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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. World Athletics’ U.S. promo program starts with QR codes
2. FIFA confirms Sunday, 20 November start for Qatar 2022
3. Brisbane 2032 Olympic stadium budget fight well underway
4. Families of Munich Massacre victims to boycott memorial ceremony
5. Teen Popovici shatters world 100 m Freestyle mark in Rome
World Athletics has opened its promotional program in the U.S. with a series of seven “Going the Distance” video programs profiling stars like Ryan Crouser, Grant Holloway, Athing Mu and four others. The change in the FIFA World Cup schedule has been approved, with Qatar and Ecuador opening the tournament now on Sunday, 20 November. The arguing over costs has already started for the Brisbane 2032 Games and the Queensland plan to renovate the main stadium and adjoining area. Most, if not all, of the families of the victims of the 1972 Munich Massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and officials, will not attend the official commemoration ceremony in a fight over compensation with the German government. In Rome, 17-year-old David Popovici of Romania broke one of the long-standing records in swimming, winning the European title in the men’s 100 m free in 46.86!
World Athletics’ U.S. promo program begins with QR codes
American sprinter Aleia Hobbs, a Tokyo Olympic 4×100 m silver medalist, shared a new promotional program for American track & field after the recent Diamond League meet in Poland:
“I was running with a QR code on my hip here. It is a project we have been doing with World Athletics. By scanning the code, it links you directly to a series of films called ´Going the Distance with Aleia Hobbs´ on their YouTube account. You can go there to discover more about me.”
What? Jackie Brock-Doyle (GBR), the World Athletics communications chief, explains:
“World Athletics and USATF selected 7 athletes we thought GenZ would relate to and spent a day with each one doing some filming and a series of quick fire question and answer sessions to give people more insight to the person behind the performance.
“We then created individual playlists of 4-6 short videos on World Athletics’ YouTube channel under the heading ‘Going the Distance Series’.”
The program actually debuted at the World Championships in Eugene, but also included one athlete who didn’t make the team. The athletes:
● Ryan Crouser, the Olympic and World Champion in the men’s shot;
● Aleia Hobbs, who was also wearing it at the Diamond League meet;
● Grant Holloway, the 2019 and 2022 World men’s 100 m hurdles winner;
● Athing Mu, the women’s 800 m Olympic and World Champion;
● Elle St. Pierre, the World Indoor women’s 3,000 m silver medalist;
● Cooper Teare, the U.S. Olympic Trials winner in the men’s 1,500 m;
● Gabby Thomas, the Tokyo Olympic women’s 200 m bronze medalist.
This part of a promised push toward expanding the popularity of track & field inside the U.S. by World Athletics, on the six-year run-up to the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. World Athletics President Sebastian Coe (GBR) has made no secret of his appreciation for the role that the Netflix documentary series “Drive to Survive” – which debuted in 2019 – has played in increased interest for Formula 1 racing.
The Drive to Survive programs are 34-52 minutes each in length, so the World Athletics concept is more bite-sized in style and easy to view quickly. The Going the Distance videos with Hobbs ran 1:36, 1:35, 1:29 and 1:39 across the four episodes; Holloway’s series has five parts. First up were the series on Crouser and St. Pierre on 15 July, the first day of the Eugene World Championships; Thomas’s series was the last to be posted, on 5 August.
The most popular segments so far – remember, the series has not even been officially announced as yet; that will come at the end of the Diamond League season in September – are the opening videos for Mu (8,202 views) and Teare (7,533).
These are well done and an extension of a very vibrant YouTube channel for World Athletics, which has 1.03 million subscribers and 442.04 million views of its videos since beginning the service in 2010. Will it move the needle in the U.S.?
FIFA confirms Sunday, 20 November start for Qatar 2022
The FIFA World Cup in Qatar will officially open one day earlier, on 20 November 2022, with Qatar playing Ecuador at 7 p.m. at the Al Bayt Stadium, following approval by the Bureau of the FIFA Council last week.
The move of this match from Monday (21st) to Sunday (20th) also allows the Netherlands-Senegal – which was to have been the tournament opener – to kick off later in the day, at 7 p.m. instead of at 1 p.m., in cooler temperatures. The announcement noted:
“The change ensures the continuity of a long-standing tradition of marking the start of the FIFA World Cup with an opening ceremony on the occasion of the first match featuring either the hosts or the defending champions.
“The decision followed an assessment of the competition and operational implications, as well as a thorough consultation process and an agreement with key stakeholders and the host country.”
What about added costs for spectators due to the change? “FIFA will seek to address any issues arising from this change in a case-by-case basis.”
One group which will be impacted directly is the U.S. broadcaster FOX, which will now have to deal with a match beginning at noon Eastern, in the middle of its NFL Sunday programming. The likely result is the opening match of the World Cup on FS1 instead of the over-the-air network.
Brisbane 2032 Olympic stadium budget fight well underway
Yes, the Games of the XXXV Olympiad is 10 years away, but the political infighting concerning Brisbane 2022 is already here.
The government’s plan to renovate not only the Brisbane Cricket Ground – known as “The Gabba” – but the surrounding area into a major entertainment and sports area was expected to cost perhaps A$1 billion (~$712.7 million U.S.), but the costs could escalate. The Brisbane Times reported last week:
“The Queensland government will push on with plans to demolish and rebuild the Gabba for the 2032 Olympic Games, even if required changes to the precinct’s critical infrastructure cause a cost blow-out.”
A major concern is whether the site is large enough to handle the proposed expansion. Questions have also been raised about the Australian federal funding commitment to the project, especially with the Labour Party taking control of the government from the Liberal Party in May, with Anthony Albanese now the Prime Minister instead of Scott Morrison.
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace told lawmakers during a late July budget review session:
“Final design, final works on that stadium have not been completed. … You are operating in a vacuum: we do not know the footprint, we do not know the design, we’ve got a schematic sketch, we’re still stabbing in the dark, it is still 10 years away.”
Yep, 10 years away.
Families of Munich Massacre victims to boycott memorial ceremony
A long-simmering dispute between the families of the 11 Israeli delegation members murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Munich Games has exploded with the public release of a letter last Friday from two of the widows stating they will boycott the official, 50-year memorial ceremony on 5 September.
The New York-based newspaper The Algemeiner noted:
“The letter from the two women emphasized that they had made three demands of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Firstly, a formal apology for the refusal of the German authorities to allow Israeli special forces to conduct the rescue operation – during the hostage situation, the German-led attempt to free the Israelis ended with all the Israeli athletes murdered on the tarmac of the Furstenfeldbruck airbase. Secondly, they called for the full opening of state archives related to the massacre, and finally, ‘adequate compensation.’”
The first two items have been concluded, but the fight now is over compensation, with the widows demanding a much higher amount than the $2.98 in payments made in 2002. One widow, Ilana Romano, said the German government had “abused” the families, “but in a polite manner and with a nice smile.”
At least some of the family members of the victims will attend another ceremony, to be held on London on 5 September.
Teen Popovici shatters world 100 m Freestyle mark in Rome
The European Championships are underway in Rome (ITA), with Romanian teen sensation David Popovici, 17, wiping away a 13-year-old world mark in one of the sport’s glamour events on Saturday (13th).
After becoming only the fourth man in history to break 47 seconds in the men’s 100 m Freestyle in the semis at 46.98, he removed Brazil’s Cesar Cielo and his 2009 mark of 46.91 in the day-three final, winning in 46.86!
Popovici came from behind to win, trailing France’s Maxime Grousset by 0.02 at the turn, then stormed away to win by 0.61 over Hungary’s Olympic 200 m Fly champion, Kristof Milak (47.47). Popovici now owns the top five times of 2022 and now two of the five sub-47 performances in history!
Even more amazing is that Popovici’s swim was in the same pool – at the Parco del Foro Italico – where Cielo set his mark in 2009. On Sunday, Popovici led the semi-finals in the 200 m Free in 1:44.91; he’s already the world leader in 2022 in 1:43.21. Also of note:
In the men’s 100 m Breast, World Champion Niccolo Martinenghi (ITA) equaled his winning time from the Budapest Worlds – fastest in the world this year – at 58.26. World Champion Milak won the 100 m Fly in 50.33, the no. 5 performance of 2022.
In the women’s 50 m Fly, Sweden’s sprint superstar Sarah Sjostrom won her fifth European title in 24.96, just a 100th off her world-leading time in winning the world title in Budapest in June.
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Equestrian ● The Federation Equestre Internationale dispensed with its all-in-one World Equestrian Games after the 2018 edition and held its World Championships for Dressage, Jumping and the non-Olympic Vaulting discipline in Herning (DEN) last week.
The medal winners for the Dressage Special and Dressage Freestyle were exactly the same: Britain’s Charlotte Fry, Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour (DEN) and Dinja van Liere of the Netherlands. Fry, on Glamourdale, won the Special with a score of 82.508% – first place by six of the seven judges – and received the €30,800 first prize. Laudrup-Dufour (on Vamos Amigos) was close at 81.322% and won €18,100. Defending champion Isabell Werth (GER), trying for a fourth world title in the event, finished fourth; Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin, the 2014 champion, was sixth; American Adrienne Lyle finished ninth.
The Dressage Freestyle was another close decision, with Fry scoring 90.654% (again, with six judges in favor) to Laudrup-Defour’s 89.11%, winning €40,500 to €25,000. Lyle was sixth; Werth was ninth and Dujardin, finished 10th.
On Sunday, Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann won his first individual World Jumping title, aboard King Edward, with only 0.58 faults. That earned him the gold and €86,016! Belgium’s Jerome Guery (aboard Quel Homme de Hus) was second (3.35), worth €67,968, and Maikel van der Vleuten (NED: Beauville Z) was third, earning €50.468.
It was von Eckermann’s second gold of the Championships as he was a member of Sweden’s Team winners, just as he was at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Sweden had only 7.69 total faults to 19.31 for the Netherlands and 22.66 for Britain. The U.S., the defending champion, was 11th.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Olympic Games 2036 ● Jurgen Kessing, the head of the German Athletics Federation (DLV) told Deutsche Presse Agentur that a Berlin bid for the 2036 Games – a century after the infamous Nazi Games of 1936 – should be publicly discussed.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who is German, said recently that a German bid for 2026 should not be ruled out on account of the 1936 Games.
Berlin bid for the 2000 Olympic Games, but was eliminated in the second round.
● Archery ● The 138th United States National Target Championships once again concluded with international stars Brady Ellison and Casey Kaufhold winning the national Recurve (Olympic division) titles.
The 144-arrow Nationals was held in Malvern, Pennsylvania, with Ellison – the 2019 World Champion – scoring 1,348 to 1,319 for Gabe Anderson and Matt Nofel. Kaufhold, still just 18 and the 2021 World silver medalist, scored 1,333 to win the women’s Recurve division. Catalina G’Noriega was second at 1,283 and Isabella Frederick was third (1,265).
In Saturday’s elimination-play U.S. Open, 20-year-old Nicholas D’Amour of the U.S. Virgin Islands upset Ellison in the final, 6-0, while Atlanta 1996 gold medalist Justin Huish – now 47 – won the bronze over Jackson Mirich, 7-1. It’s Huish’s best performance since returning to the sport three years ago. Frederick won the women’s title, 6-4, over Gabriella Sasai.
● Athletics ● U.S. sprinter Twanisha “TeeTee” Terry was fun to read on Twitter last week prior to the Diamond League meet in Monaco. After anchoring the U.S. to a stunning women’s 4×100 m gold at the World Championships, she set a lifetime best of 10.82 in Nashville on 30 July.
Then off to Europe, where her bags got lost and she ran poorly in Chorzow (POL) on 6 August – eighth in 11.20 – and tweeted:
“I need to figure out how to run the first 10 meters by tomorrow.”
She was better at the Gyulai Memorial in Hungary on the 8th, finishing fourth in 11.02 and then finished fifth at 10.90 – her fourth-fastest ever – in finishing fifth at the Herculis Diamond League meet in Monaco. Her tweet:
“10.90 man I will take that… I’ve literally been on go back to back since Worlds.”
The full-house crowds for track & field at the refurbished Alexander Stadium in Birmingham (GBR) during the just-completed Commonwealth Games – 30,000-plus per session – has one British columnist ready to forget London, with the Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel writing last week:
“After the success of this summer, a further refurbishment will mean the capacity of the [Alexander Stadium] can switch between 18,000 and 40,000, according to demand. It is perfect for athletics. Compact when it needs to be, with the potential for expansion. It could not be more different from athletics’ current home. A giant, unwieldy and costly white elephant in — where else? — London.
“The unloved London Stadium will host its first Diamond League meeting since 2019 in July next year. And that should be its farewell, too. We have sufficient distance from London 2012 for this not to be seen as a legacy betrayal.
“We know about the drugs cheats. We know much of what we saw, particularly at the track, was false. The romance has gone. We also know it costs £4-6 million to convert the venue for athletics’ use. So, in effect, athletics has no home. It rents a room in a football stadium for a few weeks in the summer. And the country picks up the tab.”
At the same time, he also poured some cold water on thoughts for the 2036 Olympic Games and Birmingham:
“Birmingham 2036. An Olympic Games for the Second City. That’s where euphoria gets you. Pipe dreams, castles in the sky. This country last hosted in 2012 — so it would be a short gap of 24 years. That’s not how the modern Olympics works.
“Australia will wait 32 years between Sydney 2000 and Brisbane 2032. France’s 2024 edition will nod to the centenary of the last summer Games in Paris. Tokyo 2020 was 56 years on from 1964. The wait for Athens was 108 years. The exception is the 12 years that passed between Los Angeles 1984 and Atlanta 1996 — but Atlanta is widely regarded as the worst Olympics of the post-war era. So lesson learned.”
Two-time World Javelin Champion Anderson Peters of Grenada, 24, was assaulted on a party boat last Wednesday (10th), apparently by six members of the crew, and thrown into the water off St. George’s in Grenada.
Police arrested six men, all from Trinidad & Tobago, who will appear in court on Monday (15th), on charges of grievous harm and stealing for five of them and assault for the sixth.
Peters apparently suffered only minor injuries. He had just returned from a silver-medal performance at the Commonwealth Games on 7 August.
● Beach Volleyball ● The fifth Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 tournament was in Hamburg (GER) over the weekend, with Americans Kelly Cheng and Betsi Flint defeating 2021 European champs Nina Betschart and Tanja Huberli (SUI), 21-19, 21-18 to finish off a sixth straight opponent.
It’s the first American medal – men or women – in an Elite 16-level tournament in the reformatted world beach tour program. For Flint, it’s her fifth win in an FIVB event, but by far her biggest and first with Cheng. For Cheng (nee Claes), it’s her third career FIVB event win, after two victories with Sarah Sponcil in 2021.
In the men’s final, Poland’s Bartosz Losiak and Michal Bryl won their fourth event on tour this season – three prior Challenge tournament wins – by out-lasting 2013 World Champions Alex Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen (NED) by 21-18, 16-21, 29-27.
● Football ● More on our Lane One story last week about the closer and closer ties between FIFA and the National Football League, from Todd Parker, the Director of Marketing for the World Cup USA 1994 organizing committee and now at Overtime Sports & Entertainment.
Of the 1994 World Cup, the first ever in the U.S., he noted, “this FIFA/NFL crossover has been building for nearly 30 years.
“Our nine venues were all U.S. football stadiums serving NFL and/or college team tenants. The massive aggregate capacity allowed the World Cup USA 1994 event to set tournament attendance records and demonstrate to FIFA and the U.S. corporate community our country’s potential to launch a deserving first-division professional soccer league.
“Many NFL owners greatly contributed to the event’s success including organizing committee Board member [and Kansas City Chiefs owner] Lamar Hunt and World Cup 2026 Honorary Board chair [and New England Patriots owner] Robert Kraft. Interestingly, former head of NFL Europe Don Garber has been MLS’ longstanding commissioner.”
Of the nine venues used for the 1994 World Cup, five were NFL facilities and four were used for college football, including the Rose Bowl, where the final was played, and the since-downsized Stanford Stadium.
It’s worth remembering that FIFA’s belief in the U.S. as a country ready to embrace soccer came 38 years ago last week with the semifinals and finals of the 1984 Olympic tournament. To the amazement of then-FIFA President Joao Havelange (BRA) and then-Secretary General Sepp Blatter (SUI), the two semis drew 83,642 at Stanford and 97,451 at the Rose Bowl. The medal matches – both at the Rose Bowl – drew 100,374 for the bronze-medal game where Yugoslavia defeated Italy, 2-1, and a stunning 101,799 for France’s 2-0 shutout of Brazil in the championship final.
The United States was selected to host the 1994 World Cup just less than four years later.
● Judo ● Congratulate Jack Yonezuka, 19, of West Long Branch, New Jersey, for his World Junior bronze medal in the International Judo Federation’s World Junior Championships in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
A third-generation judoka, Yonezuka won his medal at 73 kg, becoming the first U.S. men’s World Junior medal winner since 1992! He was the only American medalist in the event.
● Skateboarding ● ESPN reported that the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee has filed a decertification complaint against National Governing Body USA Skateboarding.
The USOPC is alleging a lack of compliance with various rules; the story noted:
“The deficiencies included not requiring background checks for staff, judges, athletes, board members and contractors, having their tax status revoked by the IRS in June 2021 and not having an anti-doping policy. The audit also deemed the NGB deficient in child protection and found ‘a number of significant concerns raised during the review, including athlete representation, conflicts of interest, USOPC funding, athlete safety and managerial capabilities.’”
The decertification process is a slow one, requiring a hearing and then a decision, which can be appealed. In the interim, USA Skateboarding remains the U.S. governing body for the sport.
For our updated, 620-event International Sports Calendar for 2022 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!