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What to watch in Olympic sports this week

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The 2019 Nordic World Ski Championships extend into its second week of competition in Seefeld, Austria. The U.S.’ cross-country Olympic gold medalist, Jessie Diggins, is still in search of her first podium finish at this year’s event after picking up two medals at worlds in 2017.

Her best result at the event so far has been a fifth place finish with teammate Sadie Bjornsen in the women’s team sprint.

The men’s and women’s relays, the must-see races at worlds in cross-country, kick off with the women on Thursday, February 28. Watch live on TV or streaming with Olympic Channel at 7:00 a.m. ET. The men put their skis on the start line for the relay on Friday, March 1 at 7:15 a.m. ET, with live coverage on OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold. The race will also air on TV at 7:30 a.m. ET on Olympic Channel.

Another top event this week, the 2019 Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships begin on Friday, March 1 where reigning world champion, the U.S.’ Elana Meyers Taylor, returns to the track where she has finished on the podium five times in her career, including an Olympic bronze-medal finish at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Last November in the Whistler chute, Meyers Taylor posted a first-place finish in her event at the North American Cup. Riding along for the majority of this season with Meyers Taylor has been rookie brakewoman Lake Kwaza, but in the final World Cup event of the season this past week, Meyers Taylor reunited with her 2018 Olympic teammate Lauren Gibbs for a second place finish in Calgary.

The women’s bobsled competition begins on Saturday, March 2 at 2:30 p.m. ET. Watch live on TV or streaming on Olympic Channel.

The World Cup tour for Alpine ski racing resumes this weekend with speed events for both the men and women. Both tours will compete in downhill and Super-G, but in separate locations. The men’s tour heads to Kvitfjell, Norway while the women’s tour makes camp in Sochi, Russia.

The men’s downhill opens competition on Friday, March 1 at 5:00 a.m. ET. Stream the event live on OlympicChannel.com or with an NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass.

World Cup gymnasts descend on Greensboro, North Carolina on Saturday, March 2 for the American Cup All-Around event. Coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. ET live on TV and streaming with Olympic Channel, and shifts to NBC at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Check out the full schedule of Olympic sport events on TV and streaming this week on NBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel, OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold.   

ALPINE SKIING WORLD CUP — Kvitfjell, Norway; Sochi, Russia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 5:00 a.m. Men’s Downhill Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 2:30 a.m. Women’s Super-G Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 a.m. Men’s Downhill Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 1:00 a.m. Women’s Super-G* NBCSN
2:30 a.m. Women’s Super-G Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
5 a.m. Men’s Super-G Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Women’s Super-G* NBCSN

*Same-day and next day delay

JUNIOR ALPINE SKIING CHAMPIONSHIPS — Val di Fassa, Italy

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 3:30 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
8:00 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) OlympicChannel.com
Tuesday 3:30 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
8:00 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 2) OlympicChannel.com

BOBSLED AND SKELETON WORLD CUP — Calgary, Alberta

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 12:30 a.m. Four-Man Bobsled (Run 2)* NBCSN

*Encore presentation

BOBSLED AND SKELETON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Whistler, British Columbia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 8:00 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Run 1 OlympicChannel.com
9:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Run 2 OlympicChannel.com
10:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Run 1* Olympic Channel
11:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Run 2* Olympic Channel
Saturday 2:30 p.m. Women’s Bobsled: Run 1 Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com
4:00 p.m. Women’s Bobsled: Run 2 Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com
8:00 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Run 3 OlympicChannel.com
9:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Final Run OlympicChannel.com
10:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Run 3* Olympic Channel
11:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Final Run* Olympic Channel
Sunday 2:30 p.m. Women’s Bobsled: Run 3 Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com
4:00 p.m. Women’s Bobsled: Final Run Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com
5:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Final Run* NBCSN
7:00 p.m. Team Event Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com
11:00 p.m. Women’s Bobsled: Final Run* NBCSN

*Same-day delay

FREESTYLE SKIING WORLD CUP — Shimao Lotus Mountain, China; Shymbulak, Kazakhstan

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 12:30 a.m. Aerials Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
2:30 a.m. Moguls OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
5:00 p.m. Moguls* Olympic Channel
Sunday 12:30 a.m. Team Aerials Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
2:30 a.m. Dual Moguls OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. Dual Moguls* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

NASTIA LIUKIN CUP, AMERICAN CUP GYMNASTICS — Greensboro, North Carolina

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 7:00 p.m. Nastia Liukin Cup Gymnastics Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
Saturday 11:30 a.m. American Cup Gymnastics Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
1:00 p.m. American Cup Gymnastics NBC NBC
11:00 p.m. Nastia Liukin Cup Gymnastics* NBCSN

*Next-day delay

LUGE WORLD CUP — Sochi, Russia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 11:00 p.m. Men’s Singles (Run 2)* NBCSN

*Encore presentation

NORDIC WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS — Seefeld, Austria

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. Cross-Country: Women’s 10km Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
10:15 a.m. Ski Jumping: Women’s NH Team Final OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. Cross-Country: Women’s 10km* NBCSN
2:00 p.m. Ski Jumping: Women’s NH Team Final* Olympic Channel
Wednesday 8:00 a.m. Cross-Country: Men’s 15km Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
10:15 a.m. Ski Jumping: Women’s NH Final Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Thursday 1:00 a.m. Cross-Country: Men’s 15km* NBCSN
2:00 a.m. Ski Jumping: Women’s NH Final* NBCSN
5:00 a.m. Nordic Combined: NH Ski Jumping Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. Cross-Country: Women’s 4x5km Relay Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
9:00 a.m. Nordic Combined: Indiv. 10km Cross-Country Ski Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Friday 7:15 a.m. Cross-Country: Men’s 4x10km Relay OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Cross-Country: Men’s 4x10km Relay* Olympic Channel
10:00 a.m. Ski Jumping: Men’s NH Final Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 5:00 a.m. Nordic Combined: NH Team Ski Jumping OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
6:00 a.m. Nordic Combined: NH Team Ski Jumping* Olympic Channel
6:15 a.m. Cross-Country: Women’s 30km OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Cross-Country: Women’s 30km* Olympic Channel
8:30 a.m. Nordic Combined: 4x5km Cross-Country Relay Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. Ski Jumping: Mixed Team Event OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. Ski Jumping: Mixed Team Event* Olympic Channel
Sunday 7:00 a.m. Cross-Country: Men’s 50km Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day and next day delay

SNOWBOARDING WORLD CUP — Baqueira Beret, Spain

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 7:30 a.m. Snowboard Cross OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold

WORLD ALLROUND SPEED SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS — Calgary, Alberta

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 2:00 p.m. Day 1 NBC Sports Gold
10:00 p.m. Day 1* Olympic Channel
Sunday 2:00 p.m. Day 2 NBC Sports Gold
10:00 p.m. Day 2* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

TOKYO MARATHON — Tokyo, Japan

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 7:00 p.m. From Tokyo, Japan Olympic Channel Olympic Channel

TRACK CYCLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Pruszkow, Poland

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. Day 1 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 p.m. Day 1* Olympic Channel
Thursday 12:30 p.m. Day 2 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 p.m. Day 2* Olympic Channel
Friday 12:30 p.m. Day 3 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
9:30 p.m. Day 3* Olympic Channel
Saturday 11:00 a.m. Day 4 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
6:00 p.m. Day 4* Olympic Channel
Sunday 6:00 a.m. Day 5 (Semifinals) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 a.m. Day 5 (Finals) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. From Pruszkow, Poland* NBCSN

*Same-day delay

Weightlifting investigation finds doping cover-ups

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DÜSSELDORF, Germany (AP) — An investigation into the International Weightlifting Federation has found doping cover-ups and millions of dollars in missing money, lead investigator Richard McLaren said Thursday.

McLaren said 40 positive doping tests were “hidden” in IWF records and that athletes whose cases were delayed or covered up went on to win medals at the world championships and other events. The cases will be referred to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

“We found systematic governance failures and corruption at the highest level of the IWF,” McLaren said.

The International Olympic Committee said it was studying the report “very carefully,” adding that “the content is deeply concerning.”

McLaren said former IWF president Tamas Ajan was “an autocratic leader” who kept the board in the dark about finances and left officials fearing reprisals if they spoke out. Ajan received cash payments on behalf of the IWF as doping fines from national federations or sponsors, the report said, but what happened to some of the money is unclear.

McLaren said $10.4 million was unaccounted for, based on his team’s analysis of cash going in and out of the IWF over several years. Ajan denies any wrongdoing.

The largest fine recorded in the report was $500,000 paid by Azerbaijan. It’s unclear how that payment was made. On one trip to Thailand for a competition and conference, Ajan collected more than $440,000 across 18 cash payments, according to the report.

“Everyone was kept in financial ignorance through the use of hidden bank accounts (and transfers),” McLaren said. “Some cash was accounted for, some was not.”

McLaren said that the investigation found information which law enforcement “might be interested in,” and that he would cooperate with any later investigations. That was echoed by Ajan’s successor at the IWF.

“The activities that have been revealed and the behavior that has occurred in the years past is absolutely unacceptable and possibly criminal,” IWF interim president Ursula Garza Papandrea said.

She added that the IWF will pass on information to law enforcement if it indicates there were “potential crimes.”

McLaren said Ajan “permitted the (federation) elections to be bought by vote brokers” as he kept the presidency and promoted favored officials. Large cash withdrawals were made ahead of federation congresses, McLaren said, adding that voters were bribed and had to take pictures of their ballots to show to brokers.

The 81-year-old Ajan stepped down in April, ending a 20-year reign as president and a total 44 years in federation posts. A month before that he also gave up his honorary membership of the International Olympic Committee.

In a statement to Hungarian state news agency MTI, Ajan said the IWF’s finances were managed in a “lawful” manner with oversight from the board.

“All my life, I’ve abided by the laws, the written and unwritten rules and customs of the sport,” he said.

Ajan accused McLaren’s team of not giving him enough information to respond to the allegations about his conduct.

Ajan was a full IOC member between 2000 and 2010, voting to select Olympic host cities. A previous complaint about IWF finances in 2010 was closed by the IOC.

McLaren’s investigation was sparked in January when German broadcaster ARD reported financial irregularities at the federation and apparent doping cover-ups.

The focus of the investigation was on the period from 2009 through 2019. McLaren said he heard allegations of misconduct dating back as far as the 1980s, but chose to prioritize more recent matters with stronger evidence.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said it welcomed McLaren’s findings.

“Once WADA has had the opportunity to review that evidence as well as the report in full, the Agency will consider the next appropriate steps to take,” it said in a statement.

Some allegations regarding doping misconduct around the 2019 world championships in Thailand and involving athletes from Moldova were passed to the International Testing Agency, which is still investigating.

McLaren, a Canadian law professor, was WADA’s lead investigator for Russian doping and has judged cases at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Weightlifting’s reputation under Ajan had already been hit by dozens of steroid doping cases revealed in retests of samples from the Olympics since 2008.

Since he left office in April, the IWF has begun moving its headquarters from Ajan’s home country of Hungary to the Swiss city of Lausanne, where the International Olympic Committee is based.

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Gwendolyn Berry gets apology from USOPC CEO after reprimand for podium gesture

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Olympic hammer thrower Gwendolyn Berry said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland apologized to her Wednesday “for not understanding the severity of the impact her decisions had on me,” after Berry was put on probation last August for one year after raising her fist at the end of the national anthem at the 2019 Pan American Games.

“I am grateful to Gwen for her time and her honesty last night,” Hirshland said in a statement. “I heard her. I apologized for how my decisions made her feel and also did my best to explain why I made them. Gwen has a powerful voice in this national conversation, and I am sure that together we can use the platform of Olympic and Paralympic sport to address and fight against systematic inequality and racism in our country.”

Berry and fencer Race Imboden were sent August letters of reprimand by Hirshland, along with each receiving probation, after each made a podium gesture at Pan Ams in Peru.

This week, Berry tweeted that she wanted a public apology from Hirshland. That tweet came after Hirshland sent a letter to U.S. athletes on Monday night, condemning “systemic inequality that disproportionately impacts Black Americans in the United States.”

Then on Wednesday night, Berry said she had a “really productive” 40-minute phone call with Hirshland, USATF CEO Max Siegel and other USATF officials.

“I didn’t necessarily ask for [an apology] from [Hirshland],” Berry said Thursday. Berry said she lost two-thirds of her income after Pan Ams, that sponsors dropped her in connection to the raised fist fallout.

“We came to some good conclusions,” Berry said of the group call. “The most important thing were figuring out ways to move forward. [Hirshland] was aware of things that she did and how she made me feel about the situation, and I was happy that I was able to express to her my grievances and she was able to express to me how she felt as well about the situation.”

Berry said her probation, which is believed to still be in effect, wasn’t discussed. She made a point to say that USATF has always been on her side.

“The conversation was more for awareness purposes, and we’ll probably have more conversations this week,” said Berry.

Berry also plans to participate in a U.S. athlete town hall Friday.

“First and foremost, we should and we will discuss how people are just feeling and how people are holding up because athletes in general, because of the pandemic and because of everything that’s been going on, I know a lot of people are in distress, they’re sad, they’re confused,” she said. “I think that’ll be the main point of the discussion. Just to make sure everybody’s OK. Just to see how everybody’s holding on.”

On Aug. 10, Berry raised her fist at the end of the national anthem after winning the Pan American Games title.

The next morning, Berry said the gesture, which drew memories of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico City Games, wasn’t meant to be a big message, but it quickly became a national story.

“Just a testament to everything I’ve been through in the past year, and everything the country has been through this past year,” she said then. “A lot of things need to be done and said and changed. I’m not trying to start a political war or act like I’m miss-know-it-all or anything like that. I just know America can do better.”

Berry said then that the motivation behind her gesture included the challenges overcome of changing coaches and moving from Oxford, Miss., where her family resides, to Houston.

“Every individual person has their own views of things that are going on,” she said. “It’s in the Constitution, freedom of speech. I have a right to feel what I want to feel. It’s no disrespect at all to the country. I want to make that very clear. If anything, I’m doing it out of love and respect for people in the country.”

Berry also said that weekend, according to USA Today, that she was standing for “extreme injustice.”

“Somebody has to talk about the things that are too uncomfortable to talk about. Somebody has to stand for all of the injustices that are going on in America and a president who’s making it worse,” Berry said, according to that report. “It’s too important to not say something. Something has to be said. If nothing is said, nothing will be done, and nothing will be fixed, and nothing will be changed.”

NBC Olympics senior researcher Alex Azzi contributed to this report.

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