IAAF issues guidelines on Russian track athletes bidding for Olympics

IAAF flag
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MONACO (AP) — The IAAF issued guidelines for Russian track and field athletes seeking “exceptional” dispensation to compete in the upcoming Olympics, insisting again Wednesday that they could do so as “neutral” athletes and not under their national flag.

Track and field’s governing body has been at odds with the International Olympic Committee, which says any Russian athletes approved by the IAAF would compete under their national banner at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Last Friday, the IAAF upheld its ban on Russian track and field athletes because of systematic doping, but also passed a rule change that allows some athletes to apply to compete in special circumstances.

The IAAF said a limited number of Russian athletes, perhaps a handful, would fall into that category.

The federation said Wednesday that the guidelines cover “any individual athletes who can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system because they have been outside the country and subject to other effective anti-doping systems.”

Those athletes “should be able to apply for permission to compete in international competitions, not for Russia but as a neutral athlete,” the IAAF said.

The release of the guidelines poses a further challenge to the IOC, which said Tuesday that the IAAF has no say on which flags athletes compete under at the Olympics.

The IOC said it backed the IAAF’s decision to maintain the ban on the Russian track federation. However, IOC President Thomas Bach said Tuesday that any athletes approved by the IAAF would come under the control of the Russian Olympic Committee and compete under the national flag.

Bach’s statement opened a crack in what had meant to be a united front on Russia. World Anti-Doping Agency President Craig Reedie, who is also an IOC vice president, came out publicly Wednesday in support of the IAAF and against the IOC on the flag issue.

The IAAF guidelines on the Russians will first apply at the European Championships in Amsterdam from July 6-10. The Rio Games run from Aug. 5-21.

“We know there are some Russian athletes considering applying to compete in international competitions under this new rule so it is important that they are clear about the criteria under which their application will be received,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said.

Russian officials and athletes have said they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on grounds that “clean” athletes are being unfairly excluded because of the violations of others.

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U.S. men’s gymnastics team named for world championships

Asher Hong
Allison and John Cheng/USA Gymnastics
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Asher Hong, Colt Walker and world pommel horse champion Stephen Nedoroscik were named to the last three spots on the U.S. men’s gymnastics team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Brody Malone and Donnell Whittenburg earned the first spots on the team by placing first and second in the all-around at August’s U.S. Championships.

Hong, Walker and Nedoroscik were chosen by a committee after two days of selection camp competition in Colorado Springs this week. Malone and Whittenburg did not compete at the camp.

Hong, 18, will become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009. He nearly earned a spot on the team at the U.S. Championships, but erred on his 12th and final routine of that meet to drop from second to third in the all-around. At this week’s camp, Hong had the lowest all-around total of the four men competing on all six apparatuses, but selectors still chose him over Tokyo Olympians Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus.

Walker, a Stanford junior, will make his world championships debut. He would have placed second at nationals in August if a bonus system for attempting difficult skills wasn’t in place. With that bonus system not in place at the selection camp, he had the highest all-around total. The bonus system is not used at international meets such as world championships.

Nedoroscik rebounded from missing the Tokyo Olympic team to become the first American to win a world title on pommel horse last fall. Though he is the lone active U.S. male gymnast with a global gold medal, he was in danger of missing this five-man team because of struggles on the horse at the U.S. Championships. Nedoroscik, who does not compete on the other five apparatuses, put up his best horse routine of the season on the last day of the selection camp Wednesday.

Moldauer, who tweeted that he was sick all last week, was named the traveling alternate for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. It would be the first time that Moldauer, who was fourth in the all-around at last fall’s worlds, does not compete at worlds since 2015.

Though the U.S. has not made the team podium at an Olympics or worlds since 2014, it is boosted this year by the absence of Olympic champion Russia, whose athletes are banned indefinitely due to the war in Ukraine. In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

The U.S. women’s world team of five will be announced after a selection camp in two weeks. Tokyo Olympians Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles are in contention.

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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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