Australia

Australian Olympic Committee restricts travel for athletes in Sochi

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The Australian Olympic Committee has restricted its 60-member Winter Olympics team to travel on official Olympic transport between the Sochi venues and has advised them not to go outside security perimeters.

Today, team chef de mission Ian Chesterman outlined the new restrictions, which come after the AOC chose to follow advice from the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to exercise caution while in Sochi.

An AOC release says that Australian athletes have been limited to locations within the perimeters of the Olympic Park Precinct (Coastal Cluster), and the villages of Krasnaya Polyana, Esto-Sadok, and Rosa Khutor above the transport filter at Esto-Sadok. They will not be permitted to visit downtown Sochi or Adler.

“We know the International Olympic Committee has great confidence in the procedures and safety processes that have been put in place for these Games and we share that confidence,” Chesterman said in the release. “But we wanted to put some minor, but important, restrictions on our athlete movement during this period of time.”

He also added: “I don’t think it will detract from the experience because the highlights of these Games are the regions they can still go to. It’s where all the action will be.”

The travel restriction is the latest in a series of recent rulings by the AOC that include a partial ban on social media for their athletes in Sochi and the outlawing of intoxicated acts such as “swaying, staggering or falling down.”

The AOC had also set out earlier travel restrictions after a pair of suicide bombings killed 30 people in the Russian city of Volvograd in late December. Those involved making sure all of their athletes would travel to Sochi by air and that they would not train or compete elsewhere in Russia outside of Sochi.

Torah Bright to compete in record 3 snowboard events in Sochi

IOC expects decisions on Russian doping cases next month

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Investigators at the International Olympic Committee expect to have “a number” of doping cases involving Russians at the Sochi Olympics resolved by the end of November, but they have no plans to dictate the eligibility of these athletes for next year’s Winter Games in PyeongChang.

The leader of an IOC delegation in charge of reviewing 28 cases involving athletes at Sochi wrote to the head of the IOC Athletes Commission this week to update the timeline of cases stemming from a report detailing a Russian doping scheme at the 2014 Olympics and beforehand.

Denis Oswald said that of the cases his committee is reviewing, priority has been given to those involving athletes looking to compete in PyeongChang. Top priority goes to six cross-country skiers whose provisional suspensions expire Oct. 31.

Oswald also said his committee would rule on these athletes’ results for Sochi, but will not determine their eligibility for PyeongChang, instead handing over evidence to their respective sports federations to decide.

The IOC also appointed a task force to look at the Russian doping scandal as a whole, the results of which could have wider repercussions on the country’s eligibility at next year’s Olympics.

In a separate letter sent to worldwide sports leaders, IOC President Thomas Bach said only that the Schmid Commission is continuing its evaluation and that “I hope that the IOC Executive Board will still be able to take a decision this year because none of us want this serious issue to overshadow” the upcoming Olympics.

The updates come amid a growing chorus of calls for a timely decision and for Russia’s ouster from PyeongChang.

The IOC commissions are operating off information from the McLaren Report, the first part of which was released in July 2016.

In explaining the timeline, Oswald wrote that because the Russian scheme involved exchanging dirty urine samples with clean ones, it took time to adopt methods to verify that samples had been tampered with — in part by finding evidence of scratch marks on collection bottles that had been opened and re-sealed.

“The task has not been easy in both establishing a methodology in an area in which there are no established protocols,” he wrote, “and then moving through the necessary scientific analysis of each individual sample in a way which would withstand legal challenge.”

MORE: USOC boss calls for immediate action on Russian doping

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Two-time Olympian becomes first woman to lead U.S. national swim team

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Two-time Olympian Lindsay Mintenko has been picked to lead the U.S. national swimming team. She is the first woman to hold the title.

USA Swimming made the announcement Wednesday.

Mintenko replaces Frank Busch, who retired Oct. 1 as managing director. She has been a member of the national team staff since 2006.

During her swimming career, Mintenko won gold medals as a U.S. team captain at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics 800m freestyle relay and added a silver in 2004 on the 400m freestyle relay.

USA Swimming also announced an organizational restructuring that will place all technical divisions, including the national team, under the oversight of chief operating officer Mike Unger.

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