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.

Olympics · PyeongChang 2018 · Tickets · Winter Olympics

2018 Ticket Time!

We’re coming up on the one-year-to-go date, for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, which means that tickets are going on sale!

The buying process varies depending on where you live. If you live in Korea, you’ll buy through the PyeongChang website and go through a lottery process. That means you have from now until April 23 to apply for tickets. You only get to choose the sports and particular sessions you’d like to see. On May 8, you find out what tickets you get, and you pay for them. Then on May 14, seat assignments start, and they’re announced on September 5. If you don’t want to deal with the ticket lottery, general sales start on September 5, and in-person sales start in October.

If you don’t live in Korea, then you have to go through an Authorized Ticket Reseller (ATR). In the US, Australia, Bulgaria, Norway, Sweden and Russian Federation, that entity is Cosport. Its sales also start on February 9, and you’ll get to purchase from the allotment that’s been given to Cosport (all of the various ATRs get so many tickets–they may get more, depending on how sales are going). You still don’t get to choose your seat assignments (and there’s no guarantee that your party will even be seated together), but you’ll find out in December what you’ve been given.

Good luck to everyone purchasing tickets!

Olympic Sports · Olympics · Uncategorized

Olympic Sports of the Future?

The Olympics–particularly the Summer Olympics–are massive events featuring a ton of sports. So how does a sport get included into the Games?

First off, you can’t just make up a sport and then find it in the Olympics four years later. It’s a lot more complicated than that. Sports have to have certain elements to be considered for inclusion in the Olympics:

  1. The sport has an International Federation. International Federations basically run the events for their sports at the Games, so there’s got to be one overarching international governing body per sport because…
  2. The sport has to be practiced and organized in at least 50 countries in order to be recognized by the IOC.
  3. Federations have to have a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-compliant policy.
  4. Federations have to have regular world and continental championships.
  5. Federations have to be well-governed and also be independent entities.
  6. Sports need to demonstrate commitment to youth because you have to ensure the future existence and growth of the sport.

When you can check off these boxes, you can take the path to becoming an IOC Recognised International Sports Federation and from there you petition the IOC to get into the Games. Alternatively (and this is part of the IOC’s attempt to bring the costs of the Games down), a particular Games can also petition to have new sports included.

There’s an association for this group of International Federations called ARISF, the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations. It’s kind of like the farm team for Olympic Sports. You hang out there and kibbitz with your fellow sporting associations about issues you have, how to stage good events, etc. You also try your darndest to get into the Olympic Games.

Some groups have been successful, like karate, surfing and climbing sports. They’re three of the five new sports you’ll see at Tokyo 2020–maybe not beyond 2020, but they’ll be in for at least that Games. When Golf got onto the program, it was guaranteed for at least two Olympics, and then it will be up for review again.

But back to the farm team players. ARISF consists of 35 members. Who are the rest of them? What are some of the potential future Olympic sports?


Life Saving

Tug-of-War (a former Olympic sport)


Ski Mountaineering


Roller Sports (FIRS has tried to get inline speed skating into the Olympics, but there are other disciplines, including inline hockey and artistic skating)

Underwater Sports





There are more–many more. And then there are sports that are trying to check off the criteria boxes in order to get into this club, like the International Pole Sports Federation and World Bowls and the International Federation overseeing fishing.

Should these sports be in the Olympics? Inclusion really means a bump in exposure and potentially participation, and increased participation is really a goal for all sports. But does a sport need the Olympics in order to be successful?


Favorite Olympic Moments · Los Angeles 1984 · Olympics

Favorite Olympic Moments: Los Angeles 1984 – The Tie!

Welcome to a new feature we’re calling “Favorite Olympic Moments,” where we reminisce about some of the moments that make the Olympics so exciting and so much fun to watch. These are the moments where athletes faced the pressure of the world stage and defined the Olympic spirit.

Los Angeles 1984.

During the LA games, I was pretty into swimming. I was a decent age-group swimmer, specializing in breaststroke (and later–oddly enough, since I wasn’t great at butterfly–Individual Medley). I also was a solid breaststroke leg on a medley relay. I’d spent a couple of summers going to week-long swim camps–one run by the legendary Doc Counsilman from Indiana University–which improved my swimming a lot (I actually still swim some of the drills I learned there when I swim my own workouts), and solidified my excitement about the sport.

The LA Games happened in the middle of my swimming “career,” so to speak, and it was the first Games that got me hooked on the Olympics. Swimming events are early on in the Games, so I was glued to the TV early and often. For me, the women’s 100-meter freestyle really set the tone for an amazing Games. Take a watch:

Continue reading “Favorite Olympic Moments: Los Angeles 1984 – The Tie!”

Montreal 1976 · Olympic cities · Olympics

Montreal 1976-2016 in Pictures

As a follow-up to my last post about Montreal, I wanted to share a bunch of pictures I took of Olympic Park and the exhibits I visited this month.

The park itself is a really cool place today. In looking at pictures of the original open field that had a couple of smaller venues and what it has become in the Olympic Park, I think Montreal has developed a really interesting, vibrant area of land that generates a good amount of traffic. Even though the stadium is a massive boondoggle, the rest of the park is worth exploring–there’s an urban garden, some tennis courts, and a funky outdoor café among other things.  It seems like the city is really trying to keep it in good shape and find ways for people to use it. In fact, the World Skateboarding Federation announced this past July that a new skatepark is in the works for Olympic Park.

This concept of ultra-expensive Olympics contrasted with the legacy the Games leave behind is something I want to continue exploring in this blog. Look for more posts on Olympic cities and the impact of the Games on them in the future.

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”

Closing Ceremonies · Olympics · Rio 2016 · Uncategorized

Rio: Tchau e Obrigada

Closing Ceremonies

10:50 PM EDT

The show is over, the Flame is out. Tonight’s Closing Ceremonies was really lovely–a lot of dancing and celebration of Brazil, the athletes and the Olympics to come. Some good memories from a country that tried, even though it’s fallen on harder times. I hope Brazil gets a nice boost from this effort and that the rest of the world is influenced by its culture.

Onward to Tokyo 2020. A seriously cool handoff performance. I can’t wait to see what they deliver in four years!

8:48 PM EDT

The Tongan guy is back (in the background)! Why is this not being discussed on the broadcast?!?

Oops, we spoke too soon. They brought him up on stage to promote the Olympic Channel.

8:12 PM EDT

All good things must come to an end, and that’s what Rio 2016 has been, don’t you think? It’s been a good Games. Not a great one–though we’ve had tons of great athletic moments–but the issues overshadowing the organization and the operation have seemed to have too big of a shadow for the athletes to overcome.

But we have to say good-bye at some point, and I’m currently enjoying the lighting and musical spectacle they’re putting on. That’s all you really need, right?

Oh! And that kinetic sculpture with the flame looks so amazing in the stadium!