IOC proposes adding Olympic events, bid reforms

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The International Olympic Committee proposed changes to the bidding process and sports program for the Olympics among 40 recommendations to be voted on in December.

The 40 recommendations “lay out a strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic movement,” the IOC said. The proposals will be discussed at an IOC session in Monaco on Dec. 8-9. If approved in December, the IOC will then decide on how to implement the recommendations.

The reforms have been referred to as “Agenda 2020” by IOC president Thomas Bach.

In bidding, the IOC proposed reduced costs for bid cities, assisting cities considering bids before the bid process starts and allowing bids from multiple cities or countries (which is already allowed in the Winter Games).

In the Olympic program, the IOC is shifting focus from a set number of sports approved seven years in advance to a set number of events across all sports. A host city can propose adding a sport for its Games. This could open the door for baseball and softball to be added for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The IOC also urged more mixed-gender events. The Sochi Winter Games included mixed relays in biathlon and luge and a figure skating team event for the first time. Swimming’s international governing body already approved mixed relays in non-Olympic competitions. Bobsled’s international governing body made four-man bobsled gender neutral starting this season.

The U.S. Olympic Committee has said it will determine if it will bid for the 2024 Olympics after the December IOC meeting. If the USOC bids, it will choose one city from Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Here’s the list (with highlights indented):

  • 1. Shape the bidding process as an invitation
    • The IOC wishes to assist and advise cities considering bids about bid procedures, core Games requirements and how previous cities have ensured positive legacies.
    • The IOC would allow events held outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country, notably for reasons of geography and sustainability.
  • 2. Evaluate bid cities by assessing key opportunities and risks
  • 3. Reduce the cost of bidding
    • The IOC wishes to bear more travel costs during the bidding process and create a register of consultants/lobbyists to work for bid cities.
  • 4. Include sustainability in all aspects of the Olympic Games
  • 5. Include sustainability within the Olympic Movement’s daily operations
  • 6. Cooperate closely with other sports event organizers
  • 7. Strengthen relationships with organizations managing sport for people
    with different abilities
  • 8. Forge relationships with professional leagues
  • 9. Set a framework for the Olympic program
    • Limit the Summer Olympics to approximately 10,500 athletes and 310 events. London 2012 had 10,568 athletes in 302 events; Rio 2016 will have 306 events.
    • Limit the Winter Olympics to approximately 2,900 athletes and 100 events. Sochi 2014 reportedly had fewer than 2,900 athletes in 98 events.
  • 10. Move from a sport-based to an event-based program
  • 11. Foster gender equality
    • Encourage more mixed-gender team events.
  • 12. Reduce the cost and reinforce the flexibility of Olympic Games management
  • 13. Maximize synergies with Olympic Movement stakeholders
  • 14. Strengthen the 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism
    • Include non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the Olympic Charter. The principles currently include text against discrimination based on race, religion, politics and gender.
  • 15. Change the philosophy to protecting clean athletes
  • 16. Leverage the IOC $20 million fund to protect clean athletes
  • 17. Honor clean athletes
  • 18. Strengthen support to athletes
  • 19. Launch an Olympic channel
  • 20. Enter into strategic partnerships
  • 21. Strengthen IOC advocacy capacity
  • 22. Spread Olympic values-based education
  • 23. Engage with communities
  • 24. Evaluate the Sport for Hope program
  • 25. Review Youth Olympic Games positioning
    • Move the Youth Olympics to non-Olympic years starting in 2023.
  • 26. Further blend sport and culture
  • 27. Comply with basic principles of good governance
  • 28. Support autonomy
  • 29. Increase transparency
  • 30. Strengthen the IOC Ethics Commission independence
  • 31. Ensure compliance
  • 32. Strengthen ethics
  • 33. Further involve sponsors in “Olympism in Action” programs
  • 34. Develop a global licensing program
  • 35. Foster Olympic partner sponsors’ engagement with National Olympic Committees
  • 36. Extend access to the Olympic brand for non-commercial use
  • 37. Address IOC membership age limit
  • 38. Implement a targeted recruitment process
  • 39. Foster dialogue with society and within the Olympic Movement
  • 40. Review scope and composition of IOC commissions

Video: Doha gets 2019 World Track and Field Championships over Eugene, Barcelona

Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine
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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”