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IOC will cooperate with Brazilian Olympic ticket probe

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee promised to cooperate Wednesday with Brazilian authorities in the ticket scalping investigation that has targeted one of its executive board members.

The statement came as IOC President Thomas Bach missed the opening of the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, where police wanted to interview him about the case.

Patrick Hickey, president of Ireland’s national Olympic committee, was among 10 people charged by Brazilian prosecutors on Tuesday with ticket scalping, conspiracy and ambush marketing in a case that broke during last month’s Rio Games.

Police investigator Aloysio Falcao said authorities want to speak with Bach about email exchanges between him and Hickey related to ticket allocations to Ireland.

Falcao said police had planned to “summon” Bach when he came to Rio for Wednesday’s opening ceremony of the Paralympics, adding that authorities have no evidence that he knew of the alleged ticket scam.

Bach canceled plans to attend the opening. The IOC said he would be in Germany instead for the official state mourning ceremony for former West German President Walter Scheel, who died last month at the age of 97.

It’s the first time an IOC president has missed the opening of a Paralympics since they were held in conjunction with the Summer Olympics in 1988.

The Brazilian newspaper Globo said Bach would be subpoenaed as a witness if he came to Brazil.

“The IOC cannot comment on a newspaper story nor on the ongoing legal procedure against Mr. Hickey for whom the presumption of innocence prevails,” the IOC said in a statement to The Associated Press. “For the IOC it goes without saying that it will cooperate on this matter.”

It’s unclear if Bach will go to Brazil for any of the Paralympics, which last until Sept. 18.

Hickey went to police headquarters in Rio on Tuesday, but declined to answer additional questions.

“We found enough evidence linking Hickey to this plot to sell tickets by a company that was not authorized,” prosecutor Marcos Kac told The Associated Press. “These are tickets that were sold for up to $8,000.”

The 71-year-old Hickey was arrested on Aug. 17 during the Olympics in a dawn raid on his Rio hotel room. After a two-day stay in a local hospital to undergo tests, he was held in a high-security prison complex.

Hickey was freed last week when a judge ruled that he wasn’t a risk to the public or the investigation. His passport was confiscated, and he must remain in Brazil until the case is concluded.

Hickey has temporality “stepped aside” from all his Olympic roles — IOC member, IOC executive board representative, Olympic Council of Ireland president, head of the European Olympic Committees and vice president of the Association of National Olympic Committees.

Police have said that Hickey plotted with businessmen to transfer tickets illegally from a sports company called Pro 10 to hospitality provider THG Sports, which was a non-authorized vendor and allegedly sold them for very high fees. Police investigators said the scheme was planned to bring in $3 million.

The head of THG Sports, Kevin James Mallon, was arrested on Aug. 5 in the case, but was set free, like Hickey. He faces the same charges and must remain in Brazil.

The eight other suspects are businessmen with Pro10 and THG Sports who are not in Brazil, including Marcus Evans, who owns THG Sports’ parent company, as well as English soccer club Ipswich.

Investigators have also found evidence linking 35 other National Olympic Committees to the Marcus Evans group. Rio police will communicate this to other governments but are not expanding their own investigation.

MORE: Rio Paralympics broadcast schedule

Chloe Dygert crashes over guard rail, fails to finish world championships time trial

Chloe Dygert
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American Chloé Dygert crashed over a guard rail and failed to finish the world road cycling championships time trial, where she appeared en route to a repeat title in Imola, Italy.

Dygert, who last year won by the largest margin in history as the youngest-ever champion, lost control of her bike while approaching a curve to the right. Her front wheel bobbled, and she collided with the barricade, flipping over into an area with grass.

Dygert, her legs appearing bloodied, was tended to by several people, put on a stretcher and taken toward an ambulance.

“All we know is that she is conscious and talking,” according to USA Cycling, about 25 minutes after the crash. “More updates to come.”

About 10 minutes after the crash, Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen won her first time trial title.

Van der Breggen took silver the last three years behind Dygert and countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, who missed this year’s race after breaking her wrist last week in the Giro Rosa.

Dygert, 23, had a 26-second lead at the 14-kilometer time check of the 31-kilometer race. Full results are here.

Dygert qualified for the Tokyo Olympics when she won last year’s world time trial title. She has been bidding to make the Olympics on the road and the track.

Worlds continue Friday with the men’s time trial airing on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold for Cycling Pass subscribers at 8:15 a.m. ET. A full TV schedule is here.

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MORE: USA Cycling names Olympic team finalists

Diamond League slate ends in Doha with record holders; TV, stream info

Mondo Duplantis
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The Diamond League season ends on Friday in the place where it was supposed to start — Doha.

Like many sports, track and field’s calendar was put in disarray by the coronavirus pandemic. The Doha meet, originally scheduled for April 17 to open an Olympic season, was postponed five months while other stops were canceled altogether.

Now, Doha caps an unlikely season that still produced stirring performances. NBCSN coverage starts at 12 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Gold also streams live for subscribers.

The headliner is Swedish pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis, a leading contender for Male Athlete of the Year. Duplantis, who twice bettered the world record in February at indoor meets, last week produced the highest outdoor clearance in history, too, breaking a 26-year-old Sergey Bubka record.

Duplantis can mimic Bubka on Friday by attempting to raise his world record another centimeter — to 6.19 meters, or more than 20 feet, 3 inches.

The deepest track event in Doha is the finale, the women’s 3000m, featuring 3000m steeplechase world-record holder Beatrice Chepkoech, 5000m world champion Hellen Obiri and rising 1500m runner Gudaf Tsegay.

Here are the Doha entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

11:18 a.m. ET — Men’s Pole Vault
11:33 — Men’s 200m
12:03 p.m. — Men’s 400m
12:08 — Women’s Long Jump
12:12 — Women’s 100m Hurdles
12:21 — Men’s 1500m
12:34 — Men’s 110m Hurdles
12:43 — Women’s 800m
12:56 — Women’s 100m
1:07 — Men’s 800m
1:18 — Women’s 3000m

Here are three events to watch (statistics via Tilastopaja.org):

Men’s Pole Vault — 11:18 a.m.
Duplantis looks to complete a perfect 2020 against his two primary rivals — reigning world champion and American Sam Kendricks (who went undefeated in 2017) and 2012 Olympic champion and former world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie of France. Kendricks was the last man to beat Duplantis, at those 2019 World Championships, and is the only man to clear a height within nine inches of Duplantis’ best this outdoor season.

Women’s 100m — 12:56 p.m.
Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah looks poised to finish the year as the world’s fastest woman after clocking 10.85 seconds in Rome last week, her fastest time outside of Jamaica in more than three years. That’s one hundredth faster than countrywoman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce‘s best time of 2020. Thompson-Herah was fifth and fourth at the last two world championships after sweeping the Rio Olympic sprints. Like in Rome, her primary challengers in Doha are Ivorian Marie-Josée Ta Lou and 2018 U.S. champion Aleia Hobbs.

Women’s 3000m — 1:18 p.m.
A meeting of titans in a non-Olympic event. Chepkoech is the fastest steeplechaser in history by eight seconds. Obiri is the fastest Kenyan in history in the 3000m and the 5000m. Tsegay, just 23, chopped 3.26 seconds off her 1500m personal best in 2019, taking bronze at the world championships to become the second-fastest Ethiopian in history in that event. In all, the field includes five medalists from the 2019 Worlds across four different events.

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