IOC asks for transcripts suggesting 2020 Olympic bid bribery

Jacques Rogge Tokyo 2020
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LONDON (AP) — The IOC is ready to examine allegations of possible bribery in the bidding for the 2020 Olympics.

The Olympic body said Friday it has asked the World Anti-Doping Agency’s independent commission for transcripts from its report on doping and corruption in track and field that raises the possibility that $5 million in sponsorship money was paid to help Tokyo secure the Games.

A footnote to the WADA report indicates that former IAAF president Lamine Diack was prepared to sell his vote in the 2020 bidding contest in exchange for sponsorship of IAAF events. The report suggests that Diack — an IOC member at the time — dropped his support for Istanbul because Turkey refused to pay, and backed Tokyo after the Japanese did pay.

“We have already asked the Independent Commission for the transcript so that we can better understand the context and the claims being made,” the International Olympic Committee said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Tokyo organizers said the allegation was “beyond our understanding,” while Turkey’s Olympic committee said Diack’s reported demand was not the reason Istanbul lost.

The IOC statement noted that Dick Pound, an IOC member who chaired the WADA panel, said he was “fairly confident” the current Olympic bidding process is free of organized corruption.

“We have done an enormous amount since 1999, to make sure that that cannot happen,” Pound said, referring to the cleanup after the Salt Lake City bidding scandal. “If there is going to be individual bits of corruption you can’t stop all that. But organizationally, I don’t think that’s an issue with the Olympics.”

The WADA commission report cites transcripts of conversations between one of Diack’s sons, Khalil, and Turkish track officials in connection with the 2020 bidding process.

“Turkey lost LD’s support because they did not pay sponsorship moneys of $4 to 5 million either to the Diamond League or IAAF,” the note said, referring to Lamine Diack. “According (to) the transcript the Japanese did pay such a sum.”

“The 2020 Games were awarded to Tokyo,” the note added. “The IC did not investigate this matter further for it was not within our remit.”

Tokyo defeated Istanbul 60-36 in the final round of IOC voting in 2013 in Buenos Aires. The third candidate, Madrid, was eliminated earlier in a runoff with Istanbul.

“The note in the (WADA) report is beyond our understanding,” Hikariko Ono, a spokeswoman for the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, said in a statement. “The games were awarded to Tokyo because the city presented the best bid. Tokyo’s bid was about Japan’s commitment to address issues around the integrity of sport.”

Ugur Erdener, head of the Turkish Olympic Committee, issued a statement Friday saying Istanbul did not lose because of Diack’s reported demand for sponsorship money.

“Lamine Diack was the head of the IAAF at the time and may have been expecting sponsorship for his federation,” said Erdener, who also serves on the IOC executive board. “He may have used his individual vote in favor of another city that met his expectations.”

“Lamine Diack does not have the authority to grant the Olympic Games to any city, and in the end, he only used his vote,” Erdener said. “Therefore, it would not be a correct approach to explain the fact that Istanbul did not win the right to organize the 2020 Olympic Games through Lamine Diack’s vote alone.”

Diack, of Senegal, served as an IOC member from 1999 to 2013. As a senior figure in the Olympic world, he could have held sway in influencing a bloc of IOC votes.

Diack resigned as an honorary IOC member in November, a day after he was provisionally suspended by the executive board. The move came after he was placed under criminal investigation in France on corruption and money-laundering charges in connection with cover-ups of Russian doping cases.

Pound on Thursday recommended the IAAF “take a vigorous, forensic look” at the 2020 Olympic vote-buying allegation and the awarding of world championships to certain cities and countries.

“We have had reports from people who seem to know what they are talking about,” Pound said at a news conference. “We have brought that to the attention of the IAAF and recommended they take a vigorous forensic look at it, to see whether there is anything to the allegations.”

It’s not the first time Diack has been linked to possible Olympic bribery.

The Guardian newspaper reported Tuesday that it had seen emails from one of Diack’s sons, Papa Masata Diack, regarding alleged “parcels” to be delivered to six IOC members in connection with the bid from Doha, Qatar, for the 2016 Games.

The Guardian said the parcels were to have been delivered through a man believed to be Lamine Diack.

It wasn’t known whether any packages were sent. In any case, a month after the email was sent in May 2008, Doha failed to make the list of finalists in the 2016 bidding.

Last week, Papa Masata Diack was banned for life by the IAAF ethics commission for corruption and cover-up allegations linked to Russian doping.

The IOC said it asked the Guardian for copies of the emails so the material could be sent to its ethics commission, but that the Guardian had refused.

MORE: Vladimir Putin named in WADA report on Russia track and field

U.S. women’s basketball team, statistically greatest ever, rolls to FIBA World Cup title

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The revamped U.S. women’s basketball team may have been the greatest of all time.

The Americans completed, statistically, their most dominant global championship ever by routing China 83-61 in the FIBA World Cup final on Saturday in Sydney — giving them 60 consecutive wins between the Olympics and worlds dating to 2006.

It marked the largest margin of victory in a World Cup final since the event converted from a fully round-robin format in 1983.

For the tournament, the U.S. drubbed its opponents by an average of 40.75 points per game, beating its previous record between the Olympics and worlds of 37.625 points from the 2008 Beijing Games. It was just off the 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s Dream Team’s legendary margin 43.8 points per game. This U.S. team scored 98.75 points per game, its largest at worlds since 1994.

“We came here on a mission, a business trip,” tournament MVP A’ja Wilson said in a post-game press conference before turning to coach Cheryl Reeve. “We played pretty good, I think, coach.”

Since the U.S. won a seventh consecutive Olympic title in Tokyo, Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles retired. Tina Charles ceded her national team spot to younger players. Brittney Griner was detained in Russia (and still is). Diana Taurasi suffered a WNBA season-ending quad injury that ruled her out of World Cup participation (who knows if the 40-year-old Taurasi will play for the U.S. again).

Not only that, but Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach, implementing a new up-tempo system.

“There was probably great concern, and maybe around the world they kind of looked at it and said, ‘Hey, now is the time to get the USA,'” Reeve said Saturday.

The U.S. response was encapsulated by power forward Alyssa Thomas, the oldest player on the roster at age 30 who made the U.S. team for the first time in her career, started every game and was called the team’s glue and MVP going into the final.

Wilson and Tokyo Olympic MVP Breanna Stewart were the leaders. Guard Kelsey Plum, a Tokyo Olympic 3×3 player, blossomed this past WNBA season and was third in the league’s MVP voting. She averaged the most minutes on the team, scored 15.8 points per game and had 17 in the final.

“The depth of talent that we have was on display,” Reeve said. “What I am most pleased about was the trust and buy-in.”

For the first time since 1994, no player on the U.S. roster was over the age of 30, creating a scary thought for the 2024 Paris Olympics: the Americans could get even better.

“When you say best-ever, I’m always really cautious with that, because, obviously, there are great teams,” Reeve said when asked specifically about the team’s defense. “This group was really hard to play against.”

Earlier Saturday, 41-year-old Australian legend Lauren Jackson turned back the clock with a 30-point performance off the bench in her final game as an Opal, a 95-65 victory over Canada for the bronze. Jackson, who came out of a six-year retirement and played her first major tournament since the 2012 Olympics, had her best scoring performance since the 2008 Olympics.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

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The U.S. women’s basketball team won its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headlined a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, included neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team had nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 60 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The U.S. beat China in the final, while host Australia took bronze to send 41-year-old Lauren Jackson into retirement.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), wasn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule, Results

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium 85, Bosnia and Herzegovina 55 Group A
11:30 p.m. Serbia 81, Mali 68 Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA 145, South Korea 69 Group A
2 a.m. France 67, Japan 53 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 95, Puerto Rico 60 Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia 75, Canada 72 Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 92, South Korea 73 Group A
11:30 p.m. China 81, Belgium 55 Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA 121, Bosnia and Herzegovina 59 Group A
2 a.m. Canada 88, Mali 65 Group B
3:30 a.m. Serbia 68, France 62 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 71, Japan 54 Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. USA 88, Serbia 55 Quarterfinals
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Canada 79, Puerto Rico 60 Quarterfinals
4 a.m. China 85, France 71 Quarterfinals
6:30 a.m. Australia 86, Belgium 69 Quarterfinals
Fri., Sept. 30 3 a.m. USA 83, Canada 43 Semifinals
5:30 a.m. China 61, Australia 59 Semifinals
11 p.m. Australia 95, Canada 65 Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. USA 83, China 61 Gold-Medal Game