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U.S. rowers fight back against COVID-19 in real world and virtual world

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In the last month, COVID-19 has affected the U.S. rowing community in many of the same ways the virus has affected all athletes — changes in training routines, a mental reset with the postponement of the Olympics, and at least one athlete falling ill.

What’s unique to U.S. Rowing is that it is still staging a national championship. The federation isn’t violating social distancing protocols or playing video-game tournaments as we’ve seen in sports such as basketball and curling.

Athletes will be rowing. They’ll just be doing so on land.

Welcome to the USRowing Virtual Youth Championships Series.

Rowers have deadlines to turn in times on a 2,000m virtual course, recorded by a Concept2 ergometer. Regional championships will end May 17, with the nationals wrapping up June 14.

Equipment is already in high demand. Rowing machines have sold out as many people — not just elite rowers but those who may or may not have ever rowed on water — seek exercises they can do without access to a gym.

Many Olympic hopefuls have scattered for training as well. Up until a few weeks ago, many were training in Princeton, N.J. One was Olivia Coffey, a bronze medalist in the women’s eight at the 2019 world rowing championships.

READ: Once-unbeatable women’s eight goes into Olympics as world bronze medalist

Coffey fell ill in late March with a probable bout of COVID-19 and left Princeton for Burdett, Minn., where she and her husband have a house, the Elmira Star-Gazette reported.

U.S. Rowing confirmed March 26 that a staff member at Princeton tested positive for the virus.

Dana Moffat, another member of the bronze medalist women’s eight, has posted pictures and videos of herself working in rural New Jersey.

Emily Regan, a gold medalist in the 2016 Olympics and three-time world champion, summed up the situation succinctly on Twitter: “I’ll be training hard in my apartment (for now) to be ready.”

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Noah Lyles set to drop new album “A Human’s Journey” on Saturday

Noah Lyles
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World 200m track and field champion Noah Lyles has taken advantage of his down time to finish up his latest musical work.

Lyles isn’t new to music. He and pole vaulter Sandi Morris teamed up with Swiss band Baba Shrimps to record a song called “Souvenir” last year. The video is full of highlights of both athletes. He has also released several songs on Spotify and YouTube under the name Nojo18.

The 22-year-old sprinter is known for his diverse interests. He posts his art and fashion ideas on Instagram, where he identifies himself as an artist and rapper in addition to his track and field accomplishments. World Athletics also asked Lyles to share his pre-race playlist, which includes a couple of songs by Kanye West along with tracks from Eminem and Travis Scott.

With the Olympics postponed and social distancing imposed, Lyles’ year has been unusual. He’s taking part in a USADA program in which athletes do their own drug tests at home, and like a lot of athletes, he’s training wherever he can.

READ: Lyles trains near woods and dog walkers

His musical partner Morris can empathize, having built her own pole vault runway.

The Olympic postponement is interrupting Lyles’ ascent to all-time greatness. In 2019, he lost his first 200m race of the season to Michael Norman by 0.02 seconds, then dominated the rest of the season, winning in Lausanne, Paris and Brussels in addition to the U.S. and world championships. He also won a pair of 100m races in Diamond League meets.

Lyles’ best time, 19.50 in Lausanne, was the fastest since Usain Bolt (19.32) edged Yohan Blake (19.44) in the 2012 Olympic final.

 

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A Humans Journey 4 Days

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International Weightlifting Federation president steps down while investigation continues

Tomas Ajan
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GENEVA (AP) — The long-time leader of weightlifting’s governing body resigned Wednesday amid an investigation of suspected corruption exposed by a television program.

The International Weightlifting Federation said it “approved the retirement” of the 81-year-old Tamas Aján, its president for the past 20 years and a former International Olympic Committee member.

“We can now begin the work of determining a fresh path towards achieving the full potential of our sport,” IWF acting president Ursula Papandrea said in a statement.

Aján had stepped aside soon after German network ARD broadcast allegations in January implicating him in financial wrongdoing involving Olympic revenues and covering up doping cases.

The Hungarian official denied wrongdoing, but in March resigned his honorary IOC membership “in order to save the Olympic movement from negative rumors.” Aján had been a full member of the IOC for 10 years until 2010.

Weightlifting’s reputation under Aján had already been hit by dozens of steroid doping cases revealed in retests of samples from the Olympics since 2008.

After the ARD broadcast, the interim IWF leadership invited Richard McLaren, lead investigator in the Russian doping scandal, to assess the allegations. That probe is ongoing, the IWF said.

Millions of dollars in the Budapest-based IWF’s share of funding from past Olympics was unaccounted for in Swiss bank accounts controlled by Aján, the program claimed.

ARD also claimed there were irregularities in how samples were collected from lifters, many by Hungary’s national anti-doping agency.

“I offered the best of my life to our beloved sport,” Aján said Wednesday in the IWF statement.

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