Update on the latest in sports:
USOPC relying on facts and planning to deal with coronavirus
DENVER (AP) – Managers at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee have coronavirus on their minds. They’ve been gathering information from the individual sports, trying to figure out what events are being affected and what others could be in the future.
With the Tokyo Games set for July, the USOPC insists there are no backup plans being made. But the information is good to have with the Olympic qualifying season gearing up. For instance, six athletes will punch their ticket to Tokyo on Saturday at the U.S. marathon trials.
USOPC Chief of Sport Performance Rick Adams says in addition to collecting the logistical information, the federation is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security to get every update about coronavirus, how it is spreading and what can be done to avoid it.
The Olympics open on July 24, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 25.
Bach tries to boost Olympic morale in Japan, speaks to media
TOKYO (AP) – IOC President Thomas Bach has given an interview to Japan’s main media outlets to assure people that the Tokyo Olympics will go on as scheduled.
Bach was responding to comments made earlier in the week by International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound in an interview with The Associated Press. Pound said a decision on going forward with the Tokyo Olympics would need to be made by the end of May. He suggested cancellation as a possibility. Australian IOC member John Coates made similar comments. Both are former IOC vice presidents.
Atlanta’s Olympic cauldron to be relit for marathon trial
ATLANTA (AP) – The Olympic cauldron used in the 1996 Games in Atlanta is scheduled to be publicly lit for the first time in more than two decades on Saturday.
News outlets report Georgia State University announced the cauldron will be lit for the Olympic marathon trial. The course weaves through some of Atlanta’s most historic neighborhoods.
The race is expected to determine who will represent the United States in the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The cauldron was lit by boxing great Muhammad Ali during the opening ceremonies in 1996. It will be reignited Saturday by Georgia State University Athletics Director Charlie Cobb.
CAS-SUN YANG APPEAL
Olympic champion Sun Yang banned for 8 years in doping case
GENEVA (AP) – China’s greatest swimmer has been banned for eight years for breaking anti-doping rules and will miss the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport found three-time Olympic champion Sun Yang guilty Friday of refusing to cooperate with sample collectors during a visit to his home in September 2018, when a blood sample container was smashed with a hammer.
In a unanimous verdict, the CAS panel of three judges found that Sun “failed to establish that he had a compelling justification to destroy his sample collection containers and forego the doping control when, in his opinion, the collection protocol was not in compliance.”
The 6-foot, 7-inch Sun, the first Chinese swimmer to win Olympic gold, has long been a polarizing figure in the pool. Rivals branded him a drug cheat at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and two competitors refused to stand with him on medal podiums at the 2019 world championships.
Now banned until February 2028, the 28-year-old Sun cannot defend his 200-meter freestyle title in Tokyo.
Sun can appeal to Switzerland’s supreme court, but on narrow procedural grounds. His lawyers have already had three federal appeals dismissed on legal process issues.
FOREVER CHEMICALS-SKI WAX
Ski racing community starts to back away from toxic wax
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – At ski races across the United States, competitors are starting to abandon a type of wax many count on for speed amid concerns it contains toxic chemicals that threatens human health and could reach streams and other critical groundwater sources.
The International Ski Federation, the governing body for international skiing, announced plans to ban the use of fluorinated waxes in all disciplines next season.
These waxes contain substances known as PFAS. They are commonplace in the environment and have been linked to a growing list of health problems.
Nordiq Canada, the governing body for cross country skiing in Canada, also prohibited high and medium fluorinated waxes in most cross-country races this season. The Norwegian Ski Association, meanwhile, banned the use of fluorinated glide wax – used in both classic and skate skiing – for all athletes under age 16 two years ago. That leaves skiers to use hydrocarbon waxes on their skis.
While coaches say they are ready for a ban, until the FIS rules go into effect, the waxes still will be used in national races and they worry about how the FIS ban will be enforced.
HEALING WITH BASKETBALL
After traumatic year, Ohio city rallies around hoops team
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) – Trey Landers survived one of his hometown’s worst moments. Now he’s contributing to one of its best.
The senior guard has helped lead the University of Dayton basketball team to its best start ever at 26-2 and to No. 4 in the current Associated Press poll, its highest ranking in 64 years.
In the early morning hours of Aug. 4, a gunman opened fire in the city’s Oregon entertainment district. He killed nine people in 32 seconds before police shot and killed him, stopping him from getting into the crowded Ned Peppers nightclub. Landers had arrived there with two friends just minutes earlier. They heard the volley of gunshots, and a panicked mass rushed into the club’s rear where they were. Landers ran out and hopped a fence.
As the city started a healing process, Mayor Nan Whaley, a UD alum, adopted a slogan: “We’re going to get through the winter with the Flyers.” But she never expected just how spirit-lifting the team would be in a hometown in need of healing.