doping · IOC · Olympic Sports · Olympics · Scandals · Weightlifting

Weightlifting Put on Notice

The IOC Executive Board met last week, and afterward, TBach gave a press release summarizing a lot of initiatives, including giving weightlifting a smackdown and putting the sport on notice.

What’s all this about? Well, doping’s been a slight issue in the Olympics lately, and weightlifters have been some of the biggest offenders. Retests going back to the 2008 Beijing games are still finding weightlifters who doped, which causes a lot of problems with medals and certificates being stripped, and then the athletes who are now getting awards for competition from eight years ago have lost out on a lot of opportunities, and then the IOC and the Olympics starts losing some integrity, and that’s not really how this org thinks they fly.

The IOC gave the International Weightlifting Federation until December to take care of the problem or at least have a plan for it. If they don’t, well, it might be adios for weightlifting as a sport in 2024. As a glimpse of what that might look like, in the IOC’s recently approved Tokyo 2020 program that removes one men’s event and wipes out 64 participants from those Games–a move that’s supposed to help them reach gender parity.

The IWF’s response is pretty timid–they’re shocked (surprise!) by the results of the retesting, and they’re going to get right on making that plan.

The European Weightlifting Federation, run by a guy who recently lost in the election to oust the incumbent IWF president (who just won his fifth term), was a little more critical on its website, saying that the cut in athletes was “just the first instalment [sic] of the price we will have to pay for years of inadequate management, which has showcased our sport as a doping factory run by private power.” You could hear that mic drop around the weightlifting world.

Good luck to them–changing the system can be pretty tough work, but the possibility of being ousted from the Olympics could make things a lot worse for the sport.

Corruption · IOC · Rio 2016

Discouragement of Olympic Proportions?

Winter Olympics! In less than one year! Are you ready? Are you excited?!

Yes…..and no.

Sure, I’m getting excited about the Winter Olympics. They’re so much fun to watch, and they’re more manageable to watch. They haven’t been in Asia in a long time, so I’m really looking forward to seeing South Korea’s spin on the Games. PyeongChang’s been gearing up, and they should be ready to go.

However.

There’s a lot of depressing Olympic news as well. First, Rio’s stadiums seem to be falling apart faster than usual, with venues in disrepair or abandoned. The Olympic Village apartments aren’t selling. There are supposedly plans to use venues, but I don’t think anyone’s really buying the government line anymore. It’s sad to see this happen–to know about the billions of dollars that have gone down the tubes in a country that’s still amazingly poor. The infrastructure promises? The hope that this would provide some opportunity just seems to be gone. With no Olympics, would things be different in Brazil?

The other depressing development–and to be very honest, this one really has me a bit down in the dumps about the Olympics in general–is all of the doping that’s still being uncovered. We’re not talking about people being stripped of medals and certificates from just the Rio Games, we’re talking about medals being stripped from Beijing. Eight years and two Olympics ago.

Yep, the IOC keeps samples for 8 years after a Games, in case better tests come along to detect previously undetectable substances. Guess what? They have. So far, there are 61 sanctions from Beijing and 40 from London. So far.

It seems that there are more notices that athletes are being sanctioned or stripped of their certificates/medals. It’s depressing to get these e-mails because with every one, history gets rewritten and the original event becomes less important. How so? Usain Bolt has had one of his medals revoked, thanks to a positive test by one of his relay teammates. So much for his triple-triple (3 gold medals in 3 Olympics)–unless an appeal is successful. With no triple-triple, all of the athletes’ effort, all of the hullabaloo and footage of these events and the countless press is all for naught. History’s wiped out–in fact, it’s not even worth tracking anymore–and fans are left not really knowing what to believe.

The other problem is the athletes who are elevated in the ranks years later. They miss out on their moment in the sun–but more importantly, they miss out on financial opportunities and training opportunities that could help their careers.

It’s frustrating–and honestly, it’s one of the elements that makes me care about the Olympics less. And I’m a person who gets The Fever! The IOC is trying, in a sense. It prevented some dopers from going to Rio, but it all seems too little, too late. At a time when interest in the Olympics is fading, aren’t there better ways to keep the competition legit?

 

IOC · Media Coverage

Can You Handle All Olympics All the Time?

Welcome to 2017! We’re just about a year away from the next Winter Olympics, which means our case of Olympic Fever–which had ebbed quite a bit, as can be the case with event fevers–is starting to make a reappearance. This means we’re back in action here on TheFeverr and will be posting more frequently.

The IOC probably would wonder why our fever ever subsided–after all, shouldn’t everyone be concerned with the Olympics 24/7/365? I’m not sure even an Olympic athlete can do that, to be honest, but the IOC is going to try to capture more of our eyeball time anyway. To do so, it’s launched the Olympic Channel, which is a mix of features, replays and original programming that’s available online and via app and–it’s hoping–partnerships with the networks to feature it on terrestrial television

Currently, the features are a bunch of Rio Replays of various sport highlights, as well as highlights from Rio, Sochi, London, Vancouver, Beijing, and the Youth Olympic Games. The IOC has partnered with different sporting organizations to show their major events. Video news rounds out the main categories.

The channel actually has a lot of original content, so from time to time we’ll look at some of its shows and let you know if they’re worth checking out, or if you should stick to the clip highlights to get your Olympic fix.

Transform My Meal (currently 16 episodes)

In this show, chefs help Olympic athletes transform their eating habits from boring to gourmet. I watched two episodes, thinking we’d learn about Olympian nutrition and what athletes in different sports eat on a regular basis. The show does show that a little bit–it talks about how the body needs to perform to be successful in the sport being featured, but it’s really a cooking show where a big time chef takes one staple meal in the athlete’s repertoire and shows them how to cook something that’s similar but 20 times fancier. Of course, the new meal looks and tastes a lot better, and the athlete is totally impressed with what they could be doing in their kitchens. The thing is that you can see see they’re never really going to try cooking like that on a regular basis because those meals usually take a lot of time to prepare, which can cut into the rest of life (and for a small sport, that likely includes having a job outside of training).

The show’s kind of interesting, but ultimately disappointing because I was expecting more education about athletic nutrition and I got a highly chopped up cooking show that barely showed me how to make a specific recipe.

My rating: OO (two rings out of five)

I probably wouldn’t watch the rest of it unless I was really hurting for content (and who’s hurting for content these days?), and that’s saying something, considering that I like cooking shows.

Hitting the Wall (currently 12 episodes)

This show takes “fitness-minded social influencers” who poo-poo some Olympians’ fitness regimes and sees if they can actually train like an Olympian. Hey, guess what? In the two episodes I saw (fencing and curling), the influencers were blown away by the difficulty of the workouts and gained a new-found respect for the Olympians and their sports. Shocking!

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that every episode is going to have the same outcome, and that’s pretty lame. However, it is pretty cool to get a glimpse into the skills needed for different sports and see a little bit of the workouts necessary to build those skills. I say “a little bit” because these shows are heavy on the stylistic editing that gets in the way of laying down a lot of facts. This means you can’t get a full sense of what a day is like, but you do see some really cool exercises to try and use in your own workouts.

My rating: OOOO (four rings out of five)

I do hope to catch more episodes of this show because it’s kind of helpful in learning the exercises that help you develop certain skills like balance and quick reflexes. Even though the gimmick of the influencer gaining mad respect gets tired quickly, it’s fun to see someone who’s in shape try a routine that’s out of their comfort zone and see how taxing it is.

 

2024 · IOC · Olympic bids · Summer Olympics

And Then There Were Three

Well, Rome’s out.

Perhaps for decades.

Maybe.

Probably.

As was thought, CONI (the Italian Olympic Committee) got out of the bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics. The bid didn’t have the support of the city’s mayor Virginia Raggi, who is more interested in fixing some legit problems like trash collection and corruption. The lack of support means that CONI president Giovanni Malago had to tell the IOC, Look, we’re going to “interrupt the candidacy.”

What does that mean? Well, it means that Rome got its stage 2 information in before the deadline, and they had to ‘fess up and say, Yeah, we don’t have a ton of local support, you know, right now, with this mayor and everything–but then the language Malago used somehow seemed to convey, But if you think we should keep going, IOC, (wink, wink) just let us know.

And then Malago dissolved the bid committee.

What? How can you keep a bid going when you’ve dissolved the committee?

Does he really think that they could get the bid back together if the IOC wants them to keep moving forward?

Maybe it’s poor translation. Maybe Malago might be trying to save some face here and spoke über-diplomatically. Rome dropped out of the 2020 race too, and perhaps that makes them look a little bad, getting the IOC’s hopes up for a nice competition (not to mention the $150,000 stage 3 fee they’re going to lose). Maybe he was just sad about the failure and tried to phrase it in the best light possible, since hope never dies.

At any rate, we’ll know for sure in December when the IOC announces who’s moving forward in the bid process.

 

 

2020 · IOC · Olympic cities · Tokyo 2020

Tokyo’s Getting Real

Given that everyone in Olympic Land is thinking about the 2024 bids, since the process’ next milestone is tomorrow, it’s also kind of convenient that Tokyo’s managed to pipe up and say, Excuse me, but we think this is really going to cost us a lot, and we’d to start managing costs now.

You may be aware that one of the big arguments that critics of the Olympics have is that they cost too damn much and they eventually become too much of a burden on host cities. I can’t argue with that. I love the Olympics, but I really don’t understand how the IOC can continue wanting Games the way they want them. It’s as if they think host committees are funded by some magical trust fund full of Old Money and that they can keep tapping it to maintain the lifestyle to which they are accustomed.

Unfortunately, real life doesn’t work that way, and Tokyo’s finding that they’re in a bit of a bind. A bind that involves poor spending, under budgeting, and construction costs that have already spiraled out of control.  Like a fourfold increase in the budget out of control. And this isn’t the first time they’ve had to scale back, according to the Japan Times, it’s the third. That says a lot about the stupid amount of money the IOC expects cities to spend on building venues and having everything just so (and the Japanese do “just so” extremely well).

The organizing committee’s come up with a list of options so that they can save a few (billion) yen, so now Tokyo’s getting ready to get real with the IOC. And the IOC–and some of the sports federations–don’t particularly like real talk.

Inside the Games reports that IOC President Thomas Bach says the IOC and Tokyo 2020 are going to talk about Tokyo’s budget issues in a “constructive way.” That’s a nice, diplomatic way to put it–and honestly, the IOC is full of very diplomatic people.

Here at The Feverr, we’re not so diplomatic. So we’re going to imagine this future conversation and translate it from diplomacese to English for you:

Tokyo 2020: Hey, Thomas! Tommy! How’s it going? How’s the family?

T. Bach: Eh, everyone’s fine. But I hear something’s wrong with your budget. What’s up with that?

Tokyo 2020: Yeah, well, we’ve got some egg on our face, but we’ve really got to cut some costs now, or we’re going to be way in over our head. Like suicide watch over our head.

T. Bach: But you promised us certain venues.

Tokyo 2020: We know, our dude, but construction is expensive, especially since Fukushima. We didn’t know how much of a crimp in our side a tsunami and nuclear disaster was going to be.

T. Bach: I understand, but do you know how promises work?

Tokyo 2020: Yeah, Tommy, but things change over time, and we’d like you to change with us.

T. Bach: We have standards.

Tokyo 2020: We get that–and we’ll meet your standards–but we’re just going to have to do it another way.

T. Bach: I’ve heard from my buddy JC over at World Rowing. He doesn’t like the proposed changes.

Tokyo 2020: (mutters under breath about JC and rowing)

T. Bach: What was that?

Tokyo 2020: Oh, nothing. Look, we get that JC and the gang over at World Rowing aren’t thrilled about being moved a few kilometers out of the city, but–

T. Bach: A few hundred you mean.

Tokyo 2020: Right, but no big deal, you know? We’ve got a great venue there, and that’ll free up some money so that we can get that new stadium built.

T. Bach: But JC says the Sea Forest is the best site for his sport.

Tokyo 2020: JC says. JC says! Look, JC can’t see the Sea Forest for the mother-effing kelp, you dig? We don’t have the money to build it anymore!

T. Bach: Can’t you find some? Start selling t-shirts or something.

Tokyo 2020: We are. But it’s not going to be enough because we’re probably going to overpay for construction or have some corruption or hire some consultants that don’t do much. Not to mention make everything super fancy for every time the IOC comes over.

T. Bach: We have standards.

Tokyo 2020: We get that Tommy, we do. And we get that a lot of people are going to be disappointed, but if you don’t work with us, we might just tell you to shove your Olympics. Where you gonna be then? Rio? Like their venues will still be functional! London? Oh, right. A lot of their venues were temporary. And are now gone. How about Beijing–or better yet, use Athens!

Tokyo 2020 laughs maniacally.

T. Bach: OK. I hear you. We’ll talk and get back to you. Hey, can you put aside some of that whiskey I like for the next time I visit?

Tokyo 2020: Yeah, sure thing, my friend. [Hangs up the phone] Whatever.

 

 

 

 

 

2024 · IOC · Olympic bids · Summer Olympics

Who’s Going to Bid?

This Friday is an important milestone in the timeline of the 2024 Summer Olympics: It’s the day the bid cities submit their second round of bidding info to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

According to Around the Rings, in this round, bid cities will let the IOC know just how the city plans to pay for the Games, as well as a bunch of legal and governance issue. Finally, they’ll let the IOC know what the people and businesses think of hosting the Games.

This last item is kind of a big deal–if the people and businesses don’t support the Games, the host committee is going to have an uphill battle. It’s been a straw that’s broken the camel’s back for some cities (see: Boston), and is currently an issue in Rome, where the City Council recently voted to withdraw its support for the Games.

This would shrink the number of bid cities from four to three–Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris are still in the running–but New Europe reports that Rome may continue its bid anyway.

This doesn’t mean that Rome’s a lock as a bid city–the IOC’s going to look at these bid updates and decide whether or not each city will be allowed to move on to the third round of the bid. Question is, does the IOC want to deal with cities where the bid is diametrically opposed? Or are they so worried about candidate cities dropping like flies (Hamburg’s the latest) that they want more cities to be a part of the bid process so that they don’t get caught in another situation where one city is the only bidder (Los Angeles 1984), which causes them to lose the upper hand?

 

IOC · Montreal 1976 · Olympics · Summer Olympics · Uncategorized

Field Trip: Celebrating Montreal 1976’s 40th Anniversary

I was in Montreal a few weeks ago and managed to catch the three exhibits around Montreal’s 40th anniversary of hosting the Olympic Games that are on until the end of September. It’s fascinating to look at how this event truly put the city into a financial crisis–and, one can argue that future cities have never learned, and that no one has challenged the IOC to say, Hey, we know you have a lot of money and want this whole “Olympic standard” atmosphere, but the Olympics ain’t immune to financial difficulties either, so we’re going to cut back a little bit.

To which the IOC generally says, No problem, we completely understand you. Here’s another five sports you need venues for. You can come up with something that’s more world-class than what you have today, right?

But I digress. Montreal’s celebrating its hosting at three museums that are all within proximity of each other:

  1. Souvenirs from 1976 – at Olympic Stadium (Parc Olympique Metro) (stadium tour included; going up in the tower is extra) Here you can walk through each day of the Olympic Games and learn about some of the big events of that day. Thre’s a bit about the building of the stadium as well to prepare you for your tour.
  2. The Builders Behind the Montreal Olympic Games, Exceptional Men and Women – at Maison de la culture Maisonneuve (4200 Ontario Street East) Here you’ll learn how the Olympics could be broken down into 140 different projects (some really quite massive), and how they all came together.
  3. The Olympic Park, Architecture Worth Celebrating – at Musée Dufresne-Nincheri (4040 Sherbrooke Street East) This exhibit is all about the building of the Olympic Stadium and really makes you wonder how anyone ever thought this building was a good idea (thought: blame the 1970s). This exhibit is actually on until January 8, 2017, so you do have a little more time to check it out.

Continue reading “Field Trip: Celebrating Montreal 1976’s 40th Anniversary”