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With Anthony Fauci’s eyes on closed-door return, which Olympic sports can be played?

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Anthony Fauci, the now-ubiquitous director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has outlined a path for sports to return in the United States behind closed doors.

Fauci, speaking with Good Luck America’s Peter Hamby, pointed toward a path for having public sports events this year.

“There’s a way of doing that,” Fauci said. “Nobody comes to the stadium. Put them in big hotels wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled … and have them tested every week.”

Such a plan might work for Major League Baseball, in which talk of a plan to put all 30 teams in Arizona has met with skepticism, or Germany’s Bundesliga, in which soccer teams have returned to training with the prospect starting play in May even after Chancellor Angela Merkel extended a ban on public gatherings through Aug. 31.

Olympic sports, though, might have a more difficult path back to action.

Even without fans, athletes are often packed into close quarters. A track and field meet like the Prefontaine Classic, which is still scheduled to take place June 6-7 in Eugene, Ore., would have more 100 athletes cycling through the stadium in addition to coaches and officials. Those athletes would also be traveling in and out of Oregon, not confined to a hotel and a ballpark.

The athletes’ youth and fitness may help them stave off serious issues if infected, but Fauci also warned that the risk of illness for young people from COVID-19 — while less than the risk to older people — is greater than initially believed.

“What we’re disturbingly starting to see now, which is really troublesome is that the initial cases from China made it seem that young people and healthy people get a mild illness it goes away, no problem,” Fauci said. “Now we’re starting to see that people who are younger are getting ill, and some of them are getting seriously ill and even dying from this.”

That discovery means athletes themselves, not just older or unhealthier fans, could be at risk of illness.

Fauci also talked with NBC’s “Today Show” Wednesday morning to talk about the possibility of states relaxing restrictions that were imposed with the onset of the pandemic:

Most Olympic sports events in the United States through June have already been canceled or postponed:

April 15-19: Equestrian, World Cup show jumping and dressage finals, Las Vegas canceled

April 16-26: Ice hockey, world under-18 men’s championships canceled 

April 20: Track and field, Boston Marathon postponed to Sept. 14

April 28-May 3: Water polo, World League intercontinental tournaments, Indianapolis postponed, no new date set, may be relocated

April 29-May 3: Road cycling, Tour of the Gila, New Mexico canceled

May 14-17: Golf, PGA Championship, San Francisco postponed to Aug. 6-9

May 26-31: BMX racing, world championships, Houston  postponed, no new date set

June 4-7: Golf, U.S. Women’s Open, Houston postponed to Dec. 10-13

June 6-7: Track and field, Prefontaine Classic, Eugene, Ore. still set to run as scheduled

June 12-14: Artistic swimming, World Series, Rochester, N.Y. canceled

June 12-14: Sport climbing, World Cup, Salt Lake City postponed, no new date set

June 18-21: Golf, U.S. Open, Mamoroneck, N.Y. postponed to Sept. 17-20

June 25-28: Golf, Women’s PGA Championship still set to run as scheduled

Aug. 6-15: Track and field, world championships, Eugene, Ore. postponed to July 2021 due to postponement of the 2020 Olympics

Aug. 31-Sept. 13: Tennis, U.S. Open still set to run as scheduled

The AVP beach volleyball tour has canceled two events and postponed two more, with the first event of the year now set for June 19-21.

In golf, the PGA Tour still has a May 21-24 tournament on the calendar. The next LPGA Tour event that has not been postponed or canceled is set for June 11-14.

In tennis, the ATP Tour‘s next U.S. event is the Hall of Fame Open, set for July 13-19 in Newport, R.I. The WTA Tour isn’t due in the United States until August.

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World Alpine Skiing Championships on for 2021 after request to delay rejected

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GENEVA (AP) — A request by the organizers of next year’s skiing world championships in Italy to postpone the event by one year was rejected Thursday by the International Ski Federation.

FIS ruled that the event will go ahead from Feb. 9-21, 2021, in Cortina d’Ampezzo — the highlight of an Alpine season that faces challenges to find safe protocols for international travel and attending races in Europe, North America and China.

The Veneto region of northern Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus and the season-ending World Cup races in Cortina in mid-March were canceled. That week-long event was to be a test for the 2021 worlds.

“The last month of efforts to come to this solution demonstrates the strong collaborative spirit of the ski family and stakeholders.” FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper said.

Organizers in Italy have said they expect losses of about 30 million euros ($34 million) if the worlds are also canceled. They asked for a postponement to March 2022, which would be only weeks after the Beijing Olympics.

“But we will be ready in any case and we will show that these world championships can change the history of a region despite the current difficulties,” Alessandro Benetton, president of the Cortina organizing committee, said in a statement.

Italian racer Sofia Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, said she was “happy for Cortina because it will host the first major international event after the coronavirus epidemic.”

Cortina, which hosted the 1956 Olympics, will co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Milan and use the worlds as a showcase for the resort.

The women’s World Cup downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane course each January is one of the most scenic in the sport with a signature jump between tall outcrops of jagged rock.

The Dolomites venue was awarded the 2021 worlds by FIS after missing out as a candidate four straight times from 2013-19.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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Russia track and field athlete clearance frozen due to unpaid fine

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MONACO (AP) — The program allowing Russian track athletes to compete internationally will be frozen because the country’s federation failed to pay a fine on time, World Athletics said Thursday.

The Russian track federation, known as RusAF, owes a $5 million fine and another $1.31 million in costs for various doping-related work and legal wrangles. World Athletics said RusAF missed Wednesday’s deadline to pay.

World Athletics said it would freeze the work of the Doping Review Board, which vets Russian athletes who want the “authorized neutral athlete” status that allows them to compete internationally, and its taskforce monitoring RusAF’s anti-doping reforms.

World Athletics said both bodies will be “put on hold” until its council meets to discuss the situation at the end of July.

“RusAF is letting its athletes down badly,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “We have done as much as we can to expedite our ANA process and support RusAF with its reinstatement plan, but seemingly to no avail.”

RusAF president Yevgeny Yurchenko earlier told the Tass state news agency that his federation’s finances were damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had asked for more time to pay.

World Athletics’ statement didn’t directly address that issue, but said Russia hadn’t indicated when it would pay.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended for two years, after the federation admitted to breaking anti-doping rules and obstructing an investigation.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test.

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