IOC President Thomas Bach ‘will not speculate’ on Russia Olympic ban

Thomas Bach
Getty Images
0 Comments

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach says he believes Russia will take steps to ensure it complies with global anti-doping rules in time to allow its track and field athletes to compete at next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

In an interview with New Zealand television on Wednesday, Bach refused to be drawn on whether the IOC would support calls for Russia’s athletics team to be excluded from the games as recommended by a World Anti-Doping Agency commission which found evidence of state-sponsored cheating in Russia.

Bach said the issue — which he described as a “malfunctioning of a country” — was now in the hands of the International Association of Athletics Federation.

“The international federation will draw its conclusion and will take the necessary measures,” Bach said. “We’re convinced the new [IAAF] president, Sebastian Coe, will do whatever is necessary and we think also that Russia will cooperate to make progress and to make sure that Russian athletics is compliant with WADA, and this is what it needs to be in order to participate in the Olympic Games.”

WADA’s independent commission called for Russia’s athletics federation to be suspended, citing evidence of corruption and collusion of Russian officials in covering up positive doping tests. The commission said Russian athletes should only be allowed to compete again once the country is fully compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.

Pressed on whether Russian athletes should be banned from the games in Rio, Bach said: “I will not speculate on this. Now we have this inquiry about athletics.”

Bach also refused to be drawn on whether the offenses found in Russia were only a part of much wider corruption in world athletics.

“Again, this is speculation,” he said. “We should not take clean athletes into suspicion.”

Bach said WADA, which represents the Olympic movement and world governments, is leading the anti-doping campaign and deciding which countries are compliant or not.

“We should have confidence in the work of WADA as we are now having confidence in this report of the WADA commission,” he said.

“We have obviously a malfunctioning in a country, maybe, and in an international federation coming together but we should not forget that WADA and the IOC and many international federations have established a very tight net of anti-doping measures,” Bach added.

The IOC also urged the IAAF to start disciplinary action against Russian athletes, coaches and officials accused of doping in the WADA report.

“We have made it clear that we will, once we get the relevant information from IAAF, withdraw and reallocate medals with regard to Russian athletes which may have been doped,” Bach said. “We have also made it clear that if officials or coaches have been involved that they will be banned from future games.

“So the IOC will do everything it can there to support the responsible international federations in their efforts to clean up athletics.”

Bach was interviewed by New Zealand’s TV3 in Lausanne after the New Zealand Olympic Committee was awarded the IOC’s women in sport world trophy.

MORE: Yelena Isinbayeva’s coach speaks amid Russia doping scandal

Summer McIntosh breaks 400m individual medley world record, extends historic week

Summer McIntosh
Getty
0 Comments

Canadian swimmer Summer McIntosh broke her second world record this week, lowering the 400m individual medley mark on Saturday.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old who trains in Sarasota, Florida, clocked 4 minutes, 25.87 seconds at the Canadian Championships in Toronto.

She took down Hungarian Katinka Hosszu‘s world record of 4:26.36 from the 2016 Rio Olympics. Before Saturday, McIntosh had the fourth-fastest time in history of 4:28.61.

“It’s always nice to set world records,” McIntosh said.

On Tuesday, McIntosh broke the 400m freestyle world record, becoming the youngest swimmer to break a world record in an individual Olympic event since Katie Ledecky in 2013.

McIntosh also this week became the fourth-fastest woman in history in the 200m individual medley and the eighth-fastest woman in history in the 200m butterfly.

In each of her four races this week, she also broke the world junior record as the fastest woman in history under the age of 19.

She is entered to swim the 200m free on the meet’s final day on Sunday. She is already the eighth-fastest woman in history in that event.

McIntosh, whose mom swam the 1984 Olympic 200m fly and whose sister competed at last week’s world figure skating championships, placed fourth in the Tokyo Olympic 400m free at age 14.

Last summer, she won the 200m fly and 400m IM at the world championships, becoming the youngest individual world champion since 2011.

This summer, she could be at the center of a showdown in the 400m free at the world championships with reigning world champion Ledecky and reigning Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus of Australia. They are the three fastest women in history in the event.

Around age 7, McIntosh transcribed Ledecky quotes and put them on her wall.

MORE: McIntosh chose swimming and became Canada’s big splash

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Hilary Knight leads new-look U.S. women’s hockey roster for world championship

Hilary Knight
Getty
0 Comments

Hilary Knight headlines a U.S. women’s hockey roster for this month’s world championship that lacks some of the biggest names from last year’s Olympic silver-medal team. Changes have been made as the U.S. looks to end losing streaks to Canada, both overall and in major finals.

The full roster is here. Worlds start Wednesday in Brampton, Ontario, and run through the gold-medal game on April 16.

It was already known that the team would be without stalwart forwards Kendall Coyne Schofield, who plans to return to the national team after having her first child this summer, and Brianna Decker, who announced her retirement last month.

Notable cuts include the No. 1 goalies from the last two Olympics: Alex Cavallini, who returned from Christmas childbirth for the tryout camp this past week, and Maddie Rooney, the breakout of the 2018 Olympic champion team.

Cavallini, 31, was bidding to become the first player to make an Olympic or world team after childbirth since Jenny Potter, who played at the Olympics in 2002, 2006 and 2010 as a mom, plus at several world championships, including less than three months after childbirth in 2007.

Forward Hannah Brandt, who played on the top line at last year’s Olympics with Knight and Coyne Schofield, also didn’t make the team.

In all, 13 of the 25 players on the team are Olympians, including three-time Olympic medalists forward Amanda Kessel and defender Lee Stecklein.

The next generation includes forward Taylor Heise, 23, who led the 2022 World Championship with seven goals and was the 2022 NCAA Player of the Year at Minnesota.

The team includes two teens — 19-year-old defender Haley Winn and 18-year-old forward Tessa Janecke — who were also the only teens at last week’s 46-player tryout camp. Janecke, a Penn State freshman, is set to become the youngest U.S. forward to play at an Olympics or worlds since Brandt in 2012.

Abbey Levy, a 6-foot-1 goalie from Boston College, made her first world team, joining veterans Nicole Hensley and Aerin Frankel.

Last summer, Canada repeated as world champion by beating the U.S. in the final, six months after beating the U.S. in the Olympic final. Canada is on its longest global title streak since winning all five Olympic or world titles between 1999 and 2004.

Also at last summer’s worlds, the 33-year-old Knight broke the career world championship record for points (now up to 89). She also has the most goals in world championship history (53). Knight, already the oldest U.S. Olympic women’s hockey player in history, will become the second-oldest American to play at a worlds after Cammi Granato, who was 34 at her last worlds in 2005.

The Canadians are on a four-game win streak versus the Americans, capping a comeback in their recent seven-game rivalry series from down three games to none. Their 5-0 win in the decider in February was their largest margin of victory over the U.S. since 2005.

Last May, former AHL coach John Wroblewski was named U.S. head coach to succeed Joel Johnson, the Olympic coach.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!