Lindsey Vonn used her induction speech into the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame to urge athletes to put their platform to good use, “especially today,” the day the Supreme Court overturned the landmark ruling that guaranteed a women’s constitutional right to abortion. Vonn joined Michael Phelps, Billie Jean King, Michelle Kwan, Mia Hamm and the late Pat Summitt among the inductees into the Class of 2022. King, at the forefront in the fight for women’s advances in sports, was the first woman inducted in the “special contributor” category. She said it felt only appropriate that her honor came during the same week as the 50th anniversary of Title IX.
Changes are coming at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, sparked by frustration with years of flat revenue and what some portray as heavy-handed management in the wake of sex-abuse scandals that upended the movement in America. At their keynote addresses at this week’s annual assembly of U.S. athletes and administrators, both CEO Sarah Hirshland and chair Susanne Lyons said the federation’s top-line priority for the upcoming year is on athlete excellence and expanding revenue. This is a shift after years of placing athlete safety above all else after the scandals exposed what critics said was the USOPC’s single-minded focus on money and medals.
The IOC will not add a women’s Nordic Combined to the 2026 Winter Games. The decision on Friday confirms skiing as the only Olympic sport lacking gender equality. The long-term Olympic future of Nordic Combined was also put in doubt with no commitment to keep the men’s event on the program in 2030. Nordic Combined tests athletes in the contrasting disciplines of ski jumping and cross-country skiing. It was one of the original 16 medal events at the first Winter Games in 1924. The IOC cites concerns that Nordic Combined lacks a global audience and too few countries field women athletes.
IOC will not add women's Nordic Combined to 2026 Winter Games; remains the only gender imbalanced Olympic sport.
The biggest gathering of the year for U.S. Olympic policymakers came on the 50th anniversary of Title IX. One of their most urgent debates behind closed doors was what the future of the law might mean for transgender athletes in sports. U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee board members are trying to define their federation’s role in the discussion. The debate comes as global bodies that run swimming, rugby and, soon, possibly track and field, press forward with their own policy changes. USOPC chair Susanne Lyons says it will be difficult to set a policy. But, she says, the board agreed that as an organization that leads sports in this country, it's important to come up with a philosophy that can help guide the conversation in the U.S.
Recent meetings with the IOC have led U.S. officials to believe all signs point toward Salt Lake City bidding for the 2034 Winter Olympics, though they say Utah’s capital will be ready if asked to host the 2030 Games, too. U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee chair Susanne Lyons said she views Salt Lake City as the leading candidate for the 2034 Olympics, and that the complexities of hosting 2030 only two years after the Summer Games in Los Angeles make it a less-likely scenario.
Bans on transgender women in swimming and rugby this week opened the door for track and field to consider following suit in what could turn into a wave of policy changes in Olympic sports. The announcement from swimming’s governing body, FINA, was followed quickly by a show of support from World Athletics President Sebastian Coe. Coe said his own federation would review its policies on transgender athletes and intersex athletes at the end of the year. He says if World Athletics gets pushed into a decision between fairness or inclusion, he would always fall on the side of fairness. Some experts view that as a signal that World Athletics could use the FINA precedent to block all transgender or intersex athletes from competing in women’s events.
The final price tag for last year’s COVID-delayed Tokyo Olympics has been put at $13 billion (1.4 trillion Japanese yen). The Tokyo organizing committee announced the final cost before the body is dissolved at the end of the month. It was twice what was forecast in 2013 when Tokyo was awarded the Games. However, the final price tag presented by organizers is lower than the $15.4 billion they predicted when the Olympics ended just under 11 months ago. The University of Oxford in a study several years ago said Tokyo was the most expensive Olympics on record.
Wilma Rudolph becomes the first American woman to win three gold medals in an Olympics. The star Black sprinter becomes a prominent advocate for civil rights.
Naomi Kawase had more material than she knew what to do with after being commissioned by the International Olympic Committee almost four years ago to make a documentary about the Tokyo Olympics. She wound up making two films looking at the Games themselves and also looking at the behind-the-scenes trouble. Each film is two hours long. Much was linked to the unprecedented one-year postponement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She says in an interview with The Associated Press “that I never wavered” once she had her two-film structure.
The International Olympic Committee is expected to make a decision next week about whether to allow women to compete in Nordic combined at the 2026 Games. The sport has been part of the Winter Olympics since 1924. It is also the only Olympic sport without women. There is the possibility that the sport is dropped entirely, according to athletes and advocates. Five-time Olympian Billy Demong says the IOC's solution for gender equity may be to take men out of the program for 2026.
A small group of protesters gathered in central Tokyo and in the northern city of Sapporo to oppose Japan’s overtures to hold the 2030 Winter Olympics. About 50 people gathered in each locale holding “No Olympics” banners and trying to make their case to a passing public. Sapporo is considered among the favorites to land the 2030 Games along with Salt Lake City and Vancouver. All three cities have held previous Winter Olympics. Last week, Sapporo’s city legislature rejected a proposal to hold a city-wide referendum on the issue. Cities that have held public votes have usually turned down the proposal.
The World Anti-Doping Agency says more disciplinary cases by Olympic sports could follow a breakthrough court ruling in the Russian doping scandal. Three Russian canoeists, including an Olympic gold medalist, were banned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday for their part in a state-backed doping program. WADA prosecuted the case using evidence it got from a Moscow laboratory at the center of a years-long standoff with Russian authorities. WADA has also given Moscow lab data to other sports bodies and now wants some of them to review those cases after the evidence held up in court.
Most basketball games at the Paris Olympics could end up being played a three-hour journey outside the French capital, a plan that is facing criticism from the sport’s governing body. Paris organizers are struggling to find a suitable basketball venue for games before the medal rounds at the 2024 Summer Games and are now considering using the soccer stadium in Lille. The original plan was to use an arena in Paris, but that venue was dropped in March amid a backlash by NBA players from France who said the ceiling was too low. FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis cited serious concerns and called for athletes to be respected.
Delegates with the International Skating Union (ISU) voted 100 to 16 to raise the age limit.
Eileen Gu won two gold medals for China in freestyle skiing at the recent Beijing Olympics. Now the California-born athlete has signed on to work for Salt Lake City’s bid for the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics. Tom Kelly of the bid committee confirmed Gu’s participation to The Associated Press as an “athlete representative.” Gu made the announcement herself at the Time100 Summit. Kelly says “she is working with us, but we haven’t chosen her exact title." The choice could be controversial. The 18-year-old Gu was born in the United States to a Chinese mother. She competed for China at the Winter Games almost four months ago and won two golds and one silver medal in Beijing.
A new age limit for figure skaters at senior international events was passed Tuesday following the controversy surrounding Russian national champion Kamila Valieva at this year's Beijing Games.
Lindsey Vonn, Michelle Kwan, Mia Hamm, Billie Jean King and the late Pat Summitt are among the nine individual women who will be inducted into the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame this summer. Michael Phelps and hurdling great Roger Kingdom are also going in. Others voted onto the 2022 class were Natalie Coughlin, Muffy Davis, David Kiley, Trischa Zorn-Hudson and Gretchen Fraser. The 1976 women’s 4x100 freestyle relay swimming team, anchored by Shirley Babashoff in its stunning upset over the East Germans, and the 2002 men’s Paralympic sled hockey team also were voted into the hall by a mix of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, media and administrators and fans. The induction ceremony is set for June 24 at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs.
Japan’s northern city of Sapporo has rejected holding a referendum to give voters a choice over bidding for the 2030 Winter Olympics. Sapporo is known to be one of at least three candidates interested in holding the 2030 Winter Games. The others are Salt Lake City and Vancouver. Spain has also expressed interest. When voters in other cities have been given a choice, they have consistently rejected holding the Olympic Games, often citing costs and disruption to the host region or city. Sapporo held 1972 Winter Games. Salt Lake was host in 2002 and Vancouver in 2010.
President Joe Biden praised US Olympic and Paralympic athletes at the White House on Wednesday for not only their "incredible athleticism, but…
Fraser Bullock, who leads Salt Lake City's bid to return the Winter Olympics to Utah, sounds very confident about success.
Russian Olympic athletes who attended a rally supporting President Putin and the Ukraine invasion are facing a backlash, with one losing a sponsorship deal.