IOC official: Brazil’s World Cup points to success for Rio 2016

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Brazil’s historic, humiliating 7-1 loss against Germany in the semifinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup will leave a bad taste in its fans mouths for years – generations, really – to come.

But the successful preparation and execution of the World Cup by its host nation shows that the country is more than capable of delivering a similarly successful experience shows when Rio de Janeiro hosts the 2016 Olympics, IOC Executive Director Gilbert Felli told the Associated Press.

Brazil will become the first South American nation to host an Olympics in 2016. Felli said that concerns about Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic preparations, including reports of construction delays, have been contradicted by the World Cup’s success, which shows Brazil is prepared to host the world again in two years.

“The perception of the Brazilians is much more positive,” Felli told AP. “It’s good for the Games. They have better trust in themselves to deliver the Games.”

Past Olympic host nations have endured similar concerns about preparation and construction timelines, including Sochi in the runup to the 2014 Winter Olympics, but Felli said that while such concerns are natural, Brazil is on the right track.

“Until the games are delivered I’m always concerned. But it’s not the case to say we’re not going to make it. … My view is we will make it and the Brazilians will deliver excellent Games,” Felli said.

Construction begins on Rio’s second biggest cluster

WADA investigates report that 10,000 Chinese athletes doped

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BERLIN (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency is looking into allegations made by a German broadcaster that Chinese athletes benefited from systematic doping in the 1980s and 90s.

“The allegations were brought forward by former Chinese physician, Xue Yinxian, who is said to have looked after several national teams in China during the decades in question,” WADA said Monday.

Xue, who recently arrived in Germany and is seeking political asylum with her son, told broadcaster ARD that more than 10,000 athletes were affected, some as young as 11, and that anyone who was against doping was considered “a danger to the country. And anyone who endangered the country is now in prison.”

The 79-year-old Xue said she lost her job with the national gymnastics team after refusing to treat an athlete with doping substances before the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

She said she had not felt safe in her home city of Beijing since 2012, when she first made her allegations of doping. She first started working with China’s national teams in the 1970s.

“In the 1980s and ’90s, Chinese athletes on the national teams made extensive use of doping substances,” she told ARD. “Medals were showered in doping. Gold, silver and bronze. All international medals should be withdrawn.”

WADA said it will examine “whether such a system may have prevailed beyond these decades.”

The first step, WADA said, was for its “independent intelligence and investigations team to initiate an investigative process in order to collect and analyze available information in coordination with external partners.”

Xue, who continued to work at lower levels after being dismissed from the national team in 1988, said she was only approached afterward when athletes developed problems because of the substances they were given.

“One trainer came to me and said, ‘Doctor Xue, the boys’ breasts keep getting bigger,’” Xue said. “These boys were about 13 to 14 years old.”

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PyeongChang Olympic organizers downplay North Korea concern

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ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (AP) — PyeongChang Olympic organizers played down concern over ongoing tensions with North Korea and also say work has been completed on all venues for the Winter Games.

Lee Hee-beom, president of the PyeongChang organizing committee, said the International Olympic Committee has made it very clear that the Feb. 9-25 Winter Games will go ahead as scheduled.

Speaking at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics shortly after the last rehearsal for Tuesday’s official flame-lighting ceremony, Lee said “there is no Plan B.”

Lee said South Korean officials are working closely with all relevant parties to ensure the Winter Games are safe and secure.

He said his main concern for the Olympics is the weather.

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