Thomas Bach calls for “flexibility” in Olympics program

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With the recent recommendation to remove wrestling from the Olympics, and squash and baseball/softball possibly sitting on the sidelines again, IOC Presidential Candidate Thomas Bach is asking for some “flexibility” regarding which sports are included in the Olympics program.

He submitted his official 15-page manifesto, titled “Unity in Diversity,” to IOC members Wednesday. In it, he details a platform that includes the restructuring of the IOC, and a new look at the Olympics program that focuses on disciplines.

“The composition of the Olympic program is like a jigsaw puzzle: You cannot simply replace some pieces with others, because you may destroy the harmony of the whole picture,” Bach wrote in the document obtained by the AP. “We should allow ourselves some flexibility with regard to the program.”

Bach, who won fencing gold at the 1976 Games, also mentions the creation of an Olympic Television Network, a stronger anti-doping policy, and a review of the host city bidding process.

“The IOC president serves this orchestra as a conductor,” Bach added. “I will do my very best to conduct the IOC in this way of participation, dialogue, consensus and motivation.”

Bach is considered the frontrunner for the position, but is up against IOC VP Ng Ser Miang of Singapore, IOC Finance Commission chair Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, AIBA head C.K. Wu of Taiwan, and IOC members Denis Oswald of Switzerland and Sergei Bubka of Ukraine.

Caitlyn Jenner: Olympic decathlon title one half of ‘ultimate double’

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Caitlyn Jenner says she has ultimate double — winning the 1976 Olympic decathlon and 2015 Glamour “Woman of the Year.”

Jenner sat down with Seth Meyers for an interview during a media tour for her memoir, “The Secrets of My Life,” which was released Wednesday.

She briefly mentioned her Olympic experience, winning the Montreal 1976 decathlon.

Jenner related it to her current work within the transgender community, one that she said is marginalized and misunderstood with high murder and suicide rates.

“What I’m doing today is mort important than winning the Games more than 40 years ago,” Jenner said.

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Syria-born Olympian takes advocacy role at U.N. refugee agency

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GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency has chosen as a goodwill ambassador a Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees and later became an Olympic swimmer.

Yusra Mardini was appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador on Thursday, joining other notables like actress Cate Blanchett and author Khaled Hosseini in the unpaid advocacy role.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said Mardini “represents the hopes, the fears and the incredible potential of the more than 10 million young refugees around the globe.”

Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped overboard and swam for hours alongside their overloaded boat to reach Greece from Turkey in 2015.

She swam on the first Refugee Olympic team in Rio last year and has discussed refugees’ challenges with leaders like Pope Francis and President Barack Obama.

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