The New York Times took a look this week at Sebastian Coe. He's an Olympic athletic legend, and an Olympic organizing legend, and making a run at the presidency of track and field, the IAAF. He has the success of London 2012 guiding him, but in a potentially tough battle against Sergey Bubka, an athletic legend in his own right. The election will be held over the summer.
Speaking of the IAAF...
Their signature Diamond League started this week, with the first stop in Doha. The Diamond League, the IAAF's version of a world cup of track and field, features 14 stops across the globe for one-day competitions in 32 events. This year figures to be particularly competitive, with events likely used as both World Championship and Olympic tune-ups. And, judging by my horrendous start in the IAAF's Diamond League Fantasy Game, a tough one for the usual star names (Shelly-Ann - fifth place??)
And in some negative press for track...
The U.S. relay team that won silver behind Jamaica at London 2012 has been officially disqualified, due to Tyson Gay's doping admission. It's not the first time that the U.S. has lost a relay medal due to a single member's drug infraction, and it's a needed step in the right enforcement direction.
On the 12th, the World Taekwondo Championships opened in Chelyabinsk, Russia. And they started in dramatic style, with the first gold medalists coming on the following day of competition, awarded to athletes from Thailand (Panipak Wongpattanakit, in the women's 46kg) and Iran (Farzan Fallah, the favorite in the men's 58kg event). By the time the Championships end next week, seven gold medals will be awarded to both men and women. Typical of most of the tournaments, South Korea was the top overall medalist in the 2013 Championships.
Laís Souza, Heartbreaking Tale of an Athlete's Risk
The New York Times is at it again, with a compelling, tragic and inspiring story of Souza, former Olympic gymnast who was attempting to become Brazil's first aerial skier in the 2014 Winter Games. It's not just a must-read for anyone who follows sports and the Games, but for anyone who appreciates a drama of rise and fall. The road to the Olympics is paved with many, many stories of injury and disappointment - those who make it to the Games is just a tiny portion of those who try, and Souza's story is a particularly dramatic one. And captivatingly told.
More Sports in 2020?
Taking advantage of the IOC's 2020 agenda allowing host cities to supplement the Olympic schedule with additional sports, the race is now on for international federations to bid for inclusion. With bids accepted until early June, likely applicants are baseball / softball, karate, and the frequent bridesmaid squash. I can imagine, given the sport's popularity in Japan, that baseball will have a leg up in the final vote next year. But really, can squash be included finally??
A Haile Tribute
Following his retirement announcement, Tony Casey provides a nice tribute to Haile Gebrselassie and his career. Class piece for a class career.
An Oly Medal for Fiji?
The inaugural rugby sevens tournament at the 2016 Games is shaping up, with the first five nations qualified in the men's event qualified. After the host Brazil's entry, the tournament will also feature Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand, and Great Britain after the latter four's top placements in the 2014-15 Rugby Sevens World Series, which ended this weekend. For those of you that like underdog stories, note that this sets Fiji up for a great story in Rio, as the winner of the World Series, they should be a favorite for the gold next year. That would be their first medal of any kind at the Olympics (all it takes is the right sport!), as well as the first medal for the sport at the Games. I'm rooting for you!
After 17 days of competition, the World Ice Hockey Championships ended in Prague with Canada winning the gold, after a 6-1 defeat of Russia in the gold medal match. The U.S. won the bronze, over the Czechs. With the Worlds usually conflicting with the late stages of the National Hockey League post-season, many top players, particularly Canadian and U.S., are not available in the Championships. But Team Canada rose above, winning the title to reclaim - what many like to think (um, including me) - their rightful place on top of the sport.