Cross-country skiing World Cup sets equal distances for women, men

Cross-Country Skiing World Cup
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World Cup cross-country skiing races are set to be the same distances for women and men next season after women historically had shorter races outside of sprints.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) cross-country committee, made up of members of national federations, approved the change by a 57 percent vote.

All committee decisions are subject to approval by the FIS council on May 26.

“The main argument to vote for equal distances was that there should not be any question whether women were capable of racing the same distances as men, as they prove that they physically are capable of doing so already,” according to a FIS press release. “The main argument against was the time that women need to cover the same distance as men and the effective TV time.”

Women and men would also race the same distances at junior world championships and the Youth Olympics. FIS will decide next May whether to implement the change at the biennial world championships. Often, changes in sports’ world championships programs precede changes to the Olympic program.

Currently, the Olympic cross-country skiing program has different distances for the interval start race (10km for women, 15km for men), skiathlon (15km for women, 30km for men), mass start (30km for women, 50km for men) and relay (4x5km for women, 4x10km for men).

The new World Cup format will have 10km, 20km and 50km races, plus the skiathlon at 20km. FIS did not say in its release how relay distances will change.

The mass start is particularly notable as it is considered the marathon of winter sports and, like the track and field equivalent, is held on the final weekend of the Olympics. The men’s mass start is actually longer than a marathon (31 miles), while the women’s mass start is 18.6 miles. The men’s race takes about a half-hour longer than the women’s race.

“On principle, it really bothers me a lot,” Jessie Diggins, who took 30km silver at the Beijing Olympics to give her a medal of every color, said last year of the unequal mass start distance, according to On Her Turf. “Not only can we ski 50km, but we can ski more.

“Do we need to race the exact same length? Maybe not. Do we need to race the same amount of time on course? Yeah, I think that’s absolutely reasonable.”

The men’s mass start at the Beijing Winter Games was shortened due to weather to the point that the women’s mass start, which was not shortened, was a longer race by distance. That marked a first in Olympic cross-country skiing history, according to On Her Turf.

Biathlon and short- and long-track speed skating also have shorter distances for women than men in some events on the Olympic program (in biathlon’s case, all events). There are also Olympic men’s events in ski jumping and Nordic combined that do not have a women’s event equivalent.

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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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