Coronavirus wreaks more havoc with sports schedules, including track and field championship

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The World Athletics Indoor Championship, the pinnacle of track and field’s winter season, has been pushed back one year, joining a long list of sports events that have been scrubbed, moved or postponed indefinitely due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China.

The indoor championship was scheduled for March 13-15 in Nanjing, China.

World Athletics (formerly the IAAF) considered relocating the event but said it was concerned by the spread of the virus outside China as well. Postponing the biennial event to 2021 also gives Nanjing the opportunity to put its preparation to use.

“The advice from our medical team, who are in contact with the World Health Organisation, is that the spread of the Coronavirus both within China and outside the country is still at a concerning level and no one should be going ahead with any major gathering that can be postponed,” a World Athletics statement said.

Other organizations agree, moving or postponing their own major gatherings, some of them at 2022 Olympic venues and some affecting qualification for the 2020 Games.

Winter X Games: China has hosted the X Games in the summer, but the Feb. 21-23 competition at the Olympic venue of Genting Resort Secret Garden in Chongli was due to be the first Winter X Games in the country. The event is in limbo after organizers announced its postponement earlier this week.

Alpine skiing World Cup: Another event that would have taken place at an Olympic venue and would have been the first of its kind in China was scrubbed on Wednesday. The course in Yanqing, China, was due to host a men’s downhill and super-G Feb. 15-16. The FIS hopes to bring the men’s World Cup circuit to Yanqing next season, along with women’s races that are already on the schedule.

Olympic boxing qualifiers: Originally set for Feb. 3-14 in Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s coronavirus crisis, the Asia-Oceania boxing qualifiers will be held March 3-11 in Amman, Jordan.

Olympic women’s soccer qualifiers: The women’s soccer qualification tournament also was originally set to start Feb. 3 in Wuhan. The event was originally moved to Nanjing but then moved to Sydney, Australia, a move just announced on Sunday. Organizers confirmed Wednesday that the tournament would remain on its original start date of Feb. 3, but China’s team is under quarantine in Australia.

Olympic basketball qualifiers: The women’s basketball tournament set for Feb. 6-9 in Foshan has been moved to Belgrade. China, Britain, South Korea and Spain are competing.

Diving World Series: A meet scheduled for March 6-8 in Beijing has been canceled.

Tour of Hainan: The cycling tour around the Chinese island, scheduled to run Feb. 23-March 1, has been canceled.

Fed Cup: An Asia/Oceania event in the global women’s tennis tournament has been moved from Dongguan to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. It will take place on its original dates, Feb. 4-8.

Supercup: The Chinese soccer club season opener between Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai Shenhua, scheduled for Feb. 5 in Suzhou, has been postponed.

The schedule changes are reminiscent of the SARS outbreak of 2003, when the Women’s World Cup was abruptly moved to the United States, the world track cycling championships were moved to Germany, and the women’s ice hockey world championships were canceled.

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Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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