Serena Williams treated differently than men in U.S. Open final, WTA CEO says

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Serena Williams argued that a male player would have been treated differently in her U.S. Open final episode Saturday. The WTA agrees.

“The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same,” WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement Sunday. “We do not believe that this was done last night.”

Among Williams’ arguments with chair umpire Carlos Ramos was contesting her third code violation, verbal abuse, after she called Ramos a liar and a thief for an earlier violation for her coach’s illegal coaching from the stands.

“You know how many other men do things that are much worse than that? This is not fair,” Williams insisted when talking to tournament referee Brian Earley and WTA supervisor Donna Kelso on the during the final with Naomi Osaka. “There are men out here that do a lot worse, but because I’m a woman, you’re going to take this away from me? That is not right.”

Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said after the match that he was coaching Williams, though he didn’t think Williams was looking at him at the time Ramos called the violation. Regardless, Mouratoglou said all coaches break the rule, and it had never been enforced on him before the U.S. Open final.

“[Saturday] also brought to the forefront the question of whether different standards are applied to men and women in the officiating of matches,” Simon said in the statement. “We also think the issue of coaching needs to be addressed and should be allowed across the sport. The WTA supports coaching through its on-court coaching rule, but further review is needed.”

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Athletes, anti-doping leaders issues statement on RUSADA status

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More Olympic athletes and anti-doping leaders have come out in protest of the possible reinstatement of Russia’s anti-doping agency.

Members of the athletes committees from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the U.S. Olympic Committee, along with a group of international anti-doping leaders and a key supporter of a Russian whistleblower, released statements Tuesday urging WADA’s executive committee not to reinstate RUSADA when it meets later this week.

Jim Swartz, a supporter of former Moscow anti-doping lab director Grigory Rodchenkov, said “WADA has undermined its own moral and regulatory authority” by proposing a weakened version of the roadmap to bring RUSADA back into compliance.

The agency has been suspended for nearly three years in the wake of what investigators said was a state-sponsored doping scandal designed to win Olympic medals.

The WADA athletes’ group is led by Beckie Scott, who resigned her position on WADA’s compliance review committee after it recommended RUSADA’s reinstatement last week.

Italy’s focus for 2026 bid now on Milan, Cortina d’Ampezzo

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ROME (AP) — Italy’s three-pronged bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics has been reduced to a two-city candidacy featuring Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Following Turin’s exclusion, the Italian Olympic Committee is sending a delegation featuring Milan and Cortina representatives to meet with IOC leaders on Wednesday.

The move comes after government undersecretary and sports delegate Giancarlo Giorgetti told the Senate on Tuesday that the three-city proposal “is dead.”

Turin’s exclusion follows infighting between Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala and Turin counterpart Chiara Appendino, who had been arguing over the bid’s leadership and naming rights.

Peliminary bids are due to be presented at IOC meetings in Buenos Aires next month.

“The candidacy needs to be saved, so we’re open to moving forward together,” Veneto region president Luca Zaia and Lombardy region president Attilio Fontana said in a joint statement.

“If Turin is withdrawing, which upsets us, at this point two realities remain, and they are called Veneto and Lombardy. So we are moving forward with the Lombardy-Veneto Olympics.”

Under the revised plan, hockey and speedskating — which had been slotted for venues built for the 2006 Turin Games — would be held in Milan. Alpine skiing would be held in 1956 host Cortina, while biathlon would be slated for nearby Anterselva — a regular stop on the biathlon World Cup circuit.

Three other bids remain in contention for 2026: Stockholm, Sweden; Calgary, Canada; and Erzurum, Turkey.

The Japanese city of Sapporo dropped its bid on Monday following a recent earthquake.

International Olympic Committee members will pick the host in Milan in October 2019. While IOC rules have long prevented bids from the host country of an IOC session, new rules have created more leeway.

Italy is anxious to bring a bid through the entire process after two Rome candidacies were withdrawn.

Two years ago, Italy was forced to end Rome’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics because of staunch opposition from the city’s mayor. And in 2012, then-premier Mario Monti scrapped the city’s bid for the 2020 Olympics because of financial concerns.