Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The search for a new U.S. gymnastics captain

3 Comments

The eight year de facto U.S. gymnastics team captain, Alicia Sacramone, announced her retirement from the sport late last month, and so this post started as a tear-stained, high school diary entry. But that didn’t seem totally appropriate. Instead I’ve decided to be positive, kind of, and pick who might be the next Alicia. Unfortunately Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, who took charge of the role while Alicia was out with an Achilles injury, isn’t in the picture for 2013 and hasn’t announced any future intentions to continue in the sport. So we have cross her off for now. Who’s next?

1. Jordyn Wieber – Wieber seems like the obvious choice. She’s mentally tough and physically dependable. She showed strength of character by putting her personal disappointment aside and coming through big time to help her team clench gold in the Olympic team final. Sounds like leadership material to me. She’ll be one of the most experienced, and most decorated seniors going into the 2013 season.

2. Elizabeth Price – Ebee was phenomenal at Olympic Trials. Still a little green, she was just short of making the team and settled for alternate. Since then she’s been on fire winning two world cup all-around titles and gaining valuable international experience. Ebee has the respect of the other elite gymnasts and in time could grow into a team leader with her positive outlook and powerful presence.

3. Mckalya Maroney – Maroney recently revealed she’s, “not done” and that she’d like to compete at the 2013 national championships and make the world team. She’s admitted that it’s a long shot due to her 2012 surgery following a tour related injury, but that doesn’t mean she can’t contribute leadership. Maroney only competed one event for team USA in London, but she was by far the biggest cheerleader for the entire team on the sidelines. Plus, she has that natural leadership swagger.

4. Rebecca Bross – No word yet from Bross on retirement (which is a good thing). Touted as the future of USA gymnastics in 2009, Bross had a meltdown at the U.S. Trials and failed to the make the team as an event specialist. Yet, she’s the most decorated world championship gymnast of the last four years (six world medals) and having seen both great success and great disappointment she has the right perspective that makes a great leader. Bross has been there and could be trusted to help lift a team up. She gets my vote.

Who gets yours?

2020 Tokyo Olympics: A look at rising costs

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - SEPTEMBER 07:  International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge pulls out the name of the city of Tokyo elected to host the 2020 Summer Olympics during a session of the IOC in Buenos Aires, on September 7, 2013.   (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini /Pool/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

TOKYO (AP) — An expert panel set up by Tokyo’s newly elected governor says the price tag of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could exceed $30 billion unless drastic cost-cutting measures are taken. That’s more than a four-fold increase from the initial estimate at the time Tokyo was awarded the games in 2013.

Following is a breakdown of the panel’s projected costs by category. Original bid estimates have been included when available.

NATIONAL STADIUM

The building of the new national stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies and track and field, has been plagued by a series of problems. An earlier design by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid had risen to $2.65 billion, more than twice the original forecast. The Japanese government decided to scrap that plan and, on Friday, approved a new stadium project totaling nearly $1.5 billion. Officials say construction will begin in December and be completed by November 2019.

OLYMPIC VILLAGE

Located on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay, the panel estimates the cost at $954 million. The village is being built by a private consortium and will be rented during the games. The plan is to transform the village into a residential area after the games.

TEMPORARY VENUES

Organizers plan to build seven temporary venues for sports such as beach volleyball, triathlon and gymnastics. In July, the organizing committee acknowledged the cost of building those venues had surged to an estimated $2.6 billion, up from an initial estimate of $800 million.

PERMANENT VENUES

Tokyo plans to build seven new permanent venues to go along with 19 existing venues. The panel estimates the cost of the seven new permanent facilities at $2.24 billion. However, it has proposed using existing facilities for three sports – volleyball, swimming, rowing and canoe sprint – instead of building new permanent venues. The canoeing venue could move to Tome City in Miyagi prefecture, about 440 kilometers (270 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

“SOFT” COSTS (security, transportation, operating fees, etc.)

Based on estimates from the 2012 London Olympics, the panel suggests these costs could be as much as $16 billion, including $2 billion for transportation, $3 billion for security, $6 billion for energy and technology, and $5 billion for operating costs.

OTHER

The breakdown does not take into consideration unforeseen costs. The panel said these could arise from earthquake prevention measures and the possibility that additional venues may be moved outside of Tokyo, increasing transportation and security costs. Tokyo organizers are also looking at measures to counter the extreme heat in Tokyo and the panel took those potential costs into consideration when it came up with the estimate of $30 billion.

TOTAL COST:

Bid estimate: $7.3 billion.

Panel estimate: $30 billion.

MORE: Tokyo Olympics costs could top $30 billion, experts warn

WADA releases list of prohibited substances

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 18 : Craig Reedie WADA President speaks to delegates at the IWGA Council meeting during the second day of the SportAccord Convention at the SwissTech Convention Centre on April 18, 2016 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

MONTREAL (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency has released its 2017 list of prohibited substances for athletes, adding a drug used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and eating disorders to its catalog of banned stimulants.

The substance, known chemically as lisdexamfetamine, is part of a family of drugs that stimulate the central nervous system.

Other substances used to treat ADHD, including methylphenidate, were already on WADA’s prohibited list as specified stimulants, meaning they can’t be used by athletes without a prior therapeutic use exemption.

Nicomorphine, an opioid analgesic drug available in parts of Europe and which is converted to morphine following administration, was added to the list of banned narcotics.

WADA noted in the list it released early Friday that it was putting Codeine on its monitoring program so that researchers could establish patterns of use for possible performance-enhancement.

“All athletes around the world are held to these standards and there can be no tolerance for people who intentionally break the rules,” WADA President Craig Reedie said in a statement. “Updated annually, the list is released three months ahead of taking effect so that all stakeholders – in particular athletes and their entourage – have ample time to familiarize themselves with the list and its modifications.”

The most-discussed addition in 2016 remained on the prohibited substance list for next year.

Meldonium was added to the list from last Jan. 1 and resulted in a two-year ban for Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, who was among hundreds of athletes who tested positive at the start of the year in results that forced WADA to conduct more research on the substance and extend “no fault findings” to athletes who tested positive for low concentrations of the drug.

Sharapova tested positive for the endurance-boosting drug at the Australian Open in Melbourne in January and is appealing her ban.

The Latvian-made drug was used in parts of eastern Europe to treat heart conditions but was not approved for use in the United States. It increases blood flow, which improves exercise capacity by carrying more oxygen to the muscles. There is significant debate among doping experts over whether meldonium, also known as mildronate, actually enhances performance.

WADA director general Olivier Niggli said the latest list was published after nine months of reviews.

“Experts examine such sources as: scientific and medical research; trends; and, intelligence gathered from law enforcement and pharmaceutical companies in order to stay ahead of those that wish to cheat,” Niggli said. “It is vital that all athletes take the necessary time to consult the list; and that they contact their respective anti-doping organizations if they have any doubts as to the status of a substance or method.”

MORE: False clues make it tough to find WADA hackers