AP Photo

Jin Boyang explains this season’s setbacks

Leave a comment

GRENOBLE, France — China’s Jin Boyang, the 2016 and 2017 World bronze medalist, is considered part of the original “quad squad” that took figure skating by storm these last three years (Yuzuru Hanyu, Shoma Uno, Nathan Chen and Jin). Jin was the first to land a quad Lutz-triple toe combination.

He was also nearly the first Chinese male singles skater to earn an Olympic medal, placing fourth in PyeongChang.

His follow-up Grand Prix campaign was a nightmare. He was fifth in Helsinki earlier this month and ninth at Internationaux de France last week.

Jin didn’t have high expectations for the fall events, attributing poor results to media pressure and logistical problems.

It started in the summer, when the Chinese federation announced that Jin would relocate to Toronto to train in Brian Orser’s camp. That struck like a hammer to Jin’s head.

“I felt a lot of pressure … both from the media and from my friends,” he said through an interpreter in Grenoble. “I was overwhelmed by that pressure.

“But it’s not the right place for me to speak of it at this moment. I’d like to be known for what I’m doing in competition, not because of these stories.”

It soon became apparent that Jin would stay in China.

Jin’s travel to both of his Grand Prix events was delayed. For Helsinki, the name on his ticket was different than the name on his passport.

“The day I was due to leave for France, I still had not received my visa,” he said. “I first had to re-book my flight for the next day. Then I was expecting my visa that day, but at 5:30 p.m. it was still not there, and the French embassy was closing at 6 p.m. I had to fly the next morning at 2 a.m.”

He was on the ice Thursday, one day before competition started.

“My practice sessions went rather well in Grenoble, but I certainly lacked confidence on the competitive ice,” Jin said. “It’s not that it created a big mental problem for me, but missing a flight three times can destabilize you, for sure.”

One thing was most visible in Grenoble, however: Jin improved his artistry significantly.

“After the Games I could spend a lot of time with Lori Nichol, my choreographer, discussing what kind of movements I could present in competition,” he said. “She told me to be a happy skater, a happy Boyang. She gave me confidence.”

Jin also disclosed a slice of his own personal history that few were aware of: his ballet past, something he shares with Chen.

“I was a good dancer as a child. I trained in ballet, Latin dances, jazz, you name it,” he said. “When I started to skate competitively, I was short, and I had to forget about ballet to start learning jumps. I had to focus on jumps, and I think that’s when I forgot about ballet.

“Coming back to dance now, I feel that I am now closer to the ideal skater I wanted to be originally. I have hired a Flamenco teacher myself to teach me the movements. I am also reviewing a lot of shows and TV videos to help me improve my artistry.”

Writer Feng Xiao interpreted the Jin interview.

As a reminder, you can watch the ISU Grand Prix Series live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Yuzuru Hanyu withdraws from Grand Prix Final

IOC group proposes Olympic ‘host’ can be multiple countries

Getty Images
Leave a comment

International Olympic Committee members will decide next month whether to tweak the definition of an Olympic host to make it clear that it does not necessarily refer to a single city but can also mean multiple cities, regions and even countries, IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday.

“It’s not an encouragement to spread the Games out as much as possible,” Bach said in announcing the IOC’s executive board approved the measure. “It may be preferable to have a region as a signatory or an additional signatory of the host city contract rather than just a city, and therefore, we wanted to enjoy this flexibility. This, on the other hand, does not change our vision, our request and our focus on having not only an Olympic Village, but to have an Olympic center.”

It’s one of six proposed changes by a working group chaired by Australian IOC member John Coates to examine the bid process. Another is to make the timing of Olympic host city elections more flexible. Typically, hosts are elected seven years before the Games, though two years ago an exception was made in the double awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Games to Paris and Los Angeles.

Bach repeated that the proposals are “to avoid producing too many losers as we had it in the past candidature procedures.”

The IOC previously said in 2014, in announcing Agenda 2020, that it “will allow events held outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country, notably for reasons of geography and sustainability.”

This shift manifests in Stockholm’s 2026 Winter Olympic bid plan to have sliding sports in Sigulda, Latvia, home of the nearest existing track for bobsled, luge and skeleton, rather than building a costly new track in Sweden.

IOC members will vote to choose the 2026 Winter Games host next month. The finalists are Stockholm and a joint Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, after five other potential candidates were dropped for various reasons.

There is precedent for events held far from the Olympic host city. In 1956, Melbourne held the Summer Games and had equestrian events in Stockholm due to quarantine laws in Australia. Similarly, equestrian at the 2008 Beijing Games was held in Hong Kong.

Soccer matches are often held in cities across the host country. Recent Winter Olympics have had mountain events in a different city or area than arena events.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Matthew Boling, high school sprint phenom, chooses summer meets

IOC board recommends AIBA suspension, boxing stays in Olympics

AP
Leave a comment

The International Olympic Committee executive board recommended that AIBA has its recognition as boxing’s international federation suspended but that the sport remains on the Olympic program at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

An IOC decision on the recommendation will be made next month. The IOC created a group to organize 2020 Olympic boxing qualifying and competition if AIBA will not be allowed to run it.

“We want to ensure that the athletes can live their dream and participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 while drawing the necessary consequences for AIBA,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a press release. “At the same time, we offer a pathway back to lifting the suspension, but there needs to be further fundamental change.”

The IOC said in October that boxing’s place in the Olympics was “under threat” after being introduced at the 1904 St. Louis Games and held at every Games since except Stockholm 1912.

In November, the IOC ordered an inquiry into AIBA, which has been in financial turmoil, faced claims of fixed bouts at the Rio Games and elected a president linked to organized crime.

That president, Uzbek Gafur Rakhimov, stepped aside in March to let an interim leader take charge but said he was not resigning. Rakhimov is on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for suspected links to an organized crime group in former Soviet Union republics involved in heroin trafficking. He denies any wrongdoing.

“Serious governance issues remain, including breaches of the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics regarding good governance and ethics, leading to serious reputational, legal and financial risks for the IOC, the Olympic Movement and its stakeholders,” the inquiry committee concluded. “AIBA has been unable to demonstrate a sustainable and fair management of refereeing and judging processes and decisions, increasing the lack of confidence that athletes can have in fair competitions.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Matthew Boling, high school sprint phenom, chooses summer meets