Wrestling meet renamed for Newtown victim

Leave a comment

USA Wrestling announced Thursday that the Kiki Cup, an international Greco-Roman meet held in Colorado Springs each year, will be renamed the Jack Pinto Cup in honor of the 6-year-old wrestler killed during the Newtown shootings last month.

National coach Steve Fraser had first heard about Jack’s enthusiasm for the sport, and his “toughness,” in a newspaper story he read following the events, and felt the honor was more than appropriate.

“This young boy’s tough, matter-of-fact attitude is the essence of what the sport of wrestling is all about,” Fraser said. “The incredible loss of Jack Pinto and the others in this senseless tragedy will haunt us as we try and figure out why.

“Our hope is to honor Jack, his family and the others victims by naming this tough international Greco-Roman Olympic-style wrestling competition in his name. This is a reminder of how precious life really is.”

Christina “Kiki” Kelley, a sponsor whom the event was previously named after, has her own 7-year-old at home and called it a privilege to rename event after someone who had such a passion for the sport.

The Pinto family said they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity and support from the wrestling community, and now consider themselves a part of the wrestling family.

What to watch at Drake Relays, Penn Relays

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Olympic gold medalists ramp up their track and field seasons at the Penn Relays and Drake Relays, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.

Athletes are working toward the U.S. Championships in June and the world championships in August.

First, the historic Penn Relays will air on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Friday (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-3 p.m. ET).

USA vs. The World in men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays will air live on Saturday from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. A full schedule is here.

The U.S. teams are led by Olympic relay champions English Gardner and Natasha Hastings. The full roster is here.

Rio Olympic rematches highlight the individual-event fields at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 3-5 p.m ET on Saturday. A full schedule is here.

Perhaps no field is deeper than the 100m hurdles. World-record holder Keni Harrison takes on Rio silver and bronze medalists Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, plus 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.

The 110m hurdles contingent is strong as well. It features the last two Olympic champions, Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt, plus 2013 World champion David Oliver.

Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, who earned silver and bronze in Rio, go head-to-head again in the 400m at Drake.

The men’s 1500m is headlined by Rio Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and London Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano.

Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson races individually for the first time this year in the women’s 1500m.

That field also includes New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, who gained fame of her own in Rio. Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino fell in an Olympic 5000m heat and helped each other make it to the finish line. Both were praised for their sportsmanship.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Another Russian medal from 2008 Olympics stripped

IOC president unsure whether esports should be considered sport

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Esports are gaining momentum in the international sports movement, but they are not close to becoming an Olympic sport.

“We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” IOC president Thomas Bach said Tuesday, according to insidethegames. “We do not see an organization or a structure that will give us confidence, or guarantee, that in this area the Olympic rules and values of sport are respected and in place, and that the implementation of these rules are monitored and secured.”

The first clear step (of many) to become an Olympic sport is for the IOC to recognize the sport’s international governing body.

Esports will be added as a medal sport to the Asian Games in 2022, and has been praised by LA 2024 Olympic bid chairman Casey Wasserman, but it is not yet IOC recognized.

“We are watching it, we see the differences, we see the lack of organisation,” Bach said, according to the report. “But we also see the high engagement of youth in esports. Therefore, we have to carefully consider how this could be consolidated.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Chess deserves Olympic priority over esports, World Chess CEO says