IOC approves changes to Olympic bidding process, sports program

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The International Olympic Committee unanimously approved 40 changes to the Olympic bid process and sports program Monday, as part of what the IOC president called Agenda 2020, “a strategic roadmap for the future.”

“This Olympic Agenda 2020 is like a jigsaw puzzle,” IOC president Thomas Bach told IOC members in Monaco. “Now, after you have approved all these 40 individual recommendations, you can see the whole picture of this jigsaw puzzle. You can see the picture of progress, the picture of progress in ensuring the uniqueness of the Olympic Games.”

The next step will be full implementation of the 40 recommendations over the coming months.

The 40 recommendations are officially laid out here.

In bidding, the IOC accepted 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 exceptional cases.

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.

Also, an Olympic channel was approved. It will start as a digital network when it launches.

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

Here’s the list of 40 recommendations (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 will 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

In a tie, Wendy Holdener puts to rest a remarkable stat in Alpine skiing

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Swiss Wendy Holdener ended one of the most remarkable victory droughts in sports by tying for the win with Swede Anna Swenn Larsson in a World Cup slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Sunday.

Holdener, after 15 second-place finishes and 15 third-place finishes in her career, stood on the top step of a World Cup slalom podium for the first time. She shared it with Swenn Larsson, who had six World Cup slalom podiums before Sunday and also earned her first win.

They beat Austrian Katharina Truppe by .22 of a second combining times from two runs.

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Holdener, 29, previously won three World Cups in other disciplines, plus two world championships in the combined and Olympic and world titles in the team event.

“To be tied first when I came into the finish was such a relief,” Holdener said while shoulder to shoulder with Swenn Larsson. “On the end, it’s perfect, because now we can share our first win together.”

Mikaela Shiffrin had the best first-run time but lost her lead midway through the second run and finished fifth. Shiffrin, who won the first two slaloms this season last weekend, was bidding for a 50th World Cup slalom victory and a sixth win in six slaloms in Killington.

“I fought. I think some spots I got a little bit off my timing, but I was pushing, and that’s slalom,” she said before turning her attention to Holdener and Swenn Larsson. “It’s a pretty special day, actually.”

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves next weekend to Lake Louise, Alberta, with two downhills and a super-G.

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Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin
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Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to SkatingScores.com, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

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