Sochi clock

Russia time change before 2014 Olympics would have cost $300 million

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Russia has already ruled out turning its clocks back one hour this winter, and the Sochi Olympic Organizing Committee president offered 300,000,000 more reasons why.

“We forecast, other than the reputational risk and discomfort to our athletes, logistical issues and financial risks,” Dmitry Chernyshenko said, according to R-Sport. “The extra expenditure needed from the federal budget to compensate international broadcasters who might lose advertising contracts in the event of a time change will lead to penalties, and we will have to compensate for it. The sum of the risks could exceed $300 million.”

Russia stopped turning its clocks back in 2011. Sochi is currently eight hours ahead of Eastern time and will be nine hours ahead after daylight savings time ends Nov. 3 and through the Olympics.

The times of competitions for the Sochi Games will be vastly different from the London 2012 Olympics (five hours ahead of ET) and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics (three hours behind ET).

Here is a full viewers guide, and here are the times of some major Sochi Olympic events:

Friday, Feb. 7: Opening ceremony — 8 p.m. Sochi/11 a.m. ET
Tuesday, Feb. 11: Men’s snowboard halfpipe final — 9:30 p.m. Sochi/12:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Feb. 12: Women’s downhill — 11 a.m. Sochi/2 a.m. ET
Wednesday, Feb. 13: Women’s snowboard halfpipe final — 9:30 p.m. Sochi/12:30 p.m. ET
Friday, Feb. 14: Men’s figure skating free skate (medal contenders) — 10 p.m. Sochi/1 p.m. ET
Thursday, Feb. 20: Women’s hockey gold-medal game — 9 p.m. Sochi/Noon ET
Thursday, Feb. 20: Women’s figure skating free skate (medal contenders) — 10 p.m. Sochi/1 p.m. ET
Sunday, Feb. 23: Men’s hockey gold-medal game — 4 p.m. Sochi/7 a.m. ET

Dolphin to be part of Sochi Olympic torch relay

Swim meet canceled after FINA’s threat to ban athletes

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GENEVA (AP) — Amid growing conflict between swimmers and their world governing body, an international swimming meet was canceled on Thursday after threats to ban athletes who took part seeking better prize money.

The Italian swim federation called off the Dec. 20-21 competition it was organizing in Turin, saying it acted to protect athletes from FINA.

The Turin meet was linked to a proposed International Swimming League, a privately run operation which aims to operate outside FINA’s control and pay higher prize money.

“FINA declared the event ‘non-approved,’ threatening sanctions against the participating athletes,” Italian officials said in a statement.

FINA, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some Olympic champions have long criticized FINA, believing swimmers should be better rewarded, have more say in decisions, and could create their own union.

Olympic champion Adam Peaty of Britain wrote on Thursday on Twitter he was “incredibly disappointed” by the cancellation.

The politics involved will “galvanize swimmers, not break them,” wrote Peaty, who holds 50m and 100m breaststroke world records.

Peaty has previously supported Hungarian star Katinka Hosszu in her public criticism of FINA, and calls to create a swimmers’ union.

Italian organizers said Peaty, Hosszu and other Olympic champions including Chad le Clos of South Africa and Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden were due to take part in their 25-meter pool event. It was scheduled days after the short-course world championships being staged in Hangzhou, China.

The clash of events seemed to provoke FINA into finding more prize money for its worlds event in the smaller pool.

On Nov. 6, FINA added to its promised prize fund for China by almost doubling the total to $2.07 million.

FINA wrote to member federations on Oct. 30 warning of bans of up to two years for taking part in Turin.

However, a European Commission decision last year suggests swimmers could successfully challenge any attempt to limit their right to race and earn money.

The European Union’s executive arm ruled the International Staking Union in breach of anti-trust laws by threatening severe bans for speed skaters who wanted to compete in a South Korean-organized event in Dubai.

The ISU’s threats “also serve to protect its own commercial interests,” the European officials said.

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Simon Ammann believes ski jumping career end is near

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Simon Ammann, the most decorated active ski jumper with four Olympic gold medals, said it is hard to imagine competing beyond this season, according to Swiss newspaper Blick.

Ammann, 37, swept the individual Olympic titles in 2002 and 2010 to join retired Finn Matti Nykänen as the only four-time Olympic ski jumping champs.

In PyeongChang, his sixth Olympics, Ammann placed 11th and 13th, one month after making his first World Cup podium in nearly three years. He decided after those Winter Games that he would continue at least one more season, but has no plan to go all the way to a seventh Olympics in 2022, according to Blick.

Ammann has teased retirement since at least 2011 and even said going into the 2014 Sochi Olympics that he was “99 percent sure” they would be his final Games.

The now-father of two first gained crossover celebrity with his surprise Salt Lake City 2002 gold medals, his first wins in top-level international competition. The bespectacled Ammann’s victory screams and resemblance to Harry Potter helped land him on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and one of Europe’s biggest shows, sitting next to Shakira.

Fellow ski jumper Noriaki Kasai of Japan holds the Winter Olympic record of eight appearances. Kasai, 46, has said he plans to go for a ninth participation at Beijing 2022.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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