Boxing organizations don’t want pros in the Olympics

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A new rule set in place by the International Boxing Association that would allow pros with fewer than fifteen bouts on their records to compete in the upcoming Olympics is in jeopardy after protests from boxing organizations and promoters.

Now North American Boxing Federation President Joseph Dwyer is getting into the fight, and said his organization supports the protests against the AIBA. He believes allowing pros in the Olympics would put amateurs from underdeveloped countries at a dangerous disadvantage.

“In boxing, athletes punch each other and might get hurt if a non-experienced boxer is fighting against a professional…” Dwyer said. “We respectfully but strongly request AIBA not to proceed to his ruling, and the IOC not to accept it for the fatalities that might occur.”

The European Boxing Union has also been vocal about their distaste for the rule, using similar arguments regarding violence to suggest that the AIBA is trying to “force professionalism into the Olympic Games.” Of course, we’re not talking about anyone jumping into the ring with Mike Tyson. Again, rules state that the “pro” must be on the AIBA’s own circuit and have fewer than fifteen bouts on his record to compete.

AIBA President Wu Ching-kuo hoped the rule would help young boxers earn salaries and prize money so they’re not immediately lured away by the promises of agents and promoters. The AIBA is also doing away with headgear and changing the controversial punch-count scoring system to make the event safer and more professional, which might encourage amateurs to compete in the Games.

No NHL players means more mistakes and goals at Olympics

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Hockey is a game of mistakes and it’s on display in fine form at the Olympics.

It doesn’t look beautiful, of course, with players all outside the NHL turning the puck over for point-blank scoring chances or leaving opponents wide open in front. The talent level is lower, so the risk factors and the entertainment level are up. Goaltenders have to be on their toes for unexpected, game-saving stops even more than usual.

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“It’s a short tournament: A few mistakes can decide your fate,” Finland goaltender Karri Ramo said Saturday. “You try to create more than carry it out of the zone, so obviously teams are trying to keep the puck and create scoring chances, so those mistakes happen. You’re not going to win if you play safe.”

There’s not a whole lot of safe, low-risk play so far, and scoring has increased as a result. After each team played twice, games were averaging 5.1 goals, up from 4.7 in Sochi with NHL players on the rosters.

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Ligety exits quietly, Hirscher brilliant again

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Marcel Hirscher, the Austrian ski god, is finally having his moment. King of the World Cup tour for the past seven seasons, on Sunday Hirscher won his second Olympic gold, in the giant slalom.

Hirscher had won a grand total of no Olympic medals, nada, zip, zero in two prior Games. Now he might — could, should — win three here at PyeongChang. The slalom, another Hirscher specialty, is due to be run Thursday.

To watch Hirscher ski is to watch one of the great athletes of our — or any — time. Like being courtside in Chicago to see Michael Jordan back in the day. At Wimbledon for a Roger Federer volley. At the Water Cube in Beijing in 2008 when Michael Phelps was swimming the butterfly.

In Sunday’s race, Kristoffersen finished second, 1.27 seconds back of Hirscher. Pinturault finished third, 1.31 behind.

American racer Ted Ligety used to own this event: the Sochi 2014 giant slalom gold medalist, he was world champion in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Pinturault took Sochi 2014 bronze.

Considering his relatively low slalom ranking and the pounding that slalom demands, Sunday’s GS was — just like that, that quickly, that quietly — likely the final race of Ligety’s outstanding Olympic career.

“This is probably it for me at these Games,” he said after run two, adding that he is planning to head back to Europe, to race the remainder of the World Cup season.

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