Thomas Bach, Vladimir Putin

IOC president Thomas Bach speaks out against political boycotts

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MOSCOW (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach spoke out again Wednesday against political boycotts, citing his own “burning” frustration as an athlete over missing the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Bach spoke in Moscow at the opening of the World Olympians Forum. Russian President Vladimir Putin also spoke, calling for a U.N. resolution on the “de-politicization” of sports.

Bach recalled that he had been a “young athlete brimming with confidence” after winning a team gold medal in fencing for West Germany at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

But he said he was left “burning with frustration” after West Germany followed the U.S. call to boycott the Moscow Games over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

“I knew if world leaders had listened to athletes, then that boycott never would have happened,” Bach said. “After we lost this fight against (the) boycott, I decided to come into sports administration to make sure future generations would not have to suffer and to ensure the autonomy of sport.”

Bach said boycotts “are simply a form of discrimination, which is against the Olympic Charter.”

In retaliation for the U.S. boycott, the Soviet Union led its own boycott of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“We have come a long way since then,” Bach said.

Some politicians had called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, after Russia enacted a law prohibiting gay “propaganda.”

Bach said the Sochi Games “achieved the vision of creating a world-class winter sports destination and putting Sochi on the global sports calendar.”

Putin, meanwhile, noted that the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution last year aimed at protecting the autonomy of sports.

“We think it is important to draft and adopt a U.N. General Assembly resolution that would definitely enshrine in international law the principle of sport’s de-politicization,” he said.

The Moscow forum was attended by more than 150 Olympians from 120 countries.

MORE IOC: Bach says ‘enough is enough’ with FIFA

Does Lance Armstrong believe doping contributed to cancer?

Lance Armstrong
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Lance Armstrong said on Sunday’s ESPN film “Lance” that he didn’t know whether he got testicular cancer because of his doping in the early-to-mid 1990s.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “And I don’t want to say no because I don’t think that’s right, either. I don’t know if it’s yes or no, but I certainly wouldn’t say no. The only thing I will tell you is the only time in my life that I ever did growth hormone was the 1996 season [before being diagnosed with moderate to advanced cancer in October 1996]. So just in my head, I’m like ‘growth, growing, hormones and cells.’ Like, if anything good needs to be grown, it does. But wouldn’t it also make sense that if anything bad is there, that it, too, would grow?”

Armstrong was asked a similar question by Oprah Winfrey in his January 2013 doping confession.

“Do you think that banned substances contributed to you getting cancer?” Winfrey asked.

“I don’t think so,” Armstrong said then. “I’m not a doctor, I’ve never had a doctor tell me that or suggest that to me personally, but I don’t believe so.”

That was not the first time doping and cancer were part of the same conversation.

Teammate Frankie Andreu and then-fiancee Betsy said that Armstrong told a doctor on Oct. 27, 1996, at Indiana University Hospital that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs; EPO, testosterone, growth hormone, cortisone and steroids.

Armstrong said he probably began doping at age 21, in 1992 or 1993.

“I remember when we were on a training ride in 2002, Lance told me that [Michele] Ferrari [the infamous doctor who provided performance-enhancing drugs] had been paranoid that he had helped cause the cancer and became more conservative after that,” former teammate Floyd Landis said in 2011, according to Sports Illustrated.

TIMELINE: Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall

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Cortina requests to postpone Alpine skiing worlds from 2021 to 2022

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The Italian Winter Sports Federation was making a formal request on Monday to postpone next year’s world Alpine skiing championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo until March 2022.

Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malagò revealed the plans during an interview with RAI state TV on Sunday night.

Considering the fallout in Italy from the coronavirus pandemic, Malagò said “this is the best solution” in order to avoid the championships being canceled or shortened.

“It’s a decision in which we both lose but we realize this is the best — or maybe the only thing — to do,” Malago said.

The Italian federation confirmed that the proposal would be presented during an International Ski Federation (FIS) board meeting Monday. The Italian federation added that the decision to make the proposal was made jointly by the organizing committee in Cortina, the Veneto region and the Italian government.

It will be up to FIS to decide on any postponement.

Cortina was already forced to cancel the World Cup Finals in March this year due to the advancing virus, which has now accounted for more than 30,000 deaths in Italy.

Moving the worlds to March 2022 would put the event one month after the Beijing Olympics and likely force FIS to cancel that season’s finals in Méribel and Courchevel, France.

The Cortina worlds are currently scheduled for Feb. 7-21, 2021.

Worlds are usually held every other winter, in odd years.

Cortina is also slated to host Alpine events during the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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