue moves; IPC says no Russians at Paris Opening or Closing; will Russia just skip Paras?

LA28 organizing committee Chair Casey Wasserman

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1. Wasserman reveals extensive LA28 venue shuffle underway
2. Paralympic neutrals out of Paris Opening, Closing Ceremonies
3. Russia furious at IPC regs, could skip Paralympics
4. Bach on Russia: “It is their invasion” that’s caused problems
5. Brazil, U.S. advance to CONCACAF W Gold Cup final

● LA28 Chair Casey Wasserman told The Bill Simmons Podcast on TheRinger.com about changes to multiple venues from the original bid plan, with basketball to be at the new Intuit Dome in Inglewood and no sports at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion since it will be needed for Village training.

● The International Paralympic Committee released comprehensive regulations for the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at Paris 2024, including its own review process to ensure actual neutrality of those allowed.

● Russia’s response to the IPC guidelines was angry, of course, and one member of the Russian Duma (legislature) wondered if this was a play to make Russia refuse to participate! The head of the Russian Paralympic Committee says no decision on participation had been made yet.

● International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach was asked about Russian demands that Israel also be sanctioned, which he rejected, pointing out that it is Russian aggression against Ukraine that has caused all of the problems.

● At the CONCACAF W Gold Cup semis in San Diego, Brazil sailed past Mexico, 3-0, and the U.S. out-lasted Canada in a penalty shoot-out, 3-1, after a 2-2 tie after extra time, with keeper Alyssa Naeher the star.

Panorama: Athletics (2: Lewis says athletes must be consulted on long jump zone idea; two more Kenyan doping sanctions) = Boxing (World Boxing says next event will be in the U.S. in April) = Football (Spain issues fine against RFEF for no sexual harassment policy in place last year) = Gymnastics (ITA posts suspensions against gymnasts from Iran and Vietnam) = Shooting (U.S.’s Mein wins Olympic Trap qualifier) = Tennis (ITA confirms Russians and Belarusians eligible for Paris) ●

Wasserman reveals extensive LA28 venue shuffle underway

The “Games Plan” section of the LA28 Web site show the venue plan as it was presented to the International Olympic Committee for approval back in 2017. But what is played where has been in play for some time and on Wednesday, LA28 Chair Casey Wasserman revealed some of the changes.

He spoke in detail about the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic plans for more than 20 minutes on The Bill Simmons Podcast released Wednesday on TheRinger.com. In this first of two parts on TSX, Wasserman was asked about where some of the sports will be held. His comments are offered in order, with a summary of the known and unknown changes summarized after:

● “We have the Rose Bowl, Dodger Stadium, The Forum, the Coliseum … SoFi [Stadium] right now is Opening Ceremonies, we’re thinking about moving an event there, but that will get solved over the next 60 days because as things happen around the city, things where we were going to do things may get used for other purposes, from a temporary perspective, so we have to create other solutions.

“We think those solutions will be better, but, certainly, Opening Ceremonies, the parade of nations – what you assume is the Opening Ceremonies – will be at SoFi, and if we can pull off an event there, it will be pretty spectacular.”

● On basketball: “Well, [Clippers owner] Steve [Ballmer] already went out and said it, so basketball is very likely to end up at Intuit Dome. He kind of spoiled it. When they announced the [NBA] All-Star Game and then he called me that night, ‘did I screw that up for you?’ and I went, ‘Unh.’ I mean it’s OK, you can pay me back later.”

● On surfing: “So, surfing is either going to be in Huntington Beach, which is where they do the U.S. Open of Surfing – the only two places with waves in Southern California are really there and then down in Tresles. Tresles is the best wave, it’s got a lot of operational complexities because there’s not a lot of parking, you have to cross over the train tracks.

“It’s the best wave, between the back of house is pretty complicated, so we’re working through that.”

● On the hardest sports to figure out: “Hardest sport? The sports you wouldn’t think about, things like modern pentathlon, which is an event which has five esoteric events that they demand operate on the same day, so it’s a swimming pool and a shooting range and a track, so you’ve got this weird collection of venues.

“Equestrian because you have to have the disciplines in the same location. So, Eventing, which operates on a golf course, and Dressage and Jumping, which operate in an arena, but you have top have back-of-house for all the stables and all that stuff, there’s not a lot of places that have all of those facilities in one place. So there’s some of those sports that are more complicated than you think about.”

● On cycling: “Thankfully, at whatever’s it’s called now, the Dignity Health [Sports Park] – where the Galaxy plays – there’s actually a velodrome that has 3,000 seats in it, that’s as good a velodrome as there is in the world.”

● On soccer: “Soccer we will do likely – definitely semifinals and finals at the Rose Bowl – I’m not sure we will do all the preliminaries there because I’m not sure we can take advantage of the capacity, so we can do it at other MLS venues in and around the state.”

● On tennis: “Tennis also is at Dignity Health because there’s a 10,000-seat tennis stadium. It’s actually the only tennis stadium in Southern California other than Indian Wells, but Indian Wells in July is a little hot.”

● On track & field: “Track is at the Coliseum. Fun fact for the Olympics: the most expensive thing we will build is a temporary track in the Coliseum, because after the earthquake in ‘94, they took the track out. So our track, the track is so big for an Olympic footprint because it’s not just the running, it’s the field events and the long jumps and the triple jumps and steeplechases and the hammer throws and all those things. The scale of the track is huge; it will go 14 rows up into the Coliseum. So row one will actually be row 15 if you’re at a USC football game.”

Asked about the marathon route, Wasserman explained:

“It’s actually one of the things that we’re starting to think about now. There’s two versions of a marathon: point-to-point, but then you have to shut the city down; a little complicated. We’ll stay away from your neighborhood, don’t worry.

“Or, you do loops. So in London, they were the first ones to do essentially six four-and-a-half-mile loops, and so you get a ton of fans and create an environment that’s really energized as opposed to a point-to-point where you don’t feel that energy. Bette for viewing, not as exciting a course, so we’re kind of moderating between what’s a better result for L.A.”

The LA28 Chair confirmed that “golf will be at Riviera” and added that with the Olympic Village all at UCLA, “unlike ‘84, there won’t be competitions at Pauley Pavilion. We need the whole campus just for athletes and athlete training and security and transportation.”

That’s a whole lot of changes from the original plan. Adding in those venues known to be moved, but not yet announced, a list of the now-public changes includes (but is surely not limited to):

Archery: proposed at SoFi Stadium, but not mentioned by Wasserman as being held there now. Where?

Baseball: an added sport for LA28, and assumed to be at Dodger Stadium, as Wasserman indicated.

Basketball: proposed at Crypto.com Arena and the L.A. Convention Center, now to be at the new Intuit Dome in Inglewood.

Canoeing: proposed at Lake Perris, but known to now be at the Long Beach Marine Stadium.

Equestrian: proposed in a temporary facility in the “Valley Sports Park” in the Sepulveda Basin, but Wasserman did not mention it and implied a different site was being sought.

Football: proposed at the Rose Bowl and the BMO Stadium in downtown Los Angeles, but Wasserman indicated preliminary matches could be held at MLS facilities around the state, which could surely include Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego.

Judo: proposed at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, but Wasserman said no sports will be held there since it will be needed for Village training. The temporary basketball site at the L.A. Convention Center is now available, though.

Modern Pentathlon: proposed at the Dignity Health Sports Park, but Wasserman did not mention it and implied a different site was being sought.

Rowing: proposed at Lake Perris, but known to now be at the Long Beach Marine Stadium.

Wrestling: proposed at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, but now to be moved.

The removal of basketball from the L.A. Convention Center and Crypto.com Arena (formerly Staples Center) to the Intuit Dome in Inglewood would be a move out of a Los Angeles venue and under the Games Agreement with the City of Los Angeles, would need approval from the L.A. City Council.

If the Valley Sports Park in the Sepulveda Basin – within the City of L.A. – does not have equestrian there, will Canoe Slalom and Shooting still be held there? Or elsewhere? There has been chatter about moving the Canoe Slalom to the existing, world-class Riverpark OKC in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, but no confirmation.

Wasserman’s comments on surfing – at Huntington Beach or the Tresles near San Diego – are the first public remarks on a site for that sport. No sites have been disclosed for skateboarding or sport climbing on the initial sport program, but not part of the bid, or for added sports softball, cricket, flag football (for SoFi?), lacrosse or squash.

In part two of our transcript for Friday, more from Wasserman on LA28’s finances, what worries him and legacy plans.

Paralympic neutrals out of Paris Opening, Closing Ceremonies

On Wednesday, the International Paralympic Committee released a seven-page set of regulations concerning the appearance of “Neutral Paralympic Athletes” from Russia and Belarus at the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, containing familiar restrictions on who can compete:

● “5. Athletes and support personnel who have actively supported the war in Ukraine will not be eligible to be entered into the Paralympic Games.

● “6. Athletes and support personnel who are contracted to the Russian/Belarusian military or national security agencies will not be eligible to be entered into the Paralympic Games.

● “7. The IPC will carry out an independent, external assessment of the eligibility of each athlete and support personnel against the criteria in paragraphs 5 and 6, above.”

The regulations ban entries in team sports, as well as national flags and anthems in case of a winning athlete from Russia or Belarus; a statement noted, “Neutral athletes will compete under a white flag featuring black lettering spelling out NPA. The flag’s use will be limited to TV and sports presentation graphics and during medal ceremonies.”

And there was considerable detail on uniforms:

“[A]ll neutral athletes and support personnel are prohibited at all times from wearing a uniform that includes any national colour(s), flag, name (in any language or format), emblem, symbol, designation (e.g. RUS, RPC, BLR, BPC), insignia, slogan, or the like of Russia/Belarus or the Russian/Belarusian military (including, without limitation, the ‘Z’ symbol, the Saint George colours, and any other military branding and slogans), or otherwise bears any resemblance to the team uniform and/or flag of NPC Russia/Russia or NPC Belarus/Belarus, or that includes any name, emblem, symbol, insignia, slogan, or the like of any Russian or Belarusian company or other organisation or entity.”

In fact, uniforms for all “neutrals” will have to submitted to, and approved by, the IPC, prior to the Paralympic Games. And the ban on “identity” goes further, to include any marking that

“will appear on their body (including without limitation hair colouring, skin colouring, jewellery, hair shaving and nail varnishes), accessories or apparel (including without limitation clothing, jewellery, hairbands, shoes, stickers, patches and bags) at any time while in the vicinity of any venue associated with the Paralympic Games.”

There are no bans on interactions with media in the regulations, but:

“No statement(s) will be given, written, broadcast, posted or otherwise distributed in any format during the Paralympic Games by any neutral athlete/support personnel on behalf of anyone other than themselves as individuals.”

And these “neutrals” will not be seen in the main ceremonies:

“Neutral athletes and support personnel will not march in the opening or closing ceremony.”

Medals won by “neutral” athletes will not be recorded on the official medal tables.

These rules mostly mirror what the International Olympic Committee has stated; the issues will come in the implementation. At Tokyo in 2021, Belarus sent 19 athletes and Russia had 246; the IPC General Assembly in 2023 narrowly rejected the expulsion of the Russian Paralympic Committee.

Russia furious at IPC regs, could skip Paralympics

As expected, Russian response to the International Paralympic Committee’s Paris 2024 regulations was angry, with the Russian Paralympic Committee stating:

“The Russian Paralympic Committee views this decision as discriminatory regarding Russian athletes based on their nationality origins.

“Denying athletes the right to show that they come from a certain country, or to celebrate victory when their country’s anthem is played, is equal to denying them the right to a national identity.

“This is unfair regarding Russian athletes and puts them in an unequal position compared to other national athletes. Our Paralympians keep preparing for the [2024 Paralympics] to show their utmost results and to once again glorify the Russian sports.”

A further report from the Russian news agency TASS noted comments from the head of the RPC, Pavel Rozhkov:

“The final decision on our participation in the Games has not been made yet. We will make it later after a thorough consideration.

“We are studying the criteria, which we received today, along with our federations and our national teams. However, even now we can state that they are discriminatory and still retain the previous well-known humiliating features. And we understand from the experience with the IOC and the IPC, as well as from all the previous steps of these organizations, that more criteria may appear.

“Our teams in sports that still have a chance of participating in the Games continue to prepare and undergo qualifying competitions: there are seven of them. In three more sports, we can get to the Games only on the basis of direct invitations from the IPC and international sports federations.”

The RPC has calculated that it could send 125 athletes to Paris – about half as many as went to Tokyo – and a total delegation of 225.

Former Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov was much more dramatic (DeepL.com translation):

“The IPC is a weak organization, influenced by the IOC and other various structures. Despite the fact that they understand the importance of the RPC and the Paralympic movement, to its formation and successes, they were the first ones who did not allow our athletes to the Paralympics [in 2016]. They realize that they can’t continue this policy; they pretend to admit them, but they create such conditions so that the participation of our athletes would be as inconspicuous as possible. This organization is afraid of everything: of publicity, of defending its opinion.

“So it was an expected decision, nothing new; it’s no longer surprises for anyone. And the ban on participation in the opening and closing ceremonies is due to the fact that they want to make the participation of our athletes there as inconspicuous as possible, even under a neutral flag. You can’t be on the podium with paraphernalia, you can’t chant ‘Russia,’ you can’t have flags, they are afraid of that. Banal cowardice and lack of independence.”

State Duma deputy Svetlana Zhurova, the Turin 2006 women’s 500 m speed skating winner, wondered if this is a set-up for future expulsions:

“It looks absurd, as if there are Russians, but as if there are not. It’s not clear how it won’t be mentioned if the Russians or Belarusians won. They want to erase the Russians from sports history, as if there was a person and he is nowhere to be found. As if there are no Russians in the history of the Paralympic movement.

“I don’t understand how you can go in this situation. Maybe they are promoting this so that the Russians will refuse themselves. Maybe they interpret this then as a boycott to then suspend us from the Games for the next cycles. But we have to analyze this so as not to harm future generations.”

Bach on Russia: “It is their invasion” that’s caused problems

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach (GER), the target of unrelenting criticism from Russian officials over restrictions imposed on athletes and organizations pointed out the obvious to reporters in a Wednesday online interview:

“The Russian government apparently is ignoring the fact they have forced us to action. It is their invasion and in particular it is their annexation of parts of Ukraine.

“What is also remarkable is that this aggressivity is coming from the very same government that was behind the scandalous manipulation of the anti-doping system before and during and even after [the 2014 Winter Games] in Sochi.”

And he said it was “really very, very heavy to take” to see suspended teen figure skater Kamila Valieva is being used for Russian propaganda purposes:

“Now, she was misused for political purposes on top of that, by having to stand next to the president, Putin, at the opening ceremony of the so-called Future Games. In this way showing the disrespect for all the worldwide anti-doping rules.”

Asked about the Russian demand that Israel also be sanctioned for its response to the murderous, 7 October 2023 attack by Hamas, Bach was clear, “No, there is no question about this.”

As for security concerns around the Israeli team, given past Muslim extremism in France, Bach added:

“Since the heinous attack on the Israeli team [at Munich 1972], there were always special measures being taken with Israeli athletes.

“The authorities feel comfortable that the same will be true of course also for Paris, Marseille or wherever there will be Israeli representation.”

Brazil, U.S. advance to CONCACAF W Gold Cup final

The CONCACAF W Gold Cup semifinals were played in very rainy San Diego, with the U.S.-Canada semi on essentially a flooded field at Snapdragon Stadium, with American keeper Alyssa Naeher the star of the penalty shoot-out to advance the U.S. to the final.

The terrible conditions frustrated both offenses in the first half, with acceleration difficult through the water that slowed every step. Passes died, dribbling was severely impaired, and a goal was going to have to come on a mistake. It did.

The U.S. got the gift in the 20th, as a Lindsey Horan pass from midfield toward the top of the box created a race between Canadian defender Vanessa Gilles and U.S. striker Jaedyn Shaw. Gilles got there first and sent the ball back toward keeper Kailen Sheridan, but it died in the water! Shaw pounced and as Sheridan came out to cut down the angle, Shaw left-footed it past her from the middle of the penalty area for a 1-0 lead.

Canada had a 52-48% edge on possession, at halftime, but the U.S. had a 3-2 edge on shots.

The second half saw the rain slow down, but it was still sloppy and wet, with Canada was on the attack early. Horan had a chance at a header off a Trinity Rodman cross in the 51st, but her shot over the crossbar.

In the 82nd, a Canadian build-up finally got home as striker Adriana Leon sent a pass from the top of the box to the right side for midfielder Ashley Lawrence, whose perfect cross found substitute midfielder Jordyn Huitema at the far left edge of the U.S. goal and she headed it into the net to tie the score. Regulation time ended that way, with Canada owning 51% of possession and a 10-7 edge on shots.

In extra time, the U.S. got a clever header by Rose Lavelle at the top of the box that sent the ball over the head of two defenders to a streaking Sophia Smith, who was all alone on goal and right-footed a laser into the far right corner of the net for the 2-1 lead in the 99th.

In the one added minute of extra time (120+1), a long lead pass into the pass was attacked by Canadian defender Vanessa Gilles – for a header – and Naeher, who crashed into each other and both ended up on the ground. A video review ended with a penalty called on Naeher – to the disbelief of the crowd – and Leon converted the shot to tie the match and send it to a shoot-out.

But Naeher was the star of the shoot-out. After Smith converted the first try for the U.S., Naeher stopped the first two Canadian tries, then converted herself on the third U.S. shot, and after Horan converted for a 3-2 lead, Naeher stoned the final try by Jessie Fleming to give the U.S. the win, 3-1. Wow.

In the first semi – in better weather – Brazil had little trouble with Mexico, winning by 3-0 thanks to a goal by midfielder Adriana in the 21st minute and then a red card against Mexican defender Nicki Hernandez in the 29th that left them with 10 players for the final 61 minutes of the match.

Brazilian defender Antonia scored soon after, on a left-footed strike from outside the box in the 32nd for a 2-0 lead into halftime. Midfielder Yasmin scored the final goal in the 48th off a cross to the front of the Mexican goal by substitute midfielder Gabi Portilho.

Brazil ended with 68% of possession and a 23-8 edge on shots in a physical game that had 26 total fouls.

The championship final will be played on Sunday in San Diego at 5:15 p.m. local time.


● Athletics ● Olympic icon Carl Lewis, also the head coach at the University of Houston, had plenty to say on X (ex-Twitter) about Greece’s World Indoor long jump winner Miltiadis Tentoglou complaining about the proposed “take-off zone” concept from World Athletics:

“This is exactly why the athletes need to be consulted. They would never agree with this format change. I’ve heard so many opinions but not from the jumpers. Now, every jumper needs to speak up and make them understand that they will not accept these changes.”

And he added (a couple of corrections for readability):

● “Everyone needs to understand that WA has no interest in a professional sport. The declining interest is for that reason. They’ve made it amateur again with no real desire to promote it. That’s why they control all leagues now. The athletes have been fighting an uphill battle.”

● “This issue is more about culture than competition. The long jump has been the same since the beginning, and when the performances no longer meet the standard, they want to make it easier. This is about Everybody Wins. The culture of now.”

● “Look, the long jump world record has been held by 5 people for almost 90 years. Three of them held it – Bob Beamon 23, Jesse Owens 25, and Mike Powell for nearly 33 years – and counting. This event is extremely difficult and is so often dismissed as easy and just about speed.”

● “It’s [insulting] to constantly hear that the best jumpers are in other sports or in the sprints. Most athletes stop jumping BECAUSE it’s too difficult for them. The jumpers now are the ones that have the courage and determination to try to jump. So, use the facts and not opinion.”

Lewis also weighed in on another hot topic:

“I totally agree with the no [false] start rule. That changed nothing. You still have to wait for the gun. And it speeds up the events.”

Another day, another Athletics Integrity Unit announcement of Kenyan suspensions. On Wednesday, Kennedy Kiprop Cheboror, a 2:06:59 marathoner from 2019, was provisionally suspended for “whereabouts” failures, and Purity Temuti Komen, a 1:06:30 half-marathoner, was banned for six years for the use of the steroid Norandrosterone.

In addition, Uzbek distance runner Sitora Khamidova, a 2016 Olympian in the 10,000 m and marathon, was banned for five years for the use of Dehydrochloromethyl-testosterone, Heptaminol and Octodrine,

● Boxing ● A summary of the 26 February World Boxing Executive Board meeting included a note that the next World Boxing Cup event will be held in the U.S. in April and that the federation’s new Strategic Plan for 2024-28 was approved and will be published soon.

World Boxing has 27 members at present, but has not added anyone new since last October.

● Football ● The Spanish Labor Ministry issued fines against the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) as well as F.C. Barcelona and other clubs for not having “equality plans” in place as required by Spanish law.

The RFEF was further fined for not having a sexual allegations response protocol, also required, prior to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Labor Minister Yolanda Díaz said in a radio interview:

“We sent our world champions [to the Women’s World Cup] without an equality plan and without harassment protocols, which is very serious. We are sending a strong message that this has to change. There is no place for sexism in sports.”

● Gymnastics ● The International Testing Agency announced two suspensions, with Iranian men’s Rings specialist Mahdi Ahmad Kohani (26) – a four-time World Cup medalist – receiving two years for “whereabouts” failures through 21 February 2026.

Vietnam’s Ha Vi Tran, 21, the 2023 Asian Championships gold medalist in Aerobics, got two years for the use of diuretic and masking agents “hydrochlorothiazide, chlorothiazide, amiloride and sibutramine.” Her Asian Championships gold will be revoked and she is ineligible until 15 November 2025.

● Shooting ● At the Americas Olympic qualification for shotgun in Santo Domingo (DOM), Derrick Mein of the U.S., the 2022 World Champion, won the men’s Trap final at 47-44 over Eduardo Lorenzo (DOM), with Jean Pierre Brol Cardenas (GUA: 34) third. Guatemala’s Ana Waleska Soto won the women’s final, 40-37 against Mexico’s Alejandra Ramirez, with Ryann Phillips (30), Carey Garrison (27) and Ida Faye Brown (20) of the U.S. finishing 3-4-5.

Guatemala won the men’s Team Trap final over Brazil, 7-1; the U.S. won the bronze over Peru, 6-2. Phillips, Garrison and Brown of the U.S. took the women’s Team final, 7-3 over Mexico.

Puerto Rico’s Pedro Perez and Augusta Campos-Martyn (PUR) won the Mixed Team final over Mexico, 40-34.

● Tennis ● The International Tennis Federation confirmed on Wednesday that it will allow Russian and Belarusian “neutrals” as competitors at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games:

“The International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee will allow qualified and eligible athletes with Russian and Belarusian passports to compete in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as Individual Neutral Athletes (‘AIN’) and Paralympic Games as Neutral Paralympic Athletes (‘NPA’).

“The ITF confirms that tennis players from these nations will be allowed to enter the Olympic and Paralympic tennis competitions in an individual and neutral capacity if they comply with the IOC’s AIN and the IPC’s NPA principles. Neutral athletes will need to meet the selection and eligibility requirements as set out in the applicable ITF Regulations.”

Russian and Belarusian players have been allowed to compete as “neutrals” on the ATP and WTA professional circuits, although not without controversy.

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