Sports Olympic scandals march on long after torch goes out
Olympic sport of schmoozing eludes corporate sponsors
NEW YORK (AP) — Screaming fans won't be the only thing missing from this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo. Behind the scenes, there won't much schmoozing for corporate sponsors either, thanks to the pandemic. The corporate sponsorship program has been a key part of the Olympic experience since it began in 1985. More than a dozen or so names like Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble pay millions of dollars in each four-year cycle on sponsorship and marketing programs that includes wining and dining athletes, top employees and key clients at Olympic events. But all that networking opportunity has been undermined because of the virus.
TOKYO (AP) — From doping, to demonstrations to dirty officials, the Olympics have never lacked their share of off-the-field scandals and controversies that keep the Games in the headlines long after the torch goes out. The five-year gap since the last Summer Olympics has been no different. A brief look at some of the most notable news to hit the Olympic world since it last convened for the Summer Games.
SEX ABUSE — Larry Nassar's sexual abuse of hundreds of gymnasts in the U.S. opened a window into an abusive culture that permeates throughout the sport, and in all corners of the globe. Since Rio, the U.S. Safesport Center opened to investigate complaints about abuse in sports. It took the decision-making process of these cases out of the hands of organizations such as USA Gymnastics, which for years had been forced to pit members (gymnasts) against members (coaches) when abuse allegations arose. Other abuse allegations in, water polo and were among those that came to light in the United States, and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee rewrote its own by-laws to, in part, prioritize the mental and physical well-being of its athletes instead of the chase for Olympic medals.
Brisbane 2032: IOC confirms Brisbane as host of 2032 Summer Olympics, Paralympic Games
Australia will become just the fourth country to have hosted the Summer Olympic Games three or more times. Melbourne hosted the 1956 Games and Sydney was the host of the 2000 Games. The announcement was made at the 138th IOC Session in Tokyo ahead of the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, which officially begin Friday. In February, it was confirmed that Brisbane was the IOC's preferred bid for the 2032 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. This began targeted dialogue between the IOC executive and the Brisbane 2032 bid to thoroughly examine the proposed plan for the Games.
RUSSIA DOPING — In Rio, the IOC rejected a World Anti-Doping Agency recommendation to ban all Russian competitors from the Olympics, as punishment for a wide-ranging doping scheme the country designed to help its athletes dope without getting caught. As a result, around 270 Russians were permitted to compete in 2016. Possibly emboldened by the IOC move, Russia continued to cover up its misdeeds. In 2019, WADA investigators determined that Russia had manipulated 23 gigabytes of data that could have been used to pursue cases related to the original cheating. WADA suggested a four-year ban with heavy restrictions on which Russians could compete but the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The end result: Some 335 Russian athletes will compete in Tokyo, though not wearing team uniforms and not under the Russian flag. They will be officially competing as members of the “ROC” — Russian Olympic Committee. Only 10 of those athletes will be in track and field; that sport's governing body, whose former leaders enabled some of the cheating (see below), has since taken a much harder stance on the Russia case than most.
Oleksiak qualifies for freestyle swimming semis after pushing Ledecky for top spot
Fresh off winning a relay silver medal, Canada's Penny Oleksiak finished second behind reigning Olympic champion Katie Ledecky of the United States on Monday in qualifying for the women's 200-metre freestyle semifinals at Tokyo Aquatics Centre.The Toronto native finished second behind reigning Olympic champion Katie Ledecky of the United States on Monday in qualifying for the women's 200-metre freestyle semifinals at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
DOPING RULES — A spotlight shined on anti-doping rules that call on athletes to submit their whereabouts so they can be subjected to testing without notice. Reigning Olympic champions Christian Coleman and Brianna McNeal and world champion Salwa Eid Naser are among those missing the Olympics after being banned for violations of this rule. ... And only weeks before the start of the Olympics, thefor a positive marijuana test fueled a debate about whether that drug — not considered a performance enhancer and now legal in some parts of the globe — should be forbidden anymore.
WEIGHTLIFTING — Three of weightlifting's longtime leaders were charged with a number of offenses for a decade's worth of doping cover-ups and other crimes. The misconduct included 146 unresolved doping cases from 2009 through 2019. International federation's president, Tamás Aján, was ousted after a German documentary exposed the misdeeds. Weightlifting's status for 2024 is in jeopardy; the IOC is calling for reforms and wants to see the sport cleaned up.
Olympic viewing guide: Why Simone Biles didn't 'quit', and Penny swims for another record
Here's what to watch Wednesday night and Thursday morning, including Penny Oleksiak's attempt to make more Canadian history and some context to help understand why Simone Biles isn't competing in the women's all-around final.Canada's two best medal chances on Day 6 are also in women's events. We'll get to those in a minute, along with some other interesting news you need to know.
DEMONSTRATIONS — A summer of unrest and activism in the United States in 2020 forced the IOC and the USOPCon demonstrations at the Olympics. The USOPC, after months of meetings and negotiations, determined it would not sanction its athletes for violating , which has long disallowed protests and demonstrations inside the lines. Though the IOC recently relaxed the rule to allow some forms of demonstration near the starting line, the ban on the medals podium remains, setting up what could be a conflict at the Olympics.
SPORTS GOVERNANCE — The IOC stripped the International Boxing Association's Olympic status in the wake of an investigation in which the U.S. Treasury accused the organization's president of involvement in drug production and heroin trafficking. ... Influential Kuwaiti IOC member Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah is awaiting trial on a forgery charge linked to an alleged coup attempt. ... The former president of track's governing body, Lamine Diack, and other top officials were found guilty of corruption for covering up cases in the Russian doping scandal in exchange for bribes. ... Swimming's international federation (FINA) has been under the microscope for a number of reasons, including electing a leader who wasinvolving soccer's top body. FINA was also criticized for not coming down harshly enough on , whose own doping/testing case meandered through the sports legal system for several years; Yang will miss Tokyo but be eligible for the Paris Games in 2024.
More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics
Eddie Pells, The Associated Press
USWNT Olympic prize money: How much bonus money USA women's national soccer team stands to earn .
The U.S. women's national soccer team will have an added incentive to win the bronze medal against Australia in Thursday's Olympic third-place match: There is up to $76,000 on the line for each player.On top of the prize money awarded by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to athletes who medal, there is also a predetermined bonus as stipulated in the collective bargaining agreement between the players and the U.S. Soccer Federation. The CBA is set to expire at the end of 2021.