“Splash” is soaked in Olympic glory

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ABC’s “Splash” is off and flopping… in a good way, of course. With its blend of semi-celebrities sharing their personal lives and awkwardly embracing the law of gravity in their best swim attire – and hosted by an orange-haired Joey Lawrence doing his best Ryan Seacrest, it’s exactly what you probably expected. Except who knew there would be so many Olympians on it?

David Boudia, fresh off of winning gold in the 10-meter men’s diving at the London Games, is one of two judges on the show. His fresh-faced, friendly approach to judging makes him the good cop to former Australian Olympian and current performance director for USA Diving, Steve Foley, who is a little less forgiving in his critiques.

A surprise addition was soccer star Brandi Chastain, who stepped in as a replacement for Chuy Bravo, Chelsea Handler’s late-night co-host, who apparently broke his heel goofing off during taping of the first episode. Not surprisingly, three-time Olympic medal winner Chastain had a strong first performance; Boudia and Foley applauded her hurdle approach to her initial dive — the first such approach of the competition — and graded her accordingly. She went on to eliminate Detroit Lions’ defensive tackle Ndamakong Suh in a dive-off, outshining the giant man with her crisply executed inward dive.

But the biggest Olympic name of all on the show? Four-time gold medalist Greg Louganis, who is training the athletes. He’s about as good as it gets, unless you’re Kendra Wilkinson, in which case you storm out of practice after your legendary coach accuses you of faking a fear of heights — for the cameras.

We hope next week’s episode has a little less drama and a couple more cannonballs. And Tom Hanks.

IOC expects decisions on Russian doping cases next month

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Investigators at the International Olympic Committee expect to have “a number” of doping cases involving Russians at the Sochi Olympics resolved by the end of November, but they have no plans to dictate the eligibility of these athletes for next year’s Winter Games in PyeongChang.

The leader of an IOC delegation in charge of reviewing 28 cases involving athletes at Sochi wrote to the head of the IOC Athletes Commission this week to update the timeline of cases stemming from a report detailing a Russian doping scheme at the 2014 Olympics and beforehand.

Denis Oswald said that of the cases his committee is reviewing, priority has been given to those involving athletes looking to compete in PyeongChang. Top priority goes to six cross-country skiers whose provisional suspensions expire Oct. 31.

Oswald also said his committee would rule on these athletes’ results for Sochi, but will not determine their eligibility for PyeongChang, instead handing over evidence to their respective sports federations to decide.

The IOC also appointed a task force to look at the Russian doping scandal as a whole, the results of which could have wider repercussions on the country’s eligibility at next year’s Olympics.

In a separate letter sent to worldwide sports leaders, IOC President Thomas Bach said only that the Schmid Commission is continuing its evaluation and that “I hope that the IOC Executive Board will still be able to take a decision this year because none of us want this serious issue to overshadow” the upcoming Olympics.

The updates come amid a growing chorus of calls for a timely decision and for Russia’s ouster from PyeongChang.

The IOC commissions are operating off information from the McLaren Report, the first part of which was released in July 2016.

In explaining the timeline, Oswald wrote that because the Russian scheme involved exchanging dirty urine samples with clean ones, it took time to adopt methods to verify that samples had been tampered with — in part by finding evidence of scratch marks on collection bottles that had been opened and re-sealed.

“The task has not been easy in both establishing a methodology in an area in which there are no established protocols,” he wrote, “and then moving through the necessary scientific analysis of each individual sample in a way which would withstand legal challenge.”

MORE: USOC boss calls for immediate action on Russian doping

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Two-time Olympian becomes first woman to lead U.S. national swim team

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Two-time Olympian Lindsay Mintenko has been picked to lead the U.S. national swimming team. She is the first woman to hold the title.

USA Swimming made the announcement Wednesday.

Mintenko replaces Frank Busch, who retired Oct. 1 as managing director. She has been a member of the national team staff since 2006.

During her swimming career, Mintenko won gold medals as a U.S. team captain at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics 800m freestyle relay and added a silver in 2004 on the 400m freestyle relay.

USA Swimming also announced an organizational restructuring that will place all technical divisions, including the national team, under the oversight of chief operating officer Mike Unger.

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