David Boudia, at home instead of in Tokyo, uses Olympic delay to master new event

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Olympic diving champion David Boudia was supposed to be in Tokyo right now. Instead, he’s home in Indiana chasing his three kids, all 5 years and younger.

“It’s a different time for all of us,” Boudia told Mike Tirico on NBCSN’s Lunch Talk Live on Thursday. “But, at the end of the day, this is not about just one person or one athlete or even one nation. This is a global epidemic, so we’re just trying to do what we can at home.”

Boudia, who won the 2012 Olympic platform title, is bidding for his fourth Olympics and his first on the springboard.

After earning two medals in Rio, Boudia took 2017 off from diving to sell homes. In February 2018, he suffered a concussion on a badly missed dive in training off the 10-meter platform, sparking the switch to springboard, a common move for divers late in their careers.

Last year, Boudia won a national title on the springboard. He finished fifth at the world championships. Goal accomplished. Boudia knew he needed to increase his difficulty for the Olympic year.

“It was different. I’m used to jumping off a three-story building, 33 feet up in the air,” Boudia told Tirico. “Transferring to a three-meter springboard, it puts a little spin on things, but the transition was smooth because I dove it at Purdue University for NCAAs. I’ll have to say, Mike, the next 14 months has kind of helped add some motivation where I can get that much better since I just switched to it right after the Rio Games. The more time, the better. Let’s see what it looks like two weeks from now, four weeks from now and then ultimately July 2021.”

Boudia’s next international competition could be the FINA World Cup, which was due to be held next week in Tokyo. When it is rescheduled, it is expected to be the last chance for nations to qualify quota spots for the Olympics. Boudia was expected to enter the synchronized springboard with his Rio Olympic platform partner, Steele Johnson.

Diving typically has an Olympic Trials, where the top two individuals per event can qualify for the Games, plus the top team per synchro event (assuming the U.S. qualifies the quota spots).

Boudia wants to become the first U.S. diver to compete on the platform and the springboard over an Olympic career since Mark Ruiz, who did both in 2000.

“Initially, athletes, you look at this, and it’s daunting,” Boudia said. “You’ve trained extremely hard the past four years. For us to be pushed back another year, it just seems, all that work you’ve done, now you do another 15 months of that. It’s overwhelming at times, but at the same time, at the end of the day, there’s a blessing to it. What are the things in my offseason that I couldn’t get to? What can I do now, planning forward, for the next 14 months that’s going to get me where I want to be in Tokyo 2021?”

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

Alpine Skiing World Championships
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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.

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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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