Getty Images

Paralympic officials give Russia one more month

Leave a comment

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) gave Russia one more month to meet anti-doping mandates to have its suspension lifted to participate in March’s PyeongChang Paralympics.

The IPC was originally expected to rule on Russia’s eligibility for the PyeongChang Winter Games late this month but now will do so at a Jan. 26-28 meeting, according to a press release Wednesday.

An IPC official said there is “a very strong likelihood” that Russia will not meet reinstatement criteria in time if it does not change its “unhelpful and evasive approach.”

Russia has been banned from IPC-sanctioned competition since August 2016 due to its poor anti-doping record. That included a suspension from the Rio Games.

But Russian athletes were allowed to apply to compete in PyeongChang qualifying events as neutrals with the hope that Russia’s ban would later be lifted.

The IPC said Russia must still meet five criteria for reinstatement, down from seven in September.

A key unmet condition is a Russian response to addressing the McLaren Report, a World Anti-Doping Agency-commissioned investigation into Russian doping leading into and during the Sochi Games.

Russian officials have not publicly accepted the 2016 McLaren Report findings of widespread doping by more than 1,000 Russian athletes as fact.

The Russia Paralympic Committee (RPC) requested to remove the criteria stating that it must address the McLaren Report. That request was denied by the IPC Governing Board.

“The RPC is making headway with the IPC on three of the five remaining reinstatement criteria, however sadly, and much to our growing disappointment and frustration, there is a lack of progress regarding an official response from the Russian authorities specifically and adequately addressing the McLaren findings and evidence,” New IPC President Andrew Parsons said. “If the Russian authorities believe his findings and evidence are not credible, then suitable supporting evidence and explanations should be provided to properly rebut them. So far nothing has been forthcoming.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Five Paralympic storylines for PyeongChang

Oscar Pistorius bruised in prison fight

AP
Leave a comment

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Olympian Oscar Pistorius, in jail for murdering his girlfriend, was bruised in an altercation with another inmate over telephone use, a South African prison spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

Pistorius sustained a minor injury in an alleged assault at the Attridgevill Correctional Centre last week, Singabakho Nxumalo of the Department of Correctional Services told The Associated Press.

Pistorius had a medical checkup and was found to have a bruise, said Nxumalo, who added that the incident is being investigated.

“The injury is minor, but we at the department take incidents like this seriously and want to prevent any altercations,” said Nxumalo.

The disagreement broke out between Pistorius and another inmate over use of a public telephone, he said.

Pistorius, a double amputee runner who won worldwide acclaim winning in the Paralympics and competing in the Olympics, is serving a 13-year sentence for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius shot her dead in his home on Valentine’s Day 2013 and claimed he thought she was an intruder.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: New track and field world rankings to shape Olympic entries

100 days until Paralympics: 10 U.S. athletes to watch

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Paralympics begin in 100 days, and the U.S. team is sure to include many medal contenders.

A look at 10 of them as the March 9 Opening Ceremony draws near … 

Andrew Kurka, Alpine Skiing
Led the U.S. at last season’s world championships with downhill gold, giant slalom silver and super-G bronze. Starting at age 8, won six Alaska state wrestling titles before an ATV accident at age 13 severely damaged three vertebrae in the middle of his spinal cord. Made the Sochi Paralympic team but did not compete after breaking his back in a training run crash. Also competes as a bodybuilder.

Alana Nichols, Alpine Skiing
The first U.S. woman to win gold at both the Summer and Winter Games announced in August the end of a three-year retirement from Alpine skiing. The 34-year-old had not raced since earning silver and bronze medals at her second Winter Games in Sochi.

Danelle Umstead, Alpine Skiing
Earned three combined bronze medals in 2010 and 2014 in the visually impaired classification with husband Rob as her guide. The 45-year-old has said PyeongChang will be her final Games. Every day she listens to an audio recording of sounds of the PyeongChang downhill course from start to finish (along with Rob’s commands) that she took at last year’s test event.

Aaron Pike, Biathlon/Cross-Country Skiing
Competed in the last three Paralympics — London 2012 and Rio 2016 in track and field and Sochi 2014 in biathlon and cross-country. Pike, 30, has never won a medal at the Paralympics or worlds in any sport but was fourth and fifth in two biathlon events at last season’s worlds.

Oksana Masters, Biathlon/Cross-Country Skiing
Masters has become one of the world’s most versatile athletes after being born in Ukraine with defects believed to be caused by the Chernobyl disaster and bouncing from orphanage to orphanage for seven years before being adopted by a single mother in New York. A Paralympic medalist in rowing (2012) and cross-country skiing (2014) but lacks gold. Masters also raced in road cycling at Rio 2016, taking fourth- and fifth-place finishes. She starred at last season’s Nordic worlds, bagging four gold medals and one bronze between biathlon and cross-country skiing. As is boyfriend Pike, trying to become the second American to earn an Olympic or Paralympic medal in biathlon (Andy Soule, 2010 Paralympics).

Steve Emt, Curling
Leader of the already-named U.S. Paralympic curling team of five athletes. The 46-year-old played briefly in two basketball games for the University of Connecticut in the 1993-94 season as a walk-on. Emt, paralyzed in a 1995 car accident, skipped the U.S. to a seventh-place finish at last season’s world championship.

Steve Cash, Hockey
Longtime goalie for the U.S. national team. Played all but 15 minutes of the U.S.’ five games in 2010 and didn’t allow a goal on 33 shots, including a penalty shot in the gold-medal game. Posted another three shutouts in 2014, including in the gold-medal game against Russia.

Declan Farmer, Hockey
The 20-year-old Princeton student broke U.S. records for goals (12) and points (18) at a single world championship last season. At 16, shared the U.S. leads with three goals and five points in Sochi.

Amy Purdy, Snowboarding
Instrumental in getting her sport added to the Paralympics for Sochi, then took bronze in snowboard cross at the Games. Spent eight days in the hospital last November with rhabdomyolysis. Returned to take bronze in banked slalom at worlds in February. Banked slalom will make its Paralympic debut in PyeongChang. Also was runner-up on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2014 and performed at the Rio Paralympic Opening Ceremony.

Evan Strong, Snowboarding
Strong, who was raised in Maui, led a U.S. snowboard cross podium sweep in Sochi. He then took silver at last season’s worlds. Originally a skateboarder who got his first sponsor at age 13. Switched to snowboarding after a drunk driver struck him head-on on his motorcycle at age 17, requiring his left leg to be partially amputated.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Paralympics decision on Russia expected by end of year

NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.