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.

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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Olympic ice dance figure skating preview

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While Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir already have a gold medal in PyeongChang from the team event, they’re back to regain their 2010 Olympic ice dance title.

The short dance is Sunday, February 18 in Primetime on NBC and NBCOlympics.com and the free dance is Monday, February 19 in Primetime on NBC and NBCOlympics.com.

Here are some names to know before the event kicks off:

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, Team USA

Credentials: Reigning U.S. national champions, first Olympic appearance is 2018

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, Team USA

Credentials: Three-time Worlds medalists, two-time U.S. national champions, 2014 Olympians, 2017 Grand Prix Final bronze medalists

Madison Chock and Evan Bates, Team USA
Buzz about Chock and Bates: They’re a couple on and off the ice, and say that’s given a new perspective to their athletic careers. They weren’t a couple when they competed together at the 2014 Olympics, so they believe this experience will be all the more special for it.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Canada
Credentials: 2010 Olympic champions, two-time Sochi 2014 silver medalists, three-time world champions, eight-time Canadian national champions.

Read the full ice dance preview here and watch figure skating highlights and streams