Joey Mantia

Joey Mantia wins Berlin 1500m; Shani Davis 8th

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A single U.S. speed skater won an event on the first day of the Berlin World Cup, but not the one many would have thought.

Not two-time Olympic champion Shani Davis. Not world sprint champion Heather Richardson. Not world-record holder Brittany Bowe.

Rather, it was Joey Mantia who won the 1500m in 1 minute, 45.80 seconds, .03 better than Poland’s Zbigniew Brodka. Davis, who won Olympic silver medals in the event in 2006 and 2010, was eighth.

Mantia, 27, had never finished better than 11th in a World Cup event after switching from inline skating in 2011.

This is the final World Cup stop before the Olympics. The number of skaters each nation will have in every Olympic event will be determined after this weekend’s results.

Czech Olympic champion Martina Sablikova won the 3000m in 4:02.25, edging German veteran Claudia Pechstein, 41, by .71. That was the final 3000m before the Olympics.

The U.S. should get two women in the Olympic 3000m, its fewest ever, as well as one in the 5000m, based on World Cup points and times. Which women will be determined at the U.S. Olympic Trials in three weeks.

Also Friday, the Netherlands’ Michel Mulder won the first of two men’s 500m races in 34.80, which was .09 ahead of South Korean Olympic champion Mo Tae-Bum. That moved Mo into first place in the season standings, followed by Mulder and then Mulder’s twin brother, Ronald.

South Korean Lee Sang-Hwa won her eighth straight World Cup 500m, beating Russian Olga Fatkulina by .35 in 37.36. Lee is the Olympic champion and world record holder. German Jenny Wolf, who was second in the World Cup standings, crashed on the final turn.

Davis still leads the men’s 1500m World Cup standings, ahead of his Dutch friend Koen Verweij. Mantia is eighth.

The Berlin World Cup continues Saturday.

Berlin World Cup — Day 1

Men’s 500m — Race 1
1. Michel Mulder (NED) 34.80
2. Mo Tae-Bum (KOR) 34.89
3. Keiichiro Nagashima (JPN) 35.01
8. Tucker Fredricks (USA) 35.17
12. Mitchell Whitmore (USA) 35.36

Women’s 500m — Race 1
1. Lee Sang-Hwa (KOR) 37.36
2. Olga Fatkulina (RUS) 37.71
3. Wang Beixing (CHN) 37.79
4. Heather Richardson (USA) 37.80
7. Brittany Bowe (USA) 38.26
13. Lauren Cholewinski (USA) 38.67
19. Elli Ochowicz (USA) 38.90

Women’s 3000m
1. Martina Sablikova (CZE) 4:02.25
2. Claudia Pechstein (GER) 4:02.96
3. Ireen Wuest (NED) 4:03.50
11. Jilleanne Rookard (USA) 4:09.12

Men’s 1500m
1. Joey Mantia (USA) 1:45.80
2. Zbigniew Brodka (POL) 1:45.83
3. Denis Yuskov (RUS) 1;46.14
8. Shani Davis (USA) 1:46.74
11. Trevor Marsicano (USA) 1:47.28
19. Jonathan Kuck (USA) 1:48.55

Speed skating season storylines

IOC group proposes Olympic ‘host’ can be multiple countries

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International Olympic Committee members will decide next month whether to tweak the definition of an Olympic host to make it clear that it does not necessarily refer to a single city but can also mean multiple cities, regions and even countries, IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday.

“It’s not an encouragement to spread the Games out as much as possible,” Bach said in announcing the IOC’s executive board approved the measure. “It may be preferable to have a region as a signatory or an additional signatory of the host city contract rather than just a city, and therefore, we wanted to enjoy this flexibility. This, on the other hand, does not change our vision, our request and our focus on having not only an Olympic Village, but to have an Olympic center.”

It’s one of six proposed changes by a working group chaired by Australian IOC member John Coates to examine the bid process. Another is to make the timing of Olympic host city elections more flexible. Typically, hosts are elected seven years before the Games, though two years ago an exception was made in the double awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Games to Paris and Los Angeles.

Bach repeated that the proposals are “to avoid producing too many losers as we had it in the past candidature procedures.”

The IOC previously said in 2014, in announcing Agenda 2020, that it “will allow events held outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country, notably for reasons of geography and sustainability.”

This shift manifests in Stockholm’s 2026 Winter Olympic bid plan to have sliding sports in Sigulda, Latvia, home of the nearest existing track for bobsled, luge and skeleton, rather than building a costly new track in Sweden.

IOC members will vote to choose the 2026 Winter Games host next month. The finalists are Stockholm and a joint Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, after five other potential candidates were dropped for various reasons.

There is precedent for events held far from the Olympic host city. In 1956, Melbourne held the Summer Games and had equestrian events in Stockholm due to quarantine laws in Australia. Similarly, equestrian at the 2008 Beijing Games was held in Hong Kong.

Soccer matches are often held in cities across the host country. Recent Winter Olympics have had mountain events in a different city or area than arena events.

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IOC board recommends AIBA suspension, boxing stays in Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee executive board recommended that AIBA has its recognition as boxing’s international federation suspended but that the sport remains on the Olympic program at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

An IOC decision on the recommendation will be made next month. The IOC created a group to organize 2020 Olympic boxing qualifying and competition if AIBA will not be allowed to run it.

“We want to ensure that the athletes can live their dream and participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 while drawing the necessary consequences for AIBA,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a press release. “At the same time, we offer a pathway back to lifting the suspension, but there needs to be further fundamental change.”

The IOC said in October that boxing’s place in the Olympics was “under threat” after being introduced at the 1904 St. Louis Games and held at every Games since except Stockholm 1912.

In November, the IOC ordered an inquiry into AIBA, which has been in financial turmoil, faced claims of fixed bouts at the Rio Games and elected a president linked to organized crime.

That president, Uzbek Gafur Rakhimov, stepped aside in March to let an interim leader take charge but said he was not resigning. Rakhimov is on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for suspected links to an organized crime group in former Soviet Union republics involved in heroin trafficking. He denies any wrongdoing.

“Serious governance issues remain, including breaches of the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics regarding good governance and ethics, leading to serious reputational, legal and financial risks for the IOC, the Olympic Movement and its stakeholders,” the inquiry committee concluded. “AIBA has been unable to demonstrate a sustainable and fair management of refereeing and judging processes and decisions, increasing the lack of confidence that athletes can have in fair competitions.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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