John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Wrestling officials implement significant rules changes at Moscow meeting

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FILA, wrestling’s governing body, is spending the weekend in Moscow cleaning house before an upcoming IOC vote will determine if they end up on the 2020 Olympics schedule. And apparently the meeting has been productive.

On Saturday, acting president Nenad Lalovic, who took over after the forced resignation of president Raphael Martinetti, was officially elected to the position by an extraordinary congress. The FILA bureau also discussed many rules changes that will make the sport more attractive to the IOC.

Significant shifts by FILA Saturday include changing the round format from three two-minute periods to two three-minute periods, and changing to a cumulative scoring system rather than a system where a wrestler has to outscore their opponent in two-out-of-three rounds.

“Cumulative score incentivizes the wrestlers to score more often and consistently…” FILA vice president Stan Dziedzic told the Associated Press Saturday.

“The total score is easier for the spectators to understand. It’s difficult for a spectator, not to mention the athletes, when one wrestler wins the first period 5-0, loses the next two periods 1-0 and loses the match.

“The common view was that two minutes was not sufficient time to execute the requisite tactics and strategies to provide an exciting match. What’s more, it deprives the viewing audience of witnessing the will of the wrestler.”

Another rule penalizes passive wrestlers who may be avoiding contact when they’re in the lead, first with a warning, and then, on second offense, with the mandate they score a point within thirty seconds. Otherwise their opponent is awarded a point. Dziedzic said this is a way to incentivize wrestlers to take more risks in the ring, which will likely make wrestling more entertaining to novice fans.

Many wondered if such significant changes could be adapted immediately. But FILA seems to be open to expediting the process if it means strengthening their position before the IOC executive board chooses which three candidate sports will be voted on by the full membership this September.

No word on FILA giving women a stronger voice in the organization, but those changes are also expected to happen before the IOC votes later this month.

WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET

Fenway Big Air
Fenway Big Air
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Fenway Park will host some of the world’s best snowboarders in the one-of-a-kind Big Air at Fenway, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra on Thursday night.

Snowboard big air riders will descend from a jump that’s four times higher than the Green Monster inside the hallowed Boston Red Sox home.

The finalists include U.S. Olympic slopestyle champion Sage Kotsenburg and women’s Winter X Games champion Spencer O’Brien of Canada. U.S. Olympic slopestyle champion Jamie Anderson was eliminated in earlier qualifying.

Snowboard big air, like slopestyle except riders get one jump per run, will debut at the Olympics at Pyeongchang 2018.

WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET

Big Air at Fenway continues with ski big air Friday at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN and Live Extra.

World Anti-Doping Agency investigates Kenya

Kenya
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The World Anti-Doping Agency says Kenya is being investigated for breaching the global anti-doping code.

WADA says an independent compliance review committee will now evaluate Kenya and make a recommendation to WADA’s board on whether the country should be declared non-compliant with the code.

WADA says it asked Kenyan authorities to show commitment to setting up a national anti-doping agency, but “we have not yet received the details nor the assurances we need from Kenya and, therefore, this is now a matter for our independent compliance process.”

Although being declared non-compliant is unlikely to bring sanctions for athletes, it would be another embarrassment for the East African country, which is under severe scrutiny for its doping record.

WADA expects a decision on Kenya’s status in a few weeks.

MORE: Kenya banned athletes allege doping bribery