Rene Fasel

Winter sports chief concerned about possible 2022 World Cup in November

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The Winter Olympics would surely be affected if the 2022 World Cup is moved to January or February, but even a potential November World Cup in Qatar is being met with concern by winter sports officials.

“November is the start of the (winter sports) season for maybe, I would say, all the other federations,” Rene Fasel, who heads the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations, told the AP. “For sure, we have to put up the flag and say, ‘Hey guys, be careful.’”

Fasel also heads the International Ice Hockey Federation.

“We should really clearly show our position and protect our own interests,” he said, according to the AP.

Senior officials from specific winter sports federations will meet and discuss an International Ski Federation (FIS) proposal this week, according to the AP.

“FIS will submit a proposal to the other six International Winter Sports Federations to sign a resolution against organizing the FIFA World Cup during the winter sports season in 2022,” was a decision made by the FIS Council at a Sunday meeting.

The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar, whose summer heat has caused soccer leaders to propose moving the tournament from June-July. November and January have been talked about.

In September, the International Olympic Committee reportedly “warned” FIFA about switching dates for 2022.

“We were aware that FIFA might consider changing the dates for the 2022 World Cup,” an IOC spokesman told the Press Association in the United Kingdom in September. “We are confident that FIFA will discuss the dates with us so as to coordinate them and avoid any effect on the Winter Games.”

In August, it was reported that though moving the World Cup out of the oppressive Qatari summer was likely, it was unlikely to move to February, the usual month for the Winter Olympics.

Almaty, Kazakhstan, is the one city to submit a 2022 Winter Olympic bid so far. Munich is moving forward with a bid, as are other European applicants.

The U.S. will not bid. The deadline to apply to the IOC is Nov. 14.

Boston to look into 2024 Olympic bid

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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