Russia, Belarus banned from some sports events after IOC recommendation

Legends Race biathlon festival near Minsk, Belarus
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Russia and Belarus athletes are barred from some international sports competitions, including in soccer and ice hockey, after the International Olympic Committee Executive Board recommended bans to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.

“The Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games, World Championships and World Cups and many other sports events unite athletes of countries which are in confrontation and sometimes even war,” according to an IOC press release. “At the same time, the Olympic Movement is united in its sense of fairness not to punish athletes for the decisions of their government if they are not actively participating in them. We are committed to fair competitions for everybody without any discrimination.

“The current war in Ukraine, however, puts the Olympic Movement in a dilemma. While athletes from Russia and Belarus would be able to continue to participate in sports events, many athletes from Ukraine are prevented from doing so because of the attack on their country.”

The IOC did not say for how long it recommends athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus should be banned.

FIFA and World Curling were the first international sports federations under the Olympic umbrella to take action after the IOC announcement.

FIFA and UEFA said Russian national and club teams are suspended from their soccer competitions until further notice. If Olympic soccer qualifying mirrors that of the last cycle, the ban would have to run into the second half of this year for Russia to potentially be eliminated from 2024 Olympic men’s or women’s qualification.

World Curling announced that, barring objections from its member associations in the next three days, it will remove Russia from upcoming world championships. Worlds for men, women and mixed doubles are scheduled over the next two months. Belarus did not qualify for any of those events.

Later Monday, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced Russia and Belarus are banned from international competition until further notice, potentially ruling them out of world championships.

World Rugby also suspended Russia and Belarus until further notice.

Russian athletes are already banned from competing under the Russian flag at major international competitions into December due to the nation’s doping violations, but they have been able to compete as neutral athletes or under the names of the Russian Olympic Committee or their national federations.

Last Friday, the IOC board urged all international competitions scheduled to be held in Russia or Belarus to be canceled or relocated. Earlier that day, the International Ski Federation said it would cancel or relocate six World Cup stops through the end of March that were scheduled to be held in Russia.

The IOC said Friday that Russia, by invading Ukraine, and Belarus, whose government supported Russia, violated the Olympic Truce, which calls for peace over a period from seven days before the Olympics through seven days after the Paralympics. The Paralympics open Friday and run through March 13.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has not announced a decision on Russia and Belarus athlete participation and plans to discuss the matter at a previously scheduled Wednesday board meeting. A spokesperson said that’s the earliest it can do so as members fly into Beijing this week.

“The IPC acknowledges the statement made earlier by the IOC Executive Board and have been in close dialogue with the IOC regarding the breach of the Olympic Truce,” an IPC spokesperson said Monday.

The spokesperson also said that none of the 20 Ukrainian athletes have arrived for the Paralympics yet, but they’re hopeful that the team will arrive before Friday’s Opening Ceremony, though there are no flights out of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, according to The Associated Press.

“This is a truly horrible situation, and we are greatly concerned about our National Paralympic Committee and Para athletes from Ukraine,” IPC President Andrew Parsons said in a Thursday press release. “Our top priority right now is the safety and well-being of the Ukrainian delegation, with whom we are in regular dialogue.”

The IOC and the IPC are separate organizations.

If upcoming competitions are unable to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials due to short notice or legal reasons, the IOC board strongly urged organizers to only accept them as neutral participants without national symbols, colors, flags or anthems.

“Wherever, in very extreme circumstances, even this is not possible on short notice for organizational or legal reasons, the IOC EB leaves it to the relevant organization to find its own way to effectively address the dilemma,” according to the release.

In that context, the IOC gave full support for how the IPC decides on participation of Russia and Belarus on short notice for the upcoming Winter Paralympics.

On Sunday, many Ukrainian athletes wrote in an open letter to the IOC and IPC presidents calling on athletes from Russia and Belarus to be banned from international competition, including the Paralympics that open Friday.

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Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago.

The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

Kipchoge grew up on a farm in Kapsabet in Kenya’s Rift Valley, often hauling by bike several gallons of the family’s milk to sell at the local market. Raised by a nursery school teacher, he ran more than three miles to and from school. He saved for five months to get his first pair of running shoes.

At 18, he upset legends Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to win the 2003 World 5000m title on the track. He won Olympic 5000m medals (bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008), then moved to the marathon after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team on the track.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final