Olympics

Tokyo Olympics Officially Postponed Until 2021

The Tokyo Olympics were postponed until 2021 on Tuesday, ending weeks of speculation that the games could not go ahead as scheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The International Olympic Committee made the decision after speaking with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local organizers. The IOC said the games will be held “not later than summer 2021” but they will still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” the IOC said in a statement. Before the official announcement, Abe said Bach had agreed with his proposal for a one-year postponement. “President Bach said he will agree ‘100%,’ and we agreed to hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in the summer of 2021 at the latest,” Abe said, saying holding the games next year would be “proof of a victory by human beings against the coronavirus infections.” On Sunday, Bach said a decision on postponing the games would be made in the next four weeks. But pressure grew as national federations, sports governing bodies and athletes spoke out against having the opening ceremony as planned on July 24. Four-time Olympic hockey champion Hayley Wickenheiser was the first IOC member to break ranks with Bach’s stance that the games would go ahead as planned when she publicly criticized the body’s unwavering strategy. After the announcement to postpone the game, she wrote on Twitter that the decision was the “message athletes deserved to hear.” “To all the athletes: take a breath, regroup, take care of yourself and your families. Your time will come,” she wrote. The decision came only a few hours after local organizers said the torch relay would start as planned on Thursday. It was expected to start in northeastern Fukushima prefecture, but with no torch, no torchbearers and no public. Those plans also changed. “For the time being, the flame will be stored and displayed in Fukushima,” organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said. The Olympics have never before been postponed, and have only ever previously been canceled in wartime. Organizers will now have to figure out how to keep things running for another year, while making sure venues are up to date for possible another 12 months. “A lot can happen in one year, so we have to think about what we have to do,” said Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee. “The decision came upon us all of a sudden.” The IOC and Tokyo organizers said they hope the decision to postpone will help the world heal from the pandemic. “The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” the IOC statement said. “Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

Bitter cold at Winter Olympics chills global-warming hype

The bone-chilling cold and icy winds in Pyeongchang have contributed to any number of wipe-outs for Olympic skiers and snowboarders, not to mention a public-relations face plant for the climate-change movement. Its dire warnings about how the Winter Olympics face an existential threat from global warming have been all but buried by the flurry of reports about frigid conditions at the 2018 games in South Korea, which are expected to set an Olympic record for cold temperatures. Climate activists have also been frustrated by a lack of global-warming coverage by NBC Sports, prompting a social-media campaign led by Public Citizen, Protect Our Winters and Climate Nexus urging the network to stop the “climate whiteout.” “Winter sports are taking a huge hit from our warming planet and the athletes who depend on cold weather and snow—are witnessing and experiencing climate change first hand,” they said in a statement on Alternet. “We can no longer talk about the Winter Olympics without warming.” This year, however, it’s impossible to talk about the Olympics without freezing. Organizers handed out blankets and heat pads to spectators at Friday’s opening ceremony, which was shortened by two hours in response to wind-chill temperatures that dipped below zero. A number of skiing events have been delayed as a result of high winds and ice pellets, and reports of spectators leaving outdoor events early in order to escape the brutal cold are rampant. “It was unbelievably cold,” ski jumper Noriaki Kasai of Japan told the AP. “The noise of the wind at the top of the jump was incredible. I’ve never experienced anything like that on the World Cup circuit. I said to myself, ‘Surely, they are going to cancel this.’” Skeptics like Climate Depot’s Marc Morano couldn’t resist needling leading environmental groups as they struggled to keep the global-warming theme afloat. “More bad luck for climate activists as they push for more talk of ‘global warming’ during what is perhaps the coldest Olympics on record,” said Mr. Morano, author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change.” “The activists had the climate script written well in advance of the Olympics, but their message has literally been frozen out by the extreme cold,” he said in an email. “Despite this cold reality, the activists demand that the climate narrative go forth.”

Mikaela Shiffrin’s Gold Rush Begins With a Bang

At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Mikaela Shiffrin won the slalom, but in her only other event, the giant slalom, she finished fifth. Shiffrin, then 18 years old, was peeved. “The next Olympics I go to,” she said at the time, “I’m sure as heck not getting fifth.” On Thursday, after three days of races postponed by strong winds, Shiffrin’s celebrated quest for multiple gold medals at the Pyeongchang Olympics finally began. And she emphatically lived up to her prophecy with a stirring, authoritative, come-from-behind victory in the giant slalom. Roaring down a steep and especially taxing racecourse, Shiffrin was both the most aggressive and most technically sound skier. Despite a minor miscue in the race’s final 50 yards, her two-run time of 2 minutes and 20.02 seconds was 0.39 seconds ahead of Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway. Italy’s Federica Brignone won the bronze medal. “It’s more than another gold medal,” said Shiffrin, who joins Ted Ligety and Andrea Mead Lawrence as the only Americans to win two Alpine Olympic gold medals. “I knew I might win multiple medals at these Olympics but I also knew I could come away with nothing. Now I know that I’ve got one.” But by winning in the giant slalom, which is her third-best event, Shiffrin has heightened her possibilities for at least three gold medals, which is the most any Alpine skier has won in any Olympics. On Friday, she will defend her Olympic title in what is her strongest event, the slalom. Next week, she will be favored in the Alpine combined, the last individual Alpine race of the Pyeongchang Games. Shiffrin also indicated on Thursday that she was planning to race in a fourth event next week, the women’s downhill. Although Eileen Shiffrin, Mikaela’s mother and one of her coaches, said her daughter would not enter a fifth event, the women’s super-G on Saturday. Shiffrin’s giant slalom victory completes a portion of a four-year journey to transform herself into an elite racer in every Alpine event. But the first of the events she had to conquer was the giant slalom, a speedier and more changeable race than the slalom. As Shiffrin said Thursday: “I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with giant slalom. It’s been a fight sometimes.” Only months after the 2014 Sochi Games, Shiffrin began a dedicated training program to improve in the event. As a high schooler then, she had once been among the best junior skiers in the world at giant slalom. But as she became a professional, she found more success in slalom and spent more time on it. Her giant slalom results, not surprisingly, lagged. Still, in the summer of 2014, Shiffrin began to study videotape of her best giant slalom runs, going all the way back to her days as an amateur. Alone in a dark room, an Olympic champion was taking the unusual step of scrutinizing her technique as a young teen. “The clues to improvement aren’t always in the places you expect,” Shiffrin said in an interview last year, recalling the summer of 2014. Shiffrin had another strategy to make the leap from being just a competitive World Cup giant slalom skier to one of the world’s best. She decided to spend hours quizzing Ligety, the American skier and defending Olympic giant slalom champion who had single-handedly revolutionized giant slalom technique between 2012 and 2013. In the fall of 2014, Shiffrin trained with Ligety in Colorado, not far from her home outside Vail. Afterward, they would watch videotape of that day’s training for an hour to 90 minutes. “I remember that Mikaela would ask me about 20 questions in every 15-minute span,” Ligety said late last year. “When we’d be done, I’d say, ‘What else do you want to know?’” “And she’d answer: ‘Everything else.’” In October that year, Shiffrin won her first World Cup giant slalom. Two months later, she had the first of six straight top 10 finishes in the event and by the winter of 2016-17, she was rarely out of the top five in any giant slalom. This season, she has won two giant slalom races and been second in another.

It was a thrill to watch Colorado native Mikaela Shiffrin win her gold last night!  We defintely look forward to seeing her go for more!  Go get ’em, Mikaela!!!    🙂

Norway’s Olympic team meant to order 1,500 eggs. Because of a translation error, they got 15,000

Anyone know how to say “we ordered too many eggs” in Norwegian? Norway’s Olympic team may need to read up on that after ordering 15,000 eggs when they meant to order 1,500. The chefs needed the eggs to feed Norwegian athletes at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. So the chefs put in an order for them with a local supermarket, using Google Translate. But they clearly made an error somewhere. “When the truck showed up, they started to carry in the eggs. After a while, they [the chefs] thought it lasted so long, it never stopped,” Halvor Lea, spokesman for the Norwegian Olympic Committee, told CNN. So they asked the driver how many eggs were there. The driver replied 15,000. “They said themselves that it was a Google translate slip,” Lea said. “I don’t know.” Fortunately for the chefs, the supermarket took back 13,500 eggs.

Fortunately, indeed…     🙂

Officials: Mike Pence Did Not Snub North Koreans Seated Nearby at Olympics Opening Ceremony

Officials traveling with Vice President Mike Pence during his trip to the Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies pushed back on reports that Pence snubbed the North Koreans and that he knowingly chose to accept a seat in South Korea’s box in which North Korean representatives were also seated. Earlier on Friday, Pence and second lady Karen Pence met with North Korean defectors at the Cheonan Memorial, which is located outside of Seoul, South Korea. The Pences were joined by Otto Warmbier’s father, Fred Warmbier. Pence told the defectors that he was “very grateful for [their] presence and very grateful for [their] courage.” He added that he “wanted the honor of meeting with the men and women who fled the tyranny of North Korea.” Pence told the defectors that it was important that the truth about North Korea is known during the Olympic Games. The Vice President held a press gaggle outside of the memorial during which he was asked whether his message on North Korea was being overshadowed by Olympic fever or Kim Jonh-un’s sister’s presence there. Pence responded that President Donald Trump sent him there to “reaffirm the strong relationship between the United States, Japan, and South Korea.” He then added that the President also sent him to South Korea to: Make sure that as north Korea engages in what prime minister Abe rightly called a “charm offensive” around the Olympics. A charm offensive that they’ve have done before at the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2006 – which as I mentioned earlier this week – it would just be a matter of eight months after the 2006 winter Olympics that North Korea tested their first nuclear bomb. Pence also told the press that the night prior, he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in “reaffirmed our commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” He added that Moon repeated a message in private that Moon has spoken in public, “that South Korea stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States and our allies in continuing to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically.” During a pre-Olympics Opening ceremonies reception in Pyeongchang later that day, Pence “did not come across” the North Korean delegation, according to a spokesman for the Vice President. The North Koreans were present at the reception at the same time as Pence. Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence sat in South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s box for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. They sat in the same row as President Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The three had held a meeting ahead of the ceremony. Both Kim Yong Nam and Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, also sat in Moon’s box. A White House official indicated that it was fair to cast the lack of interaction between Pence and the North Koreans in Moon’s box as mutual. White House officials clarified for the press that it was known ahead of time that the North Koreans would also be seated in Moon’s box, and Pence knowingly chose to sit in Moon’s box instead of in the U.S. delegation box. White House officials told the press: We wanted to show the alliance seated together. We wanted the North Koreans to see the vice president, Abe and Moon sitting directly in front of them for the Opening Ceremonies, and it would show that that alliance is strong. At any moment, he could have gotten up and left and sat somewhere else, and then you would have had the imagine of North sitting in the box with South Korea and Japan. But he stayed there the entire time. Pence sat in front row and talked to Moon and Abe and their spouses, and the North Koreans sat in the back and didn’t talk to anybody, and that image is telling,” the officials said. The North Koreans had met with Abe at the earlier reception and with Moon. “I just don’t think you talk geopolitics over speed skating. He’s been very clear what his message is. Fred Warmbier attended the ceremony as Pence’s guest, but in the U.S. delegation box. The North and South Korean Olympic athletes entered the ceremony together under a united flag. White House officials speaking with the press after the evening’s Opening Ceremony pushed back on reports in the South Korean media that Pence had snubbed the North Koreans.

U.S. Olympian Shani Davis Injects Race Into Coin Toss that Decided U.S. Olympic Flag-Bearer

An African American skater on the U.S. Olympic team is angry about the results of a coin toss that was used to decide whether he, or a white female skater, would represent the U.S. in the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics this week in Peyongchang, South Korea. In a Thursday tweet, champion speed skater Shani Davis — who is black —injected race into the coin flip decision over which athlete would carry the U.S. flag during the opening ceremonies. Earlier this week, U.S. Luger Erin Hamlin — who is white — was chosen to carry the flag from among a group of U.S athletes. However, Davis, who was also one of the finalists, included the hashtag #BlackHistoryMonth2018 in a tweet. After listing several of his accomplishments, which he believes, should have made him the flag-bearer. “I am an American and when I won the 1000m in 2010 I became the first American to 2-peat in that event. @TeamUSA dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer. No problem. I can wait until 2022,” he wrote on February 8. Davis’ status as an American and his accomplishments as an Olympian, are not in dispute. Though, one has to wonder why he included the Black History Month hashatg, in his tweet. Unless of course, Davis is alleging race played a factor in the decision. If he is, this might be the first racially-motivated coin toss in the history of the Olympics. Hamlin and Davis were among eight athletes being considered to carry the flag in the opening ceremony, ESPN reported. But the voting for the finalist deadlocked between the final two athletes and as previously agreed upon by all participants a coin toss was used to break the tie. That coin toss went Hamlin’s way. But on the day after the announcement of Hamlin’s selection, it appears that Davis is unhappy with the results and feels he is more entitled to carry the flag than Hamlin. As ESPN noted, Davis has a history of throwing tantrums, and this is not the first time he has caused an Olympic controversy. “In 2006, Davis — the first African-American to win an individual gold medal at a Winter Games — decided not to take part in the team pursuit at the Turin Games and raised the ire of teammate Chad Hedrick,” ESPN reported. “Their animosity toward each other was obvious at a news conference, when Hedrick brought up the team pursuit and Davis stormed out of the room.”

Shani is an obnoxious, entitlement-minded, spoiled brat…and an embarrassment to Team USA.  And his shamelessly playing the race card over a COIN TOSS is beyond ridiculous and shows how much of an immature, whiny little child he is.  By EXTREME contrast…  Congrats to Erin!  We look forward to seeing her carry our flag tomorrow night in the opening ceremonies.  Go Team USA!!!    🙂

Comcast hopes for a TV windfall from Super Bowl, Olympics

Comcast’s NBC is airing both the Super Bowl and the Olympics in February, a double-whammy sports extravaganza that the company expects to yield $1.4 billion in ad sales, helping it justify the hefty price it’s paying for both events. NBC is banking heavily on these sports events since traditional TV ratings have slumped in recent years. Live sports are marquee TV events that draw most of the largest TV audiences, but even those ratings have declined. More Americans are dumping their cable packages — Comcast lost 33,000 video customers in the fourth quarter and 151,000 for all of 2017 — and advertisers are following consumers to their phones. Spending on U.S. TV ads is expected to grow an anemic 0.4 percent this year, according to eMarketer. In the October-December quarter, NBCUniversal’s broadcast TV ad revenue fell 6.5 percent, after a boost in 2016 from election ads. As it adapts to a slowing TV market, NBC is continuing some digital efforts from Rio and expanding others to meet viewers wherever they are — whether in front of a TV or not. The Super Bowl reaches more than 100 million people in the U.S., outstripping every other TV event. It’s the most expensive ad time on TV. This year’s Super Bowl is Feb. 4 and follows a two-year slump in regular-season NFL ratings, according to ESPN . But NBC has said it is not worried about a lack of interest. The game is an event that “transcends sport and even the game itself,” Dan Lovinger, an NBC Sports ad-sales executive, said in January, about three weeks before the game. NBC said then that it had nearly sold out Super Bowl ad spots and that on average, companies are paying more than $5 million for 30-second ads during the game. Kantar Media expects rates slightly higher than last year’s $5.05 million. Fox aired the Super Bowl in 2017, and said it had $500 million in ad revenues for the day. NBC has predicted about $500 million for the game and associated events this year. NBC also makes money from ads during events before and after the game and a special episode that day of its hit drama, “This is Us.” For the first time, it’s selling ads for the game that will only appear on its app or website. NBC is paying $963 million for the broadcast rights to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which follow a Summer Olympics in Rio two years ago that disappointed in some ways. NBC ruled the airwaves during the Rio Games, besting other networks, and raked in $250 million in profit. But ratings for the prime-time broadcast declined compared to the London Olympics in 2012, so NBC had to give advertisers some extra ad slots to make up for it. This time around, NBC will sell ads for this Olympics based on total viewership, counting cable and digital viewers as well as those who tune into NBC proper. That gives them more leverage with advertisers, said Brian Wieser, an ad analyst for Pivotal Research Group. NBC expects to sell more than $900 million worth of ads for the Olympics, which it says would be the highest ever for a Winter Games. (Summer Games are more popular.) The company is offering more hours of programming this year, both on TV and online, than it did for the Sochi Games in 2014. Past Olympics have been criticized by fans for tape-delayed events. This year, NBC will air its nightly prime-time broadcast simultaneously across the country. That means the West Coast evening broadcast will start early, at 5 p.m.

For more, click on the text above.

Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics by I.O.C.

Russia’s Olympic team has been barred from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound. Any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals. That was the punishment issued Tuesday to the proud sports juggernaut that has long used the Olympics as a show of global force but was exposed for systematic doping in previously unfathomable ways. The International Olympic Committee, after completing its own prolonged investigations that reiterated what had been known for more than a year, handed Russia penalties for doping so severe they were without precedent in Olympics history. The ruling cemented that the nation was guilty of executing an extensive state-backed doping program. The scheme was rivaled perhaps only by the notorious program conducted by East Germany throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. Now the sports world will wait to see how Russia responds. Some Russian officials have threatened to boycott if the I.O.C. delivered such a severe punishment. President Vladimir V. Putin seemed to be predicting a boycott of the Pyeongchang Games, since his foreign policy in recent years has been based on the premise that he has rescued Russia from the humiliation inflicted on it by the West after the collapse of the Soviet Union. His spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, has said no boycott was under discussion before the announcement, however, and the news broke late in the evening in Moscow when an immediate official reaction was unlikely. In barring Russia’s team, Olympic officials left the door open for some Russian athletes. Those with histories of rigorous drug testing may petition for permission to compete in neutral uniforms. Although it is unknown exactly how many will clear that bar, it is certain that the contingent from Russia will be depleted significantly. Entire sports — such as biathlon and cross-country skiing, in which Russia has excelled and in which its drug violations have been many — could be wiped out completely. Thomas Bach, president of I.O.C., has said he was perturbed not only by Russia’s widespread cheating but by how it had been accomplished: by corrupting the Olympic laboratory that handled drug testing at the Games, and on orders from Russia’s own Olympic officials. In an elaborate overnight operation at the 2014 Sochi Games, a team assembled by Russia’s sports ministry tampered with more than 100 urine samples to conceal evidence of top athletes’ steroid use throughout the course of competition. More than two dozen Russian athletes have been disqualified from the Sochi standings as a result, and Olympic officials are still sorting through the tainted results and rescinding medals. At the coming Games, Mr. Bach said Tuesday, a special medal ceremony will reassign medals to retroactive winners from Sochi. But, in light of legal appeals from many of the Russian athletes who have been disqualified by the I.O.C., it is uncertain if all results from Sochi will be finalized in time. The Russian Olympic Committee was also fined $15 million on Tuesday.

Wow….

Olympic champ Katie Ledecky wait-listed at D.C. swim club for years

Swimmer Katie Ledecky stunned the world with one of the greatest performances in Olympic history, scoring four gold medals and one silver at the Rio Olympics. But the 19-year-old’s record-breaking achievements are reportedly not enough to get her into a swim club not far from her family’s suburban Washington, D.C., home. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ledecky’s family has been on the wait-list to join the Little Falls Swimming Club for years — first applying for membership some 15 years ago. Entry into the club is competitive. The selection process uses a numerical formula that gives prospective members points based on 10 concentric rings of increasing distance between an applicant’s residence and the exact center of the pool, the newspaper reported. The Ledecky family, from Bethesda, Md., remained on the waiting list even after their daughter won her first gold medal in 2012 at the London Olympics, according to the paper. Some members of the club noted the irony. “It’s kind of humorous that the fastest female swimmer couldn’t get into our pool,” Bob Scribner, a local schoolteacher and the pool’s board member in charge of membership this year, told the paper. “But I don’t think it’s funny enough that we should change the rules.”

Yeah…real funny Bob…you tool.  What breathtakingly bad business decision for this snotty little club.  They have arguably the fastest female swimmer on the planet trying to swim at their pool..and they won’t let her because of some stupid mathematical formula?  Seriously?  Can you imagine the good publicity the club would get from Katie’s membership?  Wow..  What morons..  Shame on the Little Falls Swimming Club and it’s board..

Uncle Sam goes for gold, too: Up to $9,900 per Olympic gold medal

Michael Phelps swims fast, but not fast enough to beat Uncle Sam, who awaits him at the finish line each time he wins a medal. His total income tax bill for the 2016 Games? Up to about $55,000 for his five golds and one silver. Olympic athletes who bring home medals also bring home cash — $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze — paid for by the United States Olympic Committee. Like any prize winner, from a jackpot hitter to a Nobel Prize recipient, the athletes are taxed because Olympic medals and cash bonuses are considered income, said Steven Gill, associate professor of accounting at San Diego State University. The maximum possible “victory tax” on the bonus for each gold medal, using the top tax rate of 39.6% for the nation’s highest earners, is $9,900, according to Americans for Tax Reform. For silver, it’s $5,940, and for bronze it’s $3,960. Athletes in lower tax brackets would owe less — and keep in mind that some or all of their massive training expenses would likely be deductible, whether they treat their sport as a business or a hobby. The medals themselves are taxed, too, but they’re not as valuable as their shiny goodness may appear. Based on the commodity prices of the metals involved, gold is worth in the neighborhood of $600, silver about $300 and bronze next to nothing. What they’d go for on the open market is much higher, easily $10,000 or more, but that’s not a factor unless an athlete sells or otherwise disposes of the medal, according to tax expert Blake Christian, partner at Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt. Congress has tried to give Olympic athletes a tax break. In 2012, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced a bill to shield medals and bonuses from Uncle Sam, but it died. “We can all agree that these Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it,” Rubio said in a statement then. This year, Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sponsored a similar bill to eliminate taxes on Olympic and Paralympic athletes. The bill passed the Senate in July. “Our Olympian and Paralympic athletes should be worried about breaking world records, not breaking the bank, when they earn a medal,” Schumer said in a statement last week. As for Phelps and his maximum Olympic tax bill of $55,440, don’t worry. He probably won’t have a hard time paying up. His net worth is about $55 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

But still..  That’s hardly the point.  And besides..  Not all of our Olympic athletes have Phelps’ bank account.  So, are still in high school or paying for college…and in their teens trying to make ends meet.  So, shame on our federal government for taxing these great athletes who are making us proud in Rio, and representing our country with class and distinction.  We’re better than that.