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Thread: Tokyo Olympics

  1. #136
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    And so it begins...


    Getty Images

    Japan Olympic legends to start Tokyo 2020 torch relay in Greece
    By OlympicTalkNov 11, 2019, 10:06 AM EST

    Japanese Olympic gold medalists Mizuki Noguchi (marathon), Tadahiro Nomura (judo) and Saori Yoshida (wrestling) will be among the torchbearers for the Tokyo 2020 torch relay’s first eight days in Greece in March.

    Noguchi will reportedly be the first Japanese torchbearer and second overall, receiving the Olympic Flame from a Greek during the traditional lighting ceremony in Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, on March 12. Japanese media reported Noguchi will have that honor, though Tokyo 2020 has not confirmed it.

    The Olympic Flame will spend eight days in Greece before being flown to Japan to start a 121-day trek leading to the July 24 Opening Ceremony. The Japanese part of the relay begins in the tsunami-affected prefecture of Fukushima.

    Noguchi won the 2004 Athens Olympic marathon that began in Marathon and ended at the Panathenaic Stadium used for the first modern Olympics in 1896.

    Nomura is the only judoka with three Olympic gold medals, winning the lightest male division (60kg or 132 pounds) in 1996, 2000 and 2004.

    The wrestler Yoshida is also a three-time Olympic champion, plus a 13-time world champion between 53kg and 55kg. She retired after being dethroned by American Helen Maroulis in a bid for a fourth gold in Rio.

    Others to be the first host-nation athletes to carry the Olympic Flame in Olympia included South Korean soccer player Park Ji-sung, Brazilian volleyball player Giovane Gavio and Russian hockey player Alex Ovechkin.
    Pass that torch!
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  2. #137
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    Russia banned

    cheaters...

    Russia banned from all global sport including 2020 OIympics and 2022 World Cup finals
    The country planted fake evidence and deleted files linked to positive doping tests that could have helped identify drug cheats
    Tom Gillespie, news reporter
    @TomGillespie1
    Monday 9 December 2019 15:13, UK


    Russian president Vladimir Putin, centre, with 2018 Winter Olympics athletes

    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has imposed a four-year ban on Russia from all global sport, including the 2020 Olympics and the 2022 World Cup finals.

    WADA's executive committee took the decision after concluding Moscow had tampered with laboratory data.

    The agency found Russia planted fake evidence and deleted files linked to positive doping tests that could have helped identify drug cheats.

    Russia has 21 days to appeal the decision through the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    Sky's sports correspondent Martha Kelner has said the country is expected to appeal.

    Individual Russian athletes untainted by the scandal will still be able to compete in competitions independently under a neutral flag.

    It is unclear whether those who play team sports such as football will be able to play under a neutral flag.

    Jonathan Taylor QC, chair of the compliance review committee (CRC), said: "There will be no Russian flag at the events that are covered (by the ban).

    "There will not be a Russian flag and the athletes will not be participating as representatives of Russia.

    "The details from sport to sport will have to differ because some are team sports, some are individual sports, so there is going to have to be a case by case basis."

    Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said after the judgement: "Everything possible was done to resolve this situation. Everything possible."

    WADA said its decision was unanimous and its president Sir Craig Reedie accused Russia of choosing "deception and denial" rather than getting its house in order.

    World Ant-Doping Agency (WADA) president Sir Craig Reedie said the mission could "potentially lead to many cases being actioned".

    Sir Craig said: "The ExCo's (executive committee) strong decision today shows WADA's determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis, thanks to the agency's robust investigatory capability, the vision of the CRC, and WADA's recently acquired ability to recommend meaningful sanctions via the compliance standard which entered into effect in April 2018.

    "Combined, these strengths have enabled the ExCo to make the right decisions at the right time.

    "For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency's (RUSADA) reinstatement conditions, approved by the ExCo in September 2018, demanded a robust response.

    "That is exactly what has been delivered today. Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial."

    Russia has been hit with the ban after agreeing to allow WADA investigators into its laboratory in Moscow.

    The investigators found that data there had been manipulated.

    Russia will still be able to compete at the Euro 2020 football tournament next summer, which it has qualified for and is a tournament host with games due to be played at St Petersburg.

    European football's governing body does not fall under the definition of a "major events organisation" under the international compliance code.

    Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015 when it was first declared non-compliant.

    UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) welcomed the ban on Russia in a statement by saying it was the "only possible outcome".

    UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said: "We welcome today's decision to declare RUSADA non-compliant, and the decisive action by WADA's executive committee to impose four-year sanctions on Russian athletes and support personnel.

    "This was the only possible outcome that the WADA ExCo could take to reassure athletes and the public and continue the task of seeking justice for those cheated by Russian athletes.

    "We know however that this is not necessarily the end of the matter. If RUSADA choose to appeal this decision to CAS, this must be carried out with minimal delay, especially in light of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

    "We welcome the clear and detailed communication from WADA today which is vital in helping to maintain confidence in the global anti-doping system."
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  3. #138
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    Tokyo primer

    Everything You Need to Know About the 2020 Summer Olympics


    A dog is pictured on the Olympic Rings displayed at the Japan Sport Olympic Square beside the new National Stadium, still under construction, in Tokyo on July 24, 2019. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU—AFP/Getty Images
    BY RAISA BRUNER
    DECEMBER 26, 2019

    It will be here before we know it: the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, this time taking place in Japan’s capital of Tokyo.

    It’s Tokyo’s second time hosting a Summer Olympics, 56 years after their first time in the spotlight. These Games will see the introduction of some exciting new sports to the lineup, too: skateboarding will make its Olympic debut, as well as karate, surfing and sport climbing.

    There will be plenty of classics to watch as well, from the ever-popular swimming and gymnastics events to track and field and team sports. And while Olympic trials have yet to take place, we’ll most likely be seeing the return of superstars like the 2016 gymnastics standout Simone Biles, swimming record-setter Katie Ledecky and track star Sydney McLaughlin, who was just 16 when she competed in the Rio Olympics and has been on the rise ever since.

    When will the 2020 Olympics start?

    The 2020 Summer Olympics will begin on July 24, 2020 and run until Aug. 9, 2020, with the opening ceremony on July 24 and the closing ceremony on Aug. 9. (Some preliminary events will take place as early as July 22.) In between, audiences around the world will tune in to two weeks of nonstop sports. Most of the big swimming events will take place over the first week, while the track and field competitions ramp up in the second half.

    Where are the 2020 Olympics being held?


    The New National Stadium, the main stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (bottom right) are pictured on July 24, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Carl Court—Getty Images

    For the second time in its history, Tokyo is hosting the summer Olympics; they first hosted back in 1964. (Japan has also been home to two Winter Olympics, at Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998.) Tokyo is the first city in Asia to host an Olympics twice.

    This time, Tokyo is looking to many of its preexisting facilities to stage the summer’s events. The city has been renovating stadiums and rebuilding where they can: of 43 venues, 25 were already standing, while eight are new and 10 more temporary, as the Los Angeles Times reports. The Nippon Budokkan is getting fixed up as the site of judo competition and karate, for example, while the Baji Koen Park will host equestrian events and the Yoyogi National Gymnasium will be the spot for handball. (Back in 1964, it was the center of the swimming and diving events.) But the big site — the Tokyo National Stadium — has been the focus of a major overhaul. Originally, the Stadium was to be rebuilt to the specifications of a design by the late architect Zaha Hadid. That plan was scrapped due to cost concerns. The ultimate design is one by a Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma, at about half the price.

    The decision on a host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics was determined back in 2013 in Argentina. The three final contenders during the bid process were Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo; Tokyo ended up ahead with 60 votes to 36 once the field had been narrowed down to Istanbul or Tokyo. Hosting the Olympics is a complex proposition for any city: while it offers potential economic upsides, thanks to increased construction, investment and tourism, many cities also struggle to make later use of the expansive facilities and housing that the Games require.

    In 1964, Tokyo was the first Asian city to host the games. They had initially been scheduled as host for 1940, but the geopolitics of the era necessitated a shift. (The 1940 games were ultimately cancelled entirely.) The 1964 Games were actually held in October, to account for Japan’s midsummer heat and September typhoon season.

    What sports are in the Summer Olympics?

    The 2020 Summer Olympics will award medals across 339 events, representing 33 different sports. Five are new sports entirely (baseball/softball, skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing and karate), while others — like basketball — see the inclusion of new events within the discipline. Nothing has been dropped since 2016, which also saw the return of golf and rugby.
    .
    Here is the full list of sports, and the number of events within each sport: aquatics (49), archery (5), athletics (48), badminton (5), baseball/softball (2), basketball (4), boxing (13), canoeing (16), cycling (22), equestrian (6), fencing (12), field hockey (2), football (2), golf (2), gymnastics (18), handball (2), judo (15), karate (8), pentathlon (2), rowing (14), rugby (2), sailing (10), shooting (15), skateboarding (4), sport climbing (2), surfing (2), table tennis (5), taekwondo (8), tennis (5), triathlon (3), volleyball (4), weightlifting (14) and wrestling (18).

    Which U.S. athletes will likely be competing?


    Oct. 1 2019, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: Gymnastics: World Championship, podium training in the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle. picture alliance—dpa/picture alliance via Getty I

    Simone Biles. Katie Ledecky. Sydney McLaughlin. Serena Williams. There’s still a lot up in the air about who will end up competing at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Some Olympic trials don’t take place until late in 2020; for track and field and swimming, for instance, trials to determine who will end up as an Olympian aren’t until June 2020, just a month before the Olympics themselves.

    Other sports, like many of the team events and the marathon, choose their qualified athletes based on performance in international competitions over the course of 2019 and early 2020. NBC’s Olympics-dedicated Twitter account is a good place to keep track of preliminary and qualifying events.

    As for individual athletes set to take the Olympic stage? Michael Phelps, the world’s winning-est Olympian and one of the most recognizable Summer Olympics athletes, probably won’t be back; recent public appearances suggest the dad of three is content letting his record speak for itself after representing the U.S. in four consecutive Olympics. But Simone Manuel, who made waves with her gold-medal tie in 2016, is a possible 2020 Olympian, and Nathan Adrian, who is currently battling testicular cancer, might be back for round three. And then there’s Ledecky, still distance swimming’s dominant force.

    On the track and field side, recognizable names like Justin Gatlin may be in contention for a spot in the competition; the former 100m-medalist from 2004 is posting top times lately. Sydney McLaughlin was the U.S.’s youngest member of the track team in 2016, and has 2020 potential. And sprinter Noah Lyles has been considered an heir to the Usain Bolt throne. Caster Semenya, meanwhile, has been a dominant force in the field — but it remains to be seen whether the 800m champion will be allowed to compete. Semenya already has two gold medals under her belt, but recently she has been battling new regulations set down by the International Association of Athletics Federations that classify her as ineligible to run in women’s races based on the increased level of testosterone she genetically possesses.
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    Continued from previous post

    #TokyoOlympics

    @NBCOlympics
    Say hello to your World 200m Champion, @LylesNoah! 💪#WorldAthleticsChamps


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    As far as gymnastics goes, Simone Biles has been breaking records at recent national and international gymnastics competitions, suggesting that she’s ready to rock for 2020. Basketball, always a Team U.S.A. highlight, might see James Harden take the court in Tokyo. And a cast of familiar soccer stars — Rose LaVelle, Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz — may very well have a world stage moment once more since the U.S. Women’s National Team’s 2019 World Cup victory. While USWNT star Alex Morgan is expecting her first child, due just months before the Olympics, the forward has said she hopes to still compete in Tokyo after giving birth.


    Brazilian skateboarder Rayssa Leal competes in the Street League Skateboarding world championship women's final in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 22, 2019. NELSON ALMEIDA—AFP/Getty Images

    The biggest change to the Olympics for 2020 is the addition of the five new sports and the return of baseball (absent in 2016), plus a few new events, like the three-on-three basketball competition.

    One change sure to receive a lot of attention are the adjusted gymnastics team rules: instead of fielding a team of five athletes, each country will be whittled down to four all-around contestants, with two more teammates added to compete only in individual events.

    Are there any big controversies ahead of the Olympics?

    Concerns about costs
    Olympics detractors point to rising costs as a serious concern; back in 2013, Tokyo suggested a budget of around $7 billion. That ballooned at one point to an estimated $30 billion, with organizers winnowing it down to nearer $25 billion for now. (For reference, Russia ended up spending $51 billion on the Sochi games — the highest known expenditure for an Olympics. That said, future summer games are looking at budgets below $10 billion, thanks to new regulations.)

    Weather questions
    Aside from the costs, there are some concerns about weather: Tokyo has seen increasingly high summer temperatures in the past few years, which means outdoor events like the marathon could be impacted. On the one-year-to-go mark this summer, the city also experienced a torrential downpour. (In 1964, the Tokyo Olympics were actually held in October to avoid these climate issues.)

    USA Gymnastics
    USA Gymnastics has been roiled by allegations of sexual assault against the team’s former doctor Larry Nassar in the past few years, with star gymnasts including Aly Raisman and Simone Biles speaking out about abuse and urging their governing body to take steps towards change.

    Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual assault of a minor and was sentenced in 2018 to up to 175 years in Michigan state prison, but Raisman and others have remained vocal in her criticisms of the organizations for which he worked.

    Questions about Russia
    Russia will most likely not compete as a nation at the 2020 Olympics, after the World Anti-Doping Agency recommended in November that the country receive a four-year ban from international competition for not cooperating with doping investigations. In January, WADA shared their suspicions that Russia had tampered with its athletes’ data before presenting it for inspection to the agency. Russia has had a fraught history with doping allegations; it has been stripped of 43 Olympic medals over the years.

    Although Russia said in December that it would appeal the WADA decision, if the potential ban is upheld, Russian athletes who have not been found guilty of doping would still be allowed to compete individually. The setup would be reminiscent of the 2018 Olympics, when a select number of Russian athletes were cleared to compete at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics as OAR — the neutral “Olympic Athletes Russian” delegation.

    Doping
    Russia isn’t the only country facing concerns about doping among its athletes. The use of substances to enhance athletic performance has long been a fixture in modern competition, and recently superstars like Lance Armstrong have had their legacies reconsidered in light of new information about doping.

    Swimming has been in focus in particular lately: in October, U.S. swimmer and prior Olympic medalist Conor Dwyer announced his retirement following a 20-month ban due to the discovery of his testosterone use. Australia’s Shayna Jack failed a drug test in July, although she contends she ingested the banned substance unknowingly.

    China’s Sun Yang has been a flashpoint of the doping controversy for years: he first tested positive for banned substances in 2014, and is under investigation for smashing a vial of his blood to avoid testing in 2016. At this summer’s world championships, where he dominated in his events, several fellow competitors voiced their objections to his continued appearance in the sport.

    Bribery allegations
    The longtime head of Japan’s Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, stepped down this summer after a French investigation into the choice of Tokyo as the host city for 2020 uncovered potential corruption and the use of bribes in securing votes back in 2013. Takeda has maintained his innocence, but recused himself from his Olympic roles in the face of the controversy.

    Water temperature and clarity
    Like in Rio in 2016, there are some concerns about the quality of the water in Tokyo Bay, which will be home to sailing events and open-water distance swimming events. In 2017, trace amounts of E. coli bacteria — 20 times the safe standard — were found in the Bay, leading to an increased focus on decontamination. And at a test event in summer 2019, the water temperature itself led athletes to admit to being overheated during their long-distance swims.

    In October, the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced that surveys of water quality and temperature in the Odaiba Marine Park showed that their attempts to improve water quality were “effective,” by using a series of underwater screens that reduced the presence of coliforms. Surveys of water temperature also suggested the temperatures on the same summer dates in 2019 were within the target.


    Swimmers dive into the sea at the start of the men's Marathon Swimming 5km competition, as a test event for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo on August 11, 2019. KAZUHIRO NOGI—AFP/Getty Images

    Labor concerns
    Labor organizations, including the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, have reported dangerous and problematic working conditions for construction workers contracted to build and refurbish Tokyo’s many venues, citing a “culture of fear” among workers, plus low pay and overwork, that may have led to multiple deaths so far. For its part, the IOC has said it is working closely with the U.N. agency the International Labour Organization, as the Japanese media has reported, and will be addressing the concerns “with relevant Japanese authorities.” That was in July.

    How can I watch the 2020 Olympics?
    As in the past, NBC will be home to 2020 Summer Olympics coverage. They will broadcast on TV and also have a home for all Olympics viewing on their Olympic Channel website, with events available to livestream. For cord-cutters, NBC apps for streaming and mobile will provide access on TVs and smart devices — but you will have to provide a cable login or buy a subscription in order to access the full coverage.

    Where will the 2024 Summer Olympics be held?
    The 2024 Summer Olympics will be held in Paris. And all the way out in 2028, Los Angeles will play host.

    WRITE TO RAISA BRUNER AT RAISA.BRUNER@TIME.COM.
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  5. #140
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    2020 Tokyo Olympics




    BASEBALL5 AND WUSHU ADDED TO YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES PROGRAMME AT DAKAR 2022

    IOC Executive Board also approves dates for the 2022 Youth Olympic Games, the first Games held in Africa.
    By ZK Goh
    8 January 2020 7:58

    Baseball5 and wushu will make their first appearance on a Games programme at the Dakar 2022 Summer Youth Olympics, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB) approved the additions at a meeting on Wednesday (8 January) on the sidelines of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics.

    The Dakar 2022 Organising Committee had asked for the two sports' inclusion, according to the IOC.

    "The addition has the potential to further develop these two exciting sports in Africa," an IOC statement said.

    Baseball, in its full nine-a-side nine-inning form, is making a return to the adult Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020, while wushu was held as an exhibition event during the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics.

    The Dakar 2022 Games will be staged from 22 October to 9 November 2022.

    Gender equality

    The additions of the two new sports – with five new events expected – will not affect the total gender equality at the Games.

    Baseball5, which sees five players a side play five innings with the only equipment needed being a rubber ball, will be a mixed-gender team event.

    It is the first Olympic team sport to be mixed-gender. Each team will include four men and four women.

    Meanwhile, four events will be held in wushu, also known as "Chinese kungfu": men's and women's changquan, and men's and women's taijiquan.

    "It is designed to play into our plans to have more gender equality and it is something that appeals to youth," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.

    "Both sports have a lot of interest in Africa and I think they will be a big success."

    Other non-traditional Olympic events being held in the Senegalese capital are breaking, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. Beach wrestling is also set to make its Games debut.

    It means all the additional sports selected by both Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 will be contested at Dakar 2022.

    Games dates

    The Games have also had their dates confirmed. They will take place from 22 October to 9 November 2022.

    Originally, it had been proposed that the Games take place earlier in the year, in May or June.

    The IOC says the finalised dates were chosen after consulting National Olympic Committees, International Federations, and its own Athletes' Commission.

    "For the large majority of athletes, the proposal better suits the school curriculum," the IOC said.

    "From a climate standpoint, the YOG will take place at the beginning of the dry season.

    "And for Dakar and Senegal, the dates coincide with Africa Youth Day (1 November), which is an important milestone in the calendar – school pupils will have more time to participate and contribute."
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  6. #141
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    No protesting

    IOC makes it clear: Kneeling, raised fists, other protests not allowed at 2020 Olympics
    Henry Bushnell Yahoo Sports Jan 9, 2020, 8:57 AM


    American fencer and 2019 Pan American Games gold medalist Race Imboden dropped to a knee during the medal ceremony and the playing of the national anthem in Lima. (Leonardo Fernandez/Getty Images)

    Before Thursday, the International Olympic Committee’s stance on protest at the Olympics Games was confined to one sentence in the Olympic Charter. It reeked of ambiguity and invited confusion. What, exactly, qualifies as a protest?

    On Thursday, in an effort to keep politics far away from Tokyo 2020, the IOC answered that question with more specificity than ever before.

    There will be no kneeling during national anthems.

    No raising of fists, à la John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Games.

    No politically charged signs or armbands.

    At least not at any Olympic venue. Not in stadiums or at pools or at a course’s finish line. Not on podiums during medal ceremonies. Not during the opening and closing ceremonies. Not even in the Olympic Village.

    And if there is? Discipline of some sort will follow.

    The IOC laid out its policy in a three-page document published Thursday, six-and-a-half months before the 2020 Summer Games are set to begin. In what it deemed a “non-exhaustive list” of examples, it specifically mentioned the following as “constitut[ing] a protest, as opposed to expressing views”:

    - Displaying any political messaging, including signs or armbands.

    - Gestures of a political nature, like a hand gesture or kneeling.

    - Refusal to follow the Ceremonies protocol.

    The IOC did not specify what the punishment would be for athletes who violate the policy. Instead, it left itself disciplinary leeway. “Each incident will be evaluated by their respective National Olympic Committee, International Federation and the IOC, and disciplinary action will be taken on a case-by-case basis as necessary,” the document reads.

    Which, U.S. Olympian Gwen Berry told Yahoo Sports, is “the crazy thing. It’s like, ‘If you do something, you’ll get in trouble, but we won’t tell you what it is.’ It’s just crazy. It’s a form of control.”

    More on the IOC’s Olympic protest policy

    The IOC document published Thursday clarifies the notorious Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter. “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas,” the Charter reads.

    This past summer and fall, after three-plus years of protests of all kinds across many sports, Olympic officials realized they needed to address the rule’s ambiguity.

    This became especially clear after two U.S. athletes staged podium demonstrations during the 2019 Pan American Games. Fencer Race Imboden dropped to a knee during his gold medal ceremony. Berry, a hammer thrower, raised a closed fist during hers.

    The USOC, in response, wrote a letter – which was obtained by Yahoo Sports – to the two athletes. USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland formally reprimanded them, and placed them on 12-month probation, but acknowledged that the rules governing protest needed clarification.

    "We recognize that we must more clearly define for Team USA athletes what a breach of these rules will mean in the future,” Hirshland wrote. "We are committed to more explicitly defining what the consequences will be for members of Team USA who protest at future Games. ... We also expect to work closely with the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee to engage in a global discussion on these matters.”

    Discussions along those lines have happened, and will continue to happen going forward. Berry, however, told Yahoo Sports she has not been asked to participate in them. (The USOC has not yet commented on the IOC’s newly-released guidelines.)

    The 2020 Olympics, of course, will not be an entirely politics-free zone. The IOC did clarify that “press conferences and interviews,” and “digital or traditional media,” are acceptable arenas for free expression. Some athletes, however, feel that restricting free expression is unacceptable.

    Athletes respond to IOC president Bach

    The IOC’s long-standing argument is that the Olympics should be “politically neutral.” That’s how IOC president Thomas Bach put it in a Jan. 1 open letter.

    “The Olympic Games are always a global platform for the athletes and their sporting performances,” Bach wrote. “They are not, and must never be, a platform to advance political or any other potentially divisive ends. We stand firmly against the growing politicization of sport because only in this way can we accomplish our mission to unite the world in peaceful competition. As history has shown, such politicization of sport leads to no result and in the end just deepens existing divisions.”

    The counterargument is the one Global Athlete, an international “progressive athlete start-up movement,” made in response to Bach. “Let’s be clear, the Olympic Movement has already politicized sport,” the group said in a statement.

    It continued: “To mention a few instances; in PyeongChang the IOC promoted a unified South and North Korean team; the IOC has an observer seat around the United Nations Assembly; the IOC President regularly meets with Heads of States; the Olympic Movement notion of sport autonomy is overshowed by Heads of States also fulfilling roles as heads of National Olympic Committees and heads of IOC Commissions hold Ministerial positions.

    “This ship has sailed; the IOC has already politicized sport.”

    Responding to the IOC’s new protest policy, which restricts athletes’ politicization of their sports but not the IOC’s own politicization of them, Global Athlete tweeted, “Freedom of expression is a right!”

    Berry, on Thursday night, told Yahoo Sports: “We shouldn’t be silenced.” The policy, she said, “definitely is a form of control.”

    This contentious conversation will continue into and throughout the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. “It is a fundamental principle that sport is neutral and must be separate from political, religious or any other type of interference,” the document released by the IOC on Thursday reads. That will never be entirely true. But the IOC is determined to protect Olympic competitions themselves from anything that might deter or anger viewers.

    – – – – – – –

    Henry Bushnell is a features writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell, and on Facebook.
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    friendly torch

    Tokyo 2020 to power Olympic torch with hydrogen for first time
    2 MIN READ


    FILE PHOTO: The Olympic torch of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is displayed at a Torch Relay event to mark the 300-day milestone to the starting date of the torch relay, in Tokyo, Japan June 1, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Hydrogen will be used for the first time to power the Olympic torch during its journey through Japan, organizers said on Monday, as part of Tokyo 2020’s efforts to hold an environmentally friendly Games.

    Organizers aim to offset all carbon emissions generated during the Games and also use the Olympics to boost awareness of environmental issues in Japan.

    The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee said certain stages of the torch relay will use hydrogen, which emits no carbon dioxide when it is burned, and it will also fuel the ceremonial Olympic Cauldron featuring in the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies.

    Hydrogen will be used to power the torch on its journey through the prefectures of Fukushima and Aichi, as well as parts of Tokyo, with gas used in other stages of the relay.

    “During its preparations for the Games, Tokyo 2020 has consistently promoted energy conservation and the use of renewable energy with the aim of supporting the realization of a carbon-neutral society,” the organizers said in a statement.

    About 500 hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles will also be used during the Olympics, which run from July 24 to Aug. 9.

    Other initiatives to cut the environmental impact of the Games include beds made from recyclable cardboard in the athletes’ village, Olympic medals made from recycled consumer electronics and the torches themselves, formed of aluminum waste.

    The torch relay begins in Fukushima on March 26 and will visit all 47 of Japan’s prefectures ahead of the July 24 opening ceremony.

    Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Clarence Fernandez
    Cardboard beds? Well, it couldn't be worse than Rio.
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  8. #143
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    Sakura Kokumai

    No car, no job, no home: What a female karate master gave up to go for 2020 Olympics gold
    PUBLISHED FRI, FEB 21 20209:56 AM ESTUPDATED SAT, FEB 22 20205:07 PM EST
    Candice Goldman
    Jane Wells
    @JANEWELLS
    KEY POINTS
    Like many American athletes, Sakura Kokumai has given up everything to train for the 2020 Olympics in a sport that doesn’t attract many sponsors or much money.
    She quit her job to focus on training, lives with a host family, and sometimes sleeps on a gym floor.
    Kokumai has been practicing karate since the age of seven and this may be her only shot at an Olympic medal: Karate will not be in the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.

    Money is this U.S. Olympic hopeful’s biggest hurdle

    Her hands move in a blur. Then they stop, frozen like stone.

    Sakura Kokumai is 27 years old and could be America’s best hope for a medal in karate at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

    She has a menacing presence in the dojo, even though she is not quite five feet tall. Somehow, when she puts on her “gi,” or uniform, Kokumai seems to grow.

    “Whenever I wear a gi, I feel very strong. I feel confident, and I feel more like myself,” she says.

    There are two types of karate debuting at the Tokyo Games. One is sparring, called kumite. The other is a series of precise movements done individually, called kata. “I always explain it as like figure skating without music,” Kokumai says.

    She is No. 1 in the U.S. in women’s kata, and she’s top five in the world, winning gold at the Pan American Games last fall and silver at the Karate Premier League Tournament in Dubai last week.

    She accomplished all of this without a coach.

    Kokumai is living for free with a host family in California. She has no car. Her wardrobe consists mostly of Team USA clothing, and when asked how much money she has in the bank, she hesitates. “A little,” she finally admits with a laugh.

    Like thousands of Americans, Sakura Kokumai has given up everything to train for the Olympics in a sport that doesn’t attract many sponsors or much money. But unlike many of those other athletes, she never thought the Olympics could be in her future.

    “A lot of swimmers, wrestlers, they will grow up dreaming about the Olympics because they see athletes competing at the Games before,” she says. “For us karate athletes, it was like a different universe.”

    Suddenly when the International Olympic Committee decided in 2016 to add karate to the Tokyo games, Kokumai had decisions to make. “Where do I go? Where do I start? What do I do?”

    Training since seven

    Kokumai began taking karate lessons at the age of 7 in Hawaii. “My mom kind of threw me into a YMCA class,” she says. She enjoyed the sport and the people. “To me, karate was more of an escape...just something peaceful about it. It was calming.”

    Kata in particular attracted her. “It’s less than three minutes, but I felt like I was expressing myself through the kata, so I think I fell in love with the art of it.”

    Kokumai says each kata routine is a fixed set of movements that’s been “passed down for years.” What an individual athlete can change “is the rhythm, the timing.”


    Sakura Kokumai, 2007 Panamerican Junior Championship, Quito, Ecuador
    Sakura Kokumai

    Kokumai says her small stature allows her “to show more speed” than someone who is taller. “I think strength is my power.”

    She became good enough to start competing overseas as a teenager. “It’s been nonstop since then.”

    Kokumai eventually went to college in Japan, earning an undergraduate degree in linguistics and education, followed by a master’s in international relations, and she was working in Tokyo when word came down that karate was going to be in the 2020 Olympics. Upon hearing the news, “I didn’t know what to do to train,” Kokumai says. “I didn’t know what it took to get there, because there was no example. It’s the first time, and there was no past karate Olympian.”

    Kokumai tried to continue working and training, but found herself falling asleep doing stretches. She wasn’t eating right. “I soon realized that juggling work and karate was impossible. So I decided to quit my job.”

    That’s when she moved to California. She trains in the garage at the home where she stays, and she walks to the local gym. “I did find a strength conditioning coach, but he’s in San Diego.”

    Once in a while, Kokumai spends around $50 to take an Amtrak train to San Diego, where her conditioning coach lets her sometimes sleep over in the gym.

    Could be first and last shot at Olympic gold
    Even though Sakura Kokumai has spent much of her life traveling back and forth to Japan, there was never any question in her mind which country to compete for. “I started karate in Hawaii, I looked up to athletes who have represented the U.S.,” she says. “I always identified myself as an American.”

    Money, however, is increasingly on her mind. “Because I’m my own coach, I never really had the time to handle the other things, which has been a struggle.”

    She recently picked up Panasonic as a sponsor, though she will not reveal what kind of financial help, if any, comes with that. She receives a monthly stipend from Team USA, and the USA Karate Federation reimburses her travel expenses to international tournaments crucial to earning enough qualifying points for the Olympics.


    via GIPHY

    There are no guarantees Kokumai will earn one of the 10 spots for female kata in Tokyo, though she is currently among the world’s best. Only Japan is guaranteed one spot — the remaining nine will be based on an individual athlete’s global ranking.

    This could be Kokumai’s only shot at an Olympic medal. Karate will not be in the 2024 Summer Games in Paris. What if all this work and sacrifice is for nothing? Even if she does win gold, is there any financial reward for a kata karate athlete?

    “My focus right now is to qualify, and then my thought was, OK, once I get there, then I’ll figure it out,” she laughs.

    Maybe after she qualifies, Sakura Kokumai will be able to afford a coach. Or maybe not.

    “I just practice and do what I know, and it’s gotten me where I am today,” she says, “so I guess I’m doing all right.”




    Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of spots Japan is guaranteed in female kata at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
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  9. #144
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    If Covid-19 is still surging, I’m wondering if there will even BE a Tokyo Olympics, even I though Japan isn’t the epicenter of it. Look at how faraway countries, like Italy, Iran, etc., are being affected.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 02-24-2020 at 08:43 AM.

  10. #145
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    A lot of things might get cancelled if this goes full pandemic

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    If Covid-19 is still surging, I’m wondering if there will even BE a Tokyo Olympics, even I though Japan isn’t the epicenter of it. Look at how faraway countries, like Italy, Iran, etc., are being affected.
    Indeed. I just posted on how it's affected the Universaide.

    Then there's this:
    Tokyo Governor criticises "inappropriate" offer from London to host Olympics because of coronavirus crisis
    By Liam Morgan Friday, 21 February 2020


    ©Getty Images

    Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has criticisied an "inappropriate" offer from London to step in to replace the city as hosts of this year's Olympic and Paralympic Games because of the coronavirus outbreak.

    London Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey claimed the city "can host the Olympics in 2020" and the world "might need us to step up" due to the virus, which has so far killed 2,250 people and infected over 76,000 worldwide.

    Bailey is a candidate for the Conservatives, the same party that Britain's current Prime Minister Boris represents, and added he would "make sure London is ready to answer the call and host the Olympics again" if he is elected Mayor.

    Johnson was the Mayor of London when the city hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

    In response, Koike claimed it was "not appropriate to try to make it an issue in a Mayoral election".

    "A reason why this issue has attracted global attention is due to the cruise ship," Koike, referencing the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan which is thought to have 600 cases of the virus, said.

    "But the cruise ship’s nationality belongs to Britain.

    "I wish aspects like these would be well understood."


    More than 600 cases of the virus have been reported on the quarantined cruise ship ©Getty Images

    Two people on the cruise ship, which has been docked in Japan since February 3, have died from the virus so far.

    Tokyo 2020 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have insisted the Games will not be postponed or cancelled because of the virus, given the official title of COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO).

    John Coates, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020, claimed this week the organisation was "satisified" the event will be safe to attend.

    During a project review of Tokyo 2020 last week, Coates claimed the WHO had told the IOC there was no case for cancelling or postponing the Games.

    Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori has also remained defiant and blasted what he claimed were "irresponsible" rumours surrounding whether the Games would take place as planned.

    Koike claimed she does not foresee any changes to the schedule for the Games, which begin with the Olympics Opening Ceremony on July 24.

    "I think we are not yet reaching that point," Koike said.



    About the author
    Liam Morgan Senior chief reporter
    Since joining insidethegames.biz, in 2015 Liam Morgan has covered a variety of international multi-sport events and conferences, including the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympics. He also reported from the 2017 IOC Session in Lima and three editions of the FIFA Congress. He graduated from Southampton Solent University in 2014 with a BA First Class honours degree in Sports Journalism.
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  11. #146
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    Jimbo on point

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    If Covid-19 is still surging, I’m wondering if there will even BE a Tokyo Olympics
    And right after our discussion above, this gets posted.

    CORONAVIRUS 12:25 P.M.
    The Coronavirus Is Already Affecting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
    By Adam K. Raymond


    Masked spectators look on at the Olympic torch relay rehearsal in Tokyo. Photo: Du Xiaoyi/Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

    The opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is still five months away, and officials insist the Games will go on as planned, despite the global coronavirus panic. But the deadly and still-mysterious infection caused by the virus, known as COVID-19, has already begun to affect preparations for the Summer Games. Movement of athletes has been limited, qualifying events have been disrupted, and plans to train tens of thousands of volunteers have been postponed.

    In public, Japanese officials are doing everything they can to calm fears. “There are no considerations of canceling the Games, nor will the postponements of these activities have an impact on the overall Games preparation,” officials said Friday after training for Olympic volunteers in Tokyo was postponed. Training for the 80,000 volunteers has been pushed back to May in what officials called “part of efforts to prevent the spread of infection.”

    Japan has seen the fourth most cases of coronavirus, not counting the hundreds of cases aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Ahead of it are Italy, South Korea, and China, where the disease originated and at least 77,150 have been infected. The numbers in Japan could increase soon though. Last week, as passengers were allowed to leave the cruise ship, critics said the disorganization could lead to a spike in cases throughout the country.

    Already, coronavirus fears have led to the cancellation of high-profile public gatherings in Tokyo. Last week, participation in the Tokyo Marathon was restricted to only elite athletes, limiting the field to about 200.

    Next month, the Olympic torch is set to begin a four-month relay though Japan. Roughly 10,000 torchbearers are expected to carry the torch through all 47 of Japan’s prefectures. A dress rehearsal for the relay, held earlier this month, provided a glimpse of what the real thing looked like. As participants carried the torch, spectators lined the streets in masks.

    Even if the Tokyo Olympics go off as planned, and the summer heat quells the spread of the virus, as many hope, it will have made an impact on the Games. The preparation of some athletes, especially those in China, has already suffered, Reuters reports:

    At home, many of China’s Olympic hopefuls are confined to closed training bases, unable to venture abroad due to entry restrictions placed by countries to contain the virus that has killed more than 2,500 people in China.

    Overseas, a slew of China’s national teams remain in hastily arranged training camps scattered across the globe, unable to return home for fear of being swept up in virus-related travel restrictions.
    China’s gymnastics team was also kept from participating in a recent international competition in Australia due to travel restrictions, and China’s national women’s soccer team spent two weeks under quarantine in Brisbane.

    There are also emerging questions about how many people will be willing to travel to watch the Olympics. Coronavirus fears have led to a huge drop in tourism to Asia. Travelers from within China are staying put, and those from outside the region are wary to enter it. Olympic organizers are hoping five months is enough time to turn that trend around.
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  12. #147
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    If Tokyo is cancelled, this will be moot

    A Polish Olympian Aimed to Join Team U.S.A. Things Got Ugly.
    Aleksandra Shelton, a four-time Olympic fencer, grew frustrated by what she considered age and gender discrimination. But when she sought to compete for the United States, Polish officials stood in her way.


    Aleksandra Shelton is a former world and European champion.Credit...Mason Trinca for The New York Times

    By Jeré Longman
    Feb. 23, 2020

    As an 11-year-old in Poland, Aleksandra Shelton saw her mother competing in a fencing competition on television. Intrigued by the sport and the allure of also appearing on TV someday, she built a saber fencing career that far surpassed her mother’s aspirations.

    A decade later, Shelton won a bronze medal at the 2003 world championships. Then she took gold at the 2004 and 2008 European championships. She has competed in the past four Olympics for Poland. And she anticipated that this summer in Tokyo she would become only the fourth Polish woman — and about the 220th woman worldwide — to participate in five or more Games.

    But Shelton, a dual citizen who is married to an American serviceman, encountered what she said was age and gender discrimination from Polish fencing officials after the birth of her first child three years ago. So she made a desperate attempt at nation-switching, hoping to head to her fifth Games as an American. Poland, however, has blocked the change, trapping Shelton between the two countries, leaving her unable as of now to compete in Tokyo for either.

    Sandwiched by the heated politics of athletes’ rights and the baroque rules of Olympic eligibility, she is facing the sporting complications that can confront women who become mothers.

    “After every storm, there needs to be a sunny day,” Shelton, who turns 38 next month, said in a telephone interview. “But it’s been more than two years of heavy rain.”

    Shelton said Polish fencing officials began to reduce support for her once she became pregnant after the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She gave birth to a son in 2017.

    “She felt she was an expired product in their eyes,” said Carlos Sayao, Shelton’s Toronto-based lawyer.

    Frustrated, Shelton sought a different path to her fifth Olympics, and a chance to win an elusive first medal. She has competed as an American since January 2019. But here the story gets complicated.

    To prevent mass nation-hopping, athletes generally must wait three years after changing countries to compete in an Olympic Games, unless they receive a special waiver.


    Shelton has competed as an American since January 2019, but doing so in the Olympics is more complicated.
    Credit...Tibor Illyes/MTI, via Associated Press

    A year ago, the matter seemed all but resolved in Shelton’s favor before combusting in recrimination during the spring and summer. In September, the Polish Olympic Committee declined to grant her an exemption to compete in Tokyo as an American. And since she has already switched national affiliations once, she can’t compete for Poland anymore. The Polish Olympic Committee declined to comment for this article due to an ongoing legal process.

    Shelton has appealed her case to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, a kind of Supreme Court for international sports. No hearing date has been set, and time is growing short. The United States Olympic fencing team will be chosen in April.

    The case has received widespread attention in Poland, where the national federations that govern various sports operate with near-complete autonomy and can exert tremendous control over the careers of athletes.

    Internationally, the oversight of sports governing bodies has come under intense scrutiny, including in the United States, where recent sexual abuse scandals have rocked several sports, particularly gymnastics and figure skating. In Poland last fall, Witold Banka, a former sports minister, described the top management of the country’s sports federations as being “like a cancer that is destroying Polish sport.”

    Two top officials of the Polish fencing federation said in a joint email that they had not discarded Shelton after she gave birth, but instead had considered her the leader of the Polish women’s saber team heading toward the Tokyo Olympics.

    They expressed suspicion that her effort to compete for the United States was rooted in strategy, not unfair treatment, after Poland’s failure to win any medals at the 2018 world fencing championships. The officials — Ryszard Sobczak and Tadeusz Tomaszewski — called Shelton’s accusations “untrue and full of slander.”

    Shelton tells a different story. When she became pregnant, she said, Polish fencing officials prevented her from becoming the head saber coach at a prominent club in Warsaw. Their claim, she said, was that she lacked experience, even though she had competed in four Olympics.

    Her coach at the time acknowledged in an interview that pregnancy was “a factor” in the decision because the coaching post would have required frequent travel and increased demands on Shelton’s time.
    continued next post
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    Continued from previous post


    Shelton’s decision to pursue a switch of her national affiliation has cost her competitively and financially.
    Credit...Mason Trinca for The New York Times

    After Shelton gave birth, she said, the Polish fencing federation reneged on a promise to provide a physiotherapist to help her get back into competitive shape. Officials also declined, she said, to let her continue to train in Portland, Ore., a hub of American fencing, where Shelton has lived part time since 2010.

    While nothing was said to her face by fencing officials, Shelton said she heard indirectly from colleagues that the Polish federation felt “I am too old, I should stay at home.”

    Eventually, Shelton said, the Polish fencing federation seemed to sabotage her ability to continue competing for the Polish army team, causing her to lose her military retirement benefits. The federation strongly denied this, saying the army team remained available only to fencers still competing internationally for Poland. Broadly speaking, the federation officials wrote in their email that Shelton was attempting to “manipulate the facts to fit her narrative.”

    Despite recent struggles, Poland’s 22 Olympic fencing medals (19 won by men, 3 by women) rank seventh among competing nations. Individual and team competitions are held in épée, foil and saber events.

    “She is not in a shape that would allow her to compete in individual events, but in the United States she could compete as part of their team,” said Piotr Stroka, who coached Shelton in Warsaw and disagreed with her decision to pursue a nationality switch.

    Stroka dismissed claims of discrimination, saying that Polish female fencers are “perhaps treated even better than men.” In Shelton’s case, he said, the federation “did everything it could for her.”

    Yet it is not unusual for pregnant women in Olympic sports to find themselves in a disadvantaged position. Nike, for instance, faced withering criticism last year from American track stars sponsored by the company for reducing performance-based payments surrounding the period of childbirth. Facing a backlash, the sportswear giant amended its policy.

    In Poland, sports federations in general have also endured searing rebuke. Banka, the former Polish sports minister who is now president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, told a radio interviewer in November that federations there are often “managed by irresponsible people who run them in an unethical way.”


    Shelton in Portland, Ore., where she has trained part time since 2010.
    Credit...Mason Trinca for The New York Times

    After the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Sylwia Gruchala, a two-time Olympic fencing medalist for Poland, publicly said the country’s fencing federation was incompetent and did not sufficiently support its athletes. After agreeing to an interview for this article, she changed her mind, saying, “I have a good life now and don’t want to start a war.”

    Shelton’s case appeared on the verge of an amicable resolution early last year. U.S.A. Fencing and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee supported her in official requests to switch nationalities. The Polish fencing federation gave her a release for Olympic eligibility as an American. All she needed to become eligible for the Tokyo Games was a final waiver from the Polish Olympic Committee.

    But in March, Shelton, feeling exasperated by what she considered foot-dragging, publicly criticized the Polish fencing federation. Among other things, she questioned the ethics of requiring her to agree to pay 43,000 euros, nearly $47,000, in cash or fencing equipment to secure her release.

    The Polish federation said the payment was necessary to recover training costs it had incurred for Shelton since the 2016 Olympics. Otherwise, officials said, they would have essentially been subsidizing an American athlete. Hubert Radke, a Polish sports lawyer not involved in the case, said that Polish sports federations impose financial barriers and other regulations that frequently restrict the freedom of athletes. Ultimately, the payment agreement fell apart.

    Her comments infuriated Polish fencing officials, and they demanded an apology and threatened to sue Shelton. The fencing federation urged the Polish Olympic Committee not to grant her the release needed to compete for the United States in Tokyo. On Sept. 10, the committee complied. This month, the fencing federation said that Shelton’s behavior was “reprehensible and unworthy of an athlete.”

    Shelton said, “They just want to destroy me.”

    The uncertainty continues, fair or not.

    Radke, the independent sports lawyer, said the matter appeared black and white. “I don’t see any justified reasons to deny her right to compete.”



    Joanna Berendt contributed reporting from Warsaw.
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  14. #149
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    I'm wondering if, rather than outright cancelling it, if the Tokyo Olympics could be postponed maybe a year (or whenever this pandemic is stopped?). Or maybe that's somehow "impossible" and non-negotiable(?).

    There is a couple who are mentors to me who had been planning a trip to Tokyo this month (they have a contract to go there twice a year), and yesterday I was relieved to learn they cancelled their trip due to the coronavirus, and will be doing their teaching for the Tokyo company they are contracted with over Skype rather than in person.

  15. #150
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    Olympic torch ceremony downsized over coronavirus

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