IOC

2026 Winter Olympics add eight events, cut Alpine skiing team event

2026 Winter Olympics
Getty
0 Comments

Eight events have been added to the program for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Ski mountaineering, a new sport added to the 2026 program last year, will have a men’s sprint, women’s sprint and a mixed-gender relay.

New events in existing sports include men’s and women’s dual moguls in freestyle skiing, breaking up the open luge doubles event (where only men have competed) into men’s doubles and women’s doubles, a mixed-gender skeleton team event and a women’s large hill event in ski jumping to match the men’s individual ski jumping program.

The Alpine skiing team event, which debuted at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, has been cut. Also in Alpine skiing, the combined events are being included provisionally on the 2026 program and are subject to further review with a final decision no later than April.

On the Alpine World Cup, there were no combined events either of the last two seasons and there are none planned this upcoming season as more emphasis has been on the newer individual parallel event. The combined is still on the biennial world championships program.

The IOC said that Nordic combined is in a “very concerning situation” for staying on the Olympic program beyond 2026.

The IOC said Nordic combined “had by far the lowest audience numbers” over the last three Olympics. It noted that the 27 medals won in the sport among 2014, 2018 and 2022 were spread across “only” four nations.

Its inclusion in the 2030 Winter Olympics depends on significant developments in global participation and audience.

Nordic combined is the lone Olympic sport without female representation.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) began holding women’s Nordic combined World Cups in December 2020. A women’s event debuted at the world championships in February 2021. FIS hoped it would help lead to 2026 Winter Olympic inclusion.

The IOC chose not to add a women’s event for 2026, citing having “only one world championship to date” that had 10 nations represented and the medals won by one nation (Norway). Karl Stoss, chair of the IOC Olympic program commission, said those numbers do not meet universality criteria.

Nordic combined officials believed that their sport was in danger of being dropped from the Olympic program if the IOC opted against adding a women’s event.

The decisive argument for keeping men’s Nordic combined on the 2026 program without a women’s event was the proximity — male athletes are already preparing for the Games.

Men’s events in Nordic combined, which includes ski jumping and cross-country skiing, have been on the program since the first Winter Games in 1924 in Chamonix, France.

The IOC said the overall event changes will make 2026 the most gender-balanced Winter Games in history, upping female participation from 45.4 percent in 2022 to 47 percent.

Due to event quota changes, the overall number of athletes is expected to remain around 2,900.

ON HER TURF: Women’s Nordic combined shut out of 2026

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Alex Gilady, Israeli Olympic Committee member, dies at 79

Alex Gilady
Getty
0 Comments

JERUSALEM — Alex Gilady, an Israeli media pioneer and longtime International Olympic Committee member, has died. He was 79.

Gilady was a former sport executive at NBC and was the first Israeli journalist to report from Egypt in 1977 ahead of the signing of a landmark peace treaty with its Arab neighbor. He received the Israeli Broadcasting Association’s “Man of the Year” award that year.

He died at a hospital in London from cancer late on Thursday, according to Israeli business paper The Marker.

“Today, the Olympic movement lost a giant,” NBC Sports said. “Alex Gilady, our friend and colleague of more than 40 years, was a guiding light to our NBC Sports and Olympics teams through 15 Games. His contributions were immeasurable. We will miss his wisdom, warmth and always optimistic spirit.”

In 1993 he founded Keshet Media Group, which grew into one of the country’s major media production companies. Gilady was also elected as an IOC member in 1994. He served on the commissions organizing each of the games from Athens in 2004 until Paris 2024, according to the Olympic Committee.

“We are losing a pioneer of the modern Olympic Movement” IOC President Thomas Bach said of Gilady’s passing. “He has always stood up for the Olympic values, often when sometimes the situation was not easy for him.”

In 2017, Gilady was accused of sexual harassment and rape in prior decades. He denied the accusations, but resigned his role as president of Keshet. Gilady filed libel suits against his accusers that were later settled, and the IOC’s ethics commission closed an investigation.

Keshet Media Group, the company he founded, issued a statement mourning the death of its former CEO, “a visionary and one of the designers of Israeli television.”

Russia, Belarus banned from some sports events after IOC recommendation

Legends Race biathlon festival near Minsk, Belarus
Getty Images
0 Comments

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!