A sad, untimely farewell to Denis Ten, iconic as "The Artist" on ice

A sad, untimely farewell to Denis Ten, iconic as "The Artist" on ice

Canadian choreographer David Wilson was surprised and delighted when he got an “out-of-the-blue” email last week from Kazakh figure skater Denis Ten.

In the email, Ten asked if Wilson would help rework the free skate the choreographer had done for him last season so the program would fit the new time limit, 30 seconds shorter.

Wilson was surprised because he did not think Ten was going to compete next season after enduring another difficult struggle with chronic foot problems.

And Wilson was delighted because it would give Ten another opportunity to show the world a beautiful program to a song called, “SOS from An Earthling in Distress,” that the injuries had kept him from performing the way the skater and choreographer hoped.

“I was really touched Denis wanted to keep this program and thrilled that he was going to have another chance with it,” Wilson said from Toronto Thursday morning.  “Now it is gone.”

Ten, 25, died Thursday after what Kazakh media reported was an altercation with two people trying to steal mirrors from his car on a street in Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan.

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IOC dips an OAR in the water for symbolic 2018 Olympic punishment of Russian doping

IOC dips an OAR in the water for symbolic 2018 Olympic punishment of Russian doping

Let’s get this straight at the outset.

The International Olympic Committee’s unprecedented Tuesday decision on Russian participation at the 2018 Winter Olympics is, as yet, no big deal in any way eventual followers of the upcoming Games will find significant.

The IOC did not ban Russian athletes for the country’s involvement in systemic doping.  It banned a symbol, depriving Russia of the chance to show its flag or have its medalists honored with their national anthem or wear the country’s name on their uniforms.  Russian athletes undoubtedly will win medals of all colors, and, despite all the feel-good mantras about participating in the Olympics, results are what count.

Yes, it’s the first time such an action has been taken against an entire country because of doping.

But the IOC already has made its most important decisions regarding Russian Winter Olympic athletes by banning and taking medals from many involved in manipulation of tests at the Sochi Olympics.  If all these athletes lose their medals after appeals are exhausted, it will knock down Russia’s official medal count for the 2014 Olympics from 33 to 22.

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Why L.A. 2028 might not be such a good deal - for the city or the IOC

Why L.A. 2028 might not be such a good deal - for the city or the IOC

Now what for Los Angeles and a Summer Olympics it apparently won’t have until 2028?

For a number of reasons, an unprecedented 11-year wait between being named host city for the Games and staging them is fraught with potential pitfalls.

Costs will rise.  Contracts may need renegotiation.  Opponents will have more time to make their case.  The political landscape in Los Angeles could change dramatically.

Such issues need to be addressed because all signs currently point to the International Olympic Committee deciding in July to award both the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games rather than have Los Angeles and Paris contend for the lone prize they originally thought was at stake, the 2024 Olympics.

And, although this is less certain, the conventional wisdom now is that the IOC will not be smart enough to see the obvious reasons for giving 2024 to Los Angeles rather than Paris.

 

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Chances grow of two-for-one Summer Games (2024-28) deal

Chances grow of two-for-one Summer Games (2024-28) deal

The chances have increased substantially for the hosts of both the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics to be named at the same time this September.

That was the takeaway both from an action the International Olympic Committee executive board took Friday and also the statements IOC President Thomas Bach made in a press conference after the meeting at the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics, Pyeongchang, South Korea.

In his first public comments directly on the possibility of a joint award to Los Angeles and Paris, the 2024 candidates, Bach made it clear the IOC would do well “to exploit a positive situation” of having “two excellent candidates from two major Olympic countries.”

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On the defensive, IOC president plays alternative facts trump card

On the defensive, IOC president plays alternative facts trump card

Funny what you will find while looking for something else.

I was searching the International Olympic Committee’s web site to check a reported fact about how much the IOC charges cities to bid for the Olympic Games when I came across the headlines pictured above on a story posted the day after the Sept. 15, 2015 deadline for 2024 Summer Games bids to be submitted.

Eighteen months later, that headline looks like an IOC version of something Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway would have explained away as “alternative facts.”

A rejection in a public referendum (Hamburg), fiscal priorities (Rome) and the threat of a referendum (Budapest) have reduced the competition to just two world-class cities (Los Angeles and Paris) and made a mockery of the IOC’s self-congratulatory headlines.

In an interview last week with the German magazine Stuttgarter Nachrichten, IOC President Thomas Bach blamed the dropouts on the “anti-establishment movements we have in many European countries.”

Or, alt facts.

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