Sports Outside the Beltway

2016 Summer Olympic Games could be the last, says Tokyo governor

You may be interested to hear why Shintaro Ishihara says that. From Reuters-

Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara warned on Wednesday the 2016 Olympics could be the last Games, with global warming an immediate threat to mankind.polar_ice_caps_melting1

Tokyo is bidding to host the 2016 summer Olympics with Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid also in the running. The International Olympic Committee will elect the winning candidate during its session on Oct. 2 in the Danish capital.

“It could be that the 2016 Games are the last Olympics in the history of mankind,” Ishihara told reporters at a Tokyo 2016 press event ahead of the vote.

“Global warming is getting worse. We have to come up with measures without which Olympic Games could not last long.

To stave off the threat global warming poses to mankind, I propose the Tokyo Governor and other Japanese officials cancel the 2016 Olympics should Tokyo be picked as the site of the games. Think of all the resources that can be used to save mankind instead of being wasted on frivolous sporting activities. Anyone agree with me?

Hat tip- Doug at Below the Beltway


Olympic boxing weight classes reduced for 2012

The move was made in order to accommodate women’s boxing. From AP-

The International Boxing Association has reduced the number of men’s weight categories from 11 to 10 for the 2012 London Olympics.

The move was made Monday to accommodate women’s boxing at the games, which the IOC Executive Board unanimously agreed on last month. The IOC would not allow the AIBA to add to its total number of boxers.

At the 2008 Beijing Games, there were 286 boxers — all male. In London the total will remain the same but there will be 250 male boxers and 36 female boxers.

To decrease the number of men, the AIBA condensed its four lightest weight categories into three.

The new categories will apply to all AIBA events starting in September 2010.

Now could anyone fix the farcical Olympic scoring system for boxing.


1984 Olympic Bronze medalist shot putter Dave Laut dead at 52

He also won a gold medal at the 1979 Pan American Games. RIP.

Police say former Olympic shot putter Dave Laut has been shot to death outside his Southern California home.

Police officials said the 1984 Olympic bronze medalist and Hueneme High School athletic director was shot multiple times around midnight Thursday.

Sgt. Ron Whitney said the 52-year-old was at home when he and his wife heard noises in the backyard and he went outside to investigate. Shots were fired moments later, and Laut died at the scene.


IOC recommends Golf and Rugby for 2016 games

Will Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie be able to earn gold medals for the United States. From AP-

International Olympic leaders selected golf and rugby Thursday for proposed inclusion in the 2016 Summer Games, rejecting bids from baseball, softball and three other sports.

The International Olympic Committee executive board narrowed the field to two from a list of seven, which also included squash, karate and roller sports.

The board will submit golf and rugby sevens — a faster-paced version of the standard 15-a-side game — for ratification by the full 106-member IOC assembly in Copenhagen in October.

“In the end, the decision came down to which two would add the most value,” IOC President Jacques Rogge told reporters.

“Golf and rugby scored high on all 33 criteria,” Rogge said, adding this was still a proposal and it needed to be validated.

Anyone who visits this blog knows how much a fan I am of golf but Olympic golf just doesn’t interest me at this time.


Beijing claims profit on Olympic hosting

Organizers say they came out 176 million dollars ahead. From AP-

Beijing Olympic organizers say they made a profit out of hosting last year’s Summer Games.

According to figures released Friday by the government audit bureau, $2.8 billion was spent on organizing and staging the Games, including the Paralympic Summer Games that followed.

That compares to income of $3 billion thus far, leaving a profit of $176 million, the bureau said. The biggest chunk, accounting for 40 percent, came from broadcast and marketing rights, along with sales of tickets, souvenirs, and commemorative coins and stamps.

The organizers claim a profit but did China as whole come out ahead on the games?

The expenditure figures cover only operating expenses, leaving out spending on venues and infrastructure such as airports, roads and subways for the sprawling city of 18 million people.

Ah! Now as the late Paul Harvey said, here is the rest of the story.

According to the bureau, construction and upgrading costs for 36 new Olympic venues and 66 training facilities totaled $2.8 billion. The showpiece “Bird’s Nest” Olympic stadium alone ran almost $73 million over budget due to design modifications and higher prices for construction materials, coming in at a final cost of $455 million.

Infrastructure costs were met largely by the city governments of Beijing, Shanghai and other cities that hosted events, who together contributed $1.2 billion, and the central government, which kicked in $514 million. Another $146 million came through contributions from Chinese overseas, while the Olympic organizing committee and Education Ministry paid close to $585 million each.

An unidentified auditor quoted in an interview posted on the bureau’s Web site said Beijing’s operating budget was lower, adjusted for inflation, than both the one for the 2004 Athens Summer Games and that forecast for the 2012 London Olympics.

As we know auditors never get anything wrong either deliberately or by accident. If you believe that, I have a story about hard working food inspectors in China to also tell you.

The cost of staging the Olympics is commonly a cause for debate among prospective host cities, but not for Beijing, where the games enjoyed strong support from government, the public and business.

Of course the lack of debate could have something to do with Chinese dissenters being afraid to say anything because they could go to jail for expressing a different opinion.


Former Olympic swin coach Richard Quick dead at 66

He coached women’s and men’s teams at the college level where he won national championships with three different schools. RIP.

Auburn swimming coach Richard Quick, who won 13 NCAA titles with three schools during a career that spanned four decades, has died of cancer. He was 66.

Auburn said in a statement on its Web site that Quick, who coached men’s and women’s teams at the school, died Wednesday. His family told the Austin American-Statesman that he died in Austin, Texas.

Quick had been diagnosed in December with an inoperable brain tumor.

“While he lost a valiant battle against a cruel disease, Richard was an inspiration to countless people who were touched by his steadfast faith and amazing courage in the face of tremendous adversity,” Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said.

He won one title at Auburn, seven at Stanford and five at Texas. He also led the U.S. Olympic teams in 1988, 1996 and 2000 and was an assistant coach at the 1984, 1992 and 2004 Games.

Quick’s women’s teams at Texas won five straight titles from 1984-1988. The Stanford women’s team won the title in his first year there in 1989.

Auburn’s men won the championship in 2009 and Quick was named NCAA Coach of the Year for the sixth time.

“Richard will be remembered as one of the greatest coaches in the history of swimming, but more importantly, he will be remembered as a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather and teacher,” Jacobs said.

Quick coached at Auburn from 1978-82 and returned there in 2007. In between, he coached the women’s teams at Texas and Stanford. He also served as the men’s head coach at Iowa State during the 1977-78 season and the women’s head coach at SMU in 1976-77.


Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Karine Ruby dead at 31

She died in a mountain climbing accident. How Tragic. RIP.

Karine Ruby, a former Olympic snowboarding champion who had been training to become a mountain guide, died Friday in a climbing accident on Mont Blanc. She was 31.

Ruby was roped to other climbers when she and some members of the group fell into a deep crack in the glacier on the way down the mountain, Chamonix police official Laurent Sayssac said.

A 38-year-old man from the Paris region also died in the fall, and a 27-year-old man was evacuated by helicopter with serious injuries and hospitalized, Sayssac added.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon called Ruby an “exceptional sportswoman.”

“Karine incarnated the emergence of snowboarding in France,” Fillon said in a statement. “The people of France will hold on to the memory of her talent and her joie de vivre.”

Ruby won a gold medal in the giant slalom at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and a silver in the parallel giant slalom at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

She was a six-time world champion with 65 snowboard World Cup victories.

She retired after the 2006 Turin Olympics, where she was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the snowboardcross event.


Two-time Olympic Champion boxer Guillermo Rigondeaux defects

He won Bantamweight gold medals in both 2000 and 2004. From AP-

Former Olympic boxing champion Guillermo Rigondeaux defected to the United States, 18 months after he was kicked off the Cuba team as punishment for a previous defection attempt.

Farah Colina said Tuesday her husband had no choice but to flee Cuba if he wanted to box again.

“I’m surprised on one level because he left home at the end of January saying he was going to Santiago,” Colina said, referring to the eastern city that is Cuba’s second largest. “But, on another level, I think he was obligated to do this.”

Luis de Cubas, an agent for Arena Box Promotions in the United States, confirmed that Rigondeaux was in Miami and interested in fighting. The 28-year-old boxer won bantamweight gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.

Colina said her husband called a neighbor Saturday to say he made it to Miami. The family does not have a phone. She declined to describe his journey to the U.S., but said he sounded happy and nervous on the phone.

While Rigondeaux came to the US in an illegal fashion, he’ll be granted asylum here. Since the Clinton adminitstration the policy known as dry feet wet feet has in place. The boxer made it solid US soil, he gets to stay.

It comes as no surprise that conditions in Cuba haven’t changed under Raul Castro. Even if the Castros fell and a democratic government took its place, the island country will hardly be a prosperous paradise for those living there for some time.


Phelps: 8 Golds and 8 World Records?

Alice Park believes that Michael Phelps might have a bigger ambition than topping Mark Spitz’ longstanding record of seven gold medals in a single Olympics.

Gold medallist Michael Phelps, right, of the United States celebrates with South Korea\'s silver medallist Park Tae-hwan after the men\'s 200m freestyle swimming final on August 12 Jason Reed / ReutersPhelps collected his third win in the Water Cube in the 200m freestyle on Aug. 12 — and his third world record. “Being in lane six, I was out of the middle of the pool. I knew that if I jumped first, the guys in the middle of the pool wouldn’t be able to see me, and by the time they did, hopefully I had enough ground where I could hold them off,” he said of his record-breaking win.

Could he and Bowman have set an astoundingly high bar of not only winning eight gold medals, but of earning eight new world records in the process? With any other swimmer, the very thought would be ridiculous. But with Phelps …

Of course, Phelps won’t admit to it. But if you’re as gifted as he is in the water, and you shrug off world records as easily as a coat, no mere clocks will keep you feeling challenged — you need something to motivate you. Setting eight new marks in a single meet might do it — Phelps has already broken five world records in a meet at last year’s World championships.

He could do it, certainly.  This pool seems to be exceptionally fast and Phelps is the best swimmer in history.  Still, one would hate to win eight gold medals — or even six — and come away from the Games disappointed in one’s performance.


Tyson Gay Out of Olympic 200

America’s best sprinter will not run the 200 meters in the Beijing Olympics, another casualty of our stupid selection policy.

Tyson Gay falls during the first quarterfinal heat of the men\'s 200 meter race at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, July 5, 2008. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)Tyson Gay accelerated through the first curve. Then, he started flying. Not in the figurative sense, but in an all-too-real way — a shocking sprawl to the ground that cost America’s best sprinter an Olympic spot in the 200 meters and made him look like less than a sure thing, health-wise at least, with the Beijing Games five weeks away.

Had this been gymnastics, or a number of other sports, an injury at trials wouldn’t have ended Gay’s chance to make the Olympics in that specific event. But USA Track and Field plays it straight — top three finishers at trials make the Olympics, no exceptions.

It’s a black-and-white policy that most athletes accept, though it could end up costing the American team as much as Gay in Beijing. Gay is the defending world champion in the 100 and 200 meters.

“I don’t know any other way to do it, but it’s tough,” said Wallace Spearmon, now the favorite in Sunday’s finals. “Either you’re ready on this day or not. You can be the best athlete coming into it, and you could be sitting at home watching it from the house.”

How about a system that combines multiple events? Say, the Olympic Trials, the World Championships, and one or two other major competitions? That way, a poorly timed fall, injury, or illness would be less likely to cost an individual an opportunity for which they’ve spent a lifetime training. And Team USA would be represented by the best athletes.


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