James Magnussen

Australia cuts swimming, track budgets

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The Australian Sports Commission is cutting 5.8 percent out of the national swimming program’s 2013-14 after their worst Olympic showing in two decades and a scandal involving banned sleeping pills and other “toxic incidents.”

The cuts are in-line with the ASC’s ten year Winning Edge plan, which aims to make Australia a top-five team at every Summer Games, top-15 at every Winter Games, and twenty annual world champions throughout all events.

“There will always be winners and losers under the new strategy but we fully support Winning Edge and its goals,” AOC chief John Coates said. “Sports are now more accountable and they are not only judged on performance, but governance.”

The swim team is still the most funded program, with $8.41 million, but will now be more carefully monitored by the AOC. The track and field budget also took a small hit of 3.8 percent, as sailing, canoeing, water polo, and the entire Paralympic team enjoyed large budget increases.

“Our investment decisions were based on a set of principles that assessed sports ability to provide sound evidence that they can contribute to the [Winning Edge] targets,” ASC chair John Wylie said.

“We have also asked that sports be more accountable for best practice governance and commercial performance under our investment approach.”

Jim Craig: Minor changes, but no hesitation, in second ‘Miracle’ sale

Jim Craig
AP
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It has been 300 days since Jim Craig first announced he would sell a bundle of his “Miracle on Ice” memorabilia, including his gold medal, for $5.7 million.

They didn’t sell last year. So he took most of the items in the original bundle and is splitting them up in an auction that runs though June 17.

On Tuesday, Craig said he had no thoughts about keeping the most precious items in the 10 months in between sales.

“We wanted to sell an entire collection to a person that would have the financial means to be able to display it, hopefully that everybody would be able to come and enjoy it like they have the last 35 years,” Craig said. “It’s a lot better than being tucked in a closet.”

There are a few items from the original bundle that Craig decided not to auction this time around — a 1980 Sports Illustrated Sportsmen of the Year trophy, two watches that he gave to his kids and an Olympic ring.

VIDEO: Which Miracle item is toughest for Craig to sell?

Christie Rampone not at fitness level to compete for Olympic spot

Christie Rampone
Getty Images
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Christie Rampone, the 40-year-old captain of the 2015 U.S. Women’s World Cup team, has yet to return to full fitness after December knee surgery and pulled out of a U.S. camp ahead of two pre-Olympic friendlies in June.

Her bid for a fifth Olympics, and to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player of all time, is in danger.

The camp begins Friday. The friendlies against rival Japan (which failed to qualify for Rio) are June 2 and June 5.

“I don’t feel 100 percent healthy enough to train and compete at that level,” Rampone said in a press release Tuesday. “I’ve been able to manage myself and contribute to Sky Blue [her club team] this season, which I will continue to do, but I also have an understanding of the level of fitness and health needed to push for an Olympic roster spot, and I know I’m not there right now. It’s not the right choice for myself or the team to put myself in that environment.”

Rampone, a defender, hasn’t played for the U.S. since her December arthroscopic knee surgery. At the 2015 Women’s World Cup, she played a total of 14 minutes.

The U.S. national team is currently without nine players from the 23-player World Cup team, though some are expected back for the Olympics, but only one of the missing other than Rampone is a defender (the retired Lori Chalupny).

The U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team for London was named in May 2012, but the Rio roster of 18 players is expected to be announced by early July.

VIDEO: Hope Solo ‘begrudgingly’ going to Rio Olympics