Kuwait being suspended by IOC

Kuwait
Getty Images
0 Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the second time in five years, Kuwait is being suspended by the IOC for political interference, which leaves its athletes in limbo for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti who heads the global association of national Olympic committees and is a senior IOC member, told The Associated Press that the Gulf country will be sanctioned by the IOC on Tuesday.

The move comes after Kuwait failed to amend its disputed sports legislation by the Oct. 27 deadline set by the International Olympic Committee. FIFA suspended Kuwait’s soccer association over the same issue two weeks ago.

“As a Kuwaiti, I am very sad,” Sheikh Ahmad said in an interview Monday night. “All of us are upset. It’s a very sad story. It’s [because of] human mistakes.”

The IOC is concerned about government meddling in the running of Kuwait’s Olympic committee and national sports federations. The IOC said the new sports law threatens the autonomy of the sports bodies and would mean Kuwait no longer complies with the Olympic Charter.

The suspension comes with Sheikh Ahmad in Washington to chair this week’s general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees. He does not sit on the Kuwaiti body and was not directly involved in negotiations between the IOC and Kuwait on the issue.

The sheikh said Kuwait is one of 206 national Olympic committees due to attend the ANOC meeting Thursday and Friday. He said the Kuwaiti delegates will be allowed to stay but won’t have any voting rights.

“I hope there will be an understanding very soon,” Sheikh Ahmad said, warning that otherwise a “whole generation of athletes” will suffer.

If the suspension is not lifted before next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Kuwaiti athletes would be barred from representing their country at the Games. The IOC would have to give them special dispensation to compete as individuals under the Olympic flag.

“I will give my full support to bring them,” the sheikh said.

Kuwait was suspended by the IOC in 2010, also in a dispute over government interference. The country was reinstated in 2012 ahead of the London Games after Kuwait’s ruler, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, pledged autonomy for the Olympic committee and promised new legislation for institutions governing sports.

Sheikh Ahmad said he couldn’t understand why Kuwait would now establish a law that goes back on the ruler’s pledge to the IOC.

“I think it’s related to politics because the sports minister has lost an election to the president of shooting,” he said.

In recent years, the IOC suspended the national Olympic bodies of India, Ghana and Panama for political interference, but all were eventually reinstated. The IOC recently gave Sri Lanka until the end of the year to revise its sports legislation or face suspension.

FIFA suspended Kuwait after it failed to change its sports law by Oct. 15. Kuwaiti teams and clubs are banned from international competition, and the association and its members are barred from receiving any FIFA development assistance.

MORE IOC: Refugees allowed to compete in Olympics for first time

U.S. Alpine skiers wear climate change-themed race suits at world championships

U.S. Alpine Skiing Team Race Suit
Images via Kappa
0 Comments

Looking cool is just the tip of the iceberg for Mikaela Shiffrin, Travis Ganong and the rest of the U.S. ski team when they debut new race suits at the world championships.

Even more, they want everyone thinking about climate change.

The team’s predominantly blue-and-white suits depict an image of ice chunks floating in the ocean. It’s a concept based on a satellite photo of icebergs breaking due to high temperatures. The suit was designed in collaboration with Kappa, the team’s technical apparel sponsor, and the nonprofit organization Protect Our Winters (POW).

The Americans will wear the suits throughout the world championships in Courchevel and Meribel, France, which started Monday with a women’s Alpine combined race and end Feb. 19.

“Although a race suit is not solving climate change, it is a move to continue the conversation and show that U.S Ski & Snowboard and its athletes are committed to being a part of the future,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, the president and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

ALPINE WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

Global warming has become a cold, hard reality in ski racing, with mild temperatures and a lack of snow leading to the postponement of several World Cup events this winter.

“I’m just worried about a future where there’s no more snow. And without snow, there’s no more skiing,” said Ganong, who grew up skiing at Lake Tahoe in California. “So this is very near and dear to me.”

What alarms Ganong is seeing the stark year-to-year changes to some of the World Cup circuit’s most storied venues.

“I mean, it’s just kind of scary, looking at how on the limit (these events) are even to being possible anymore,” said Ganong, who’s been on the U.S. team since 2006. “Places like Kitzbuehel (Austria), there’s so much history and there’s so much money involved with that event that they do whatever they can to host the event.

“But that brings up a whole other question about sustainability as well: Is that what we should be doing? … What kind of message do we need show to the public, to the world, about how our sport is adapting to this new world we live in?”

The suits feature a POW patch on the neck and the organization’s snowflake logo on the leg.

“By coming together, we can educate and mobilize our snowsports community to push for the clean energy technologies and policies that will most swiftly reduce emissions and protect the places we live and the lifestyles we love,” according to a statement from executive director Mario Molina, whose organization includes athletes, business leaders and scientists who are trying to protect places from climate change.

Ganong said a group of ski racers are releasing a letter to the International Ski Federation (FIS), with the hope the governing body will take a stronger stance on sustainability and climate change.

“They should be at the forefront of trying to adapt to this new world, and try to make it better, too,” Ganong said.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

U.S. Alpine Skiing Team Race Suit

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
Getty
0 Comments

At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!