Figure skating fans in Nepal, Iran, Peru, Brazil and Singapore? Free streaming of Junior Grand Prix has drawn viewers in such seemingly unlikely places

Figure skating fans in Nepal, Iran, Peru, Brazil and Singapore?  Free streaming of Junior Grand Prix has drawn viewers in such seemingly unlikely places

Hi, Ted,

I’m Laura from Peru. I like figure skating so much; perhaps it’s not very popular in my country. I wanted to thank you for your comments on the events. They are very useful for people like me who just started to follow this sport.

–Email sent to Ted Barton during one of this season’s Junior Grand Prix events

 Laura Quinto Castro spent her childhood in Tarma, a city at 10,000 feet in the Peruvian Andes, where there was no ice rink. When Quinto Castro moved 150 miles west to coastal Lima, at age 11, she found what had been the lone permanent rink in her country, but that facility now has become itinerant in Peru’s capital for lack of funding.

Quinto Castro, 27, still managed to develop a strong attraction to figure skating by watching ESPN Latin America’s telecast of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Like many people worldwide, she was mesmerized by the exploits of 15-year-old Russian Yulia Lipnitskaya. A couple years later, Quinto Castro wondered what had happened to Lipnitskaya, the darling of the Sochi Winter Games.

So Quinto Castro began searching YouTube, which recommends videos based on the subject of the searches. One day, a video from the International Skating Union’s Junior Grand Prix Skating Channel on YouTube popped up. She subscribed to the channel and found that it does streams of the JGP competitions that are available free and live throughout the world everywhere but Japan and South Korea, where TV networks have bought rights to the junior events.

Quinto Castro, a one-time roller skater, now is among the 66,754 subscribers to the channel, which will do its final live broadcasts of this season from the Junior Grand Prix Final Thursday through Saturday in Vancouver. Twelve-month streaming data (August-to-August) of Junior Grand Prix events on the YouTube channel, both live and archived, show viewer hits grew from 3.1 million for 2014-15 to 14.1 million for 2017-18 and could reach 15 million in 2018-19. The totals increase as people watch archived video.

Viewers to date this season have come from 83 countries. And Peru, which is not an ISU member country, is just one of the unlikely places where people are watching.

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Adding more seats to its gravy train costs the IOC way more than it seems

Adding more seats to its gravy train costs the IOC way more than it seems

Sometimes things are hidden in plain sight.

And sometimes you find them deep in a publicly available document.

And sometimes they come to your attention because the keen eye of a colleague points them out, as, in this case, David Owen did for a recent blog on insidethegames.biz.

And the case in question is just another example of how International Olympic Committee members and those non-members who serve on IOC commissions live off the fat of the land.

And all these people are volunteers, ostensibly inclined to get involved with what is pretentiously called the Olympic Movement (capital “M” in IOC documents) out of an altruistic desire to help athletes in Olympic sports.

Altruism, it turns out, has its financial rewards, shared by an ever-growing number of people, as Owen detailed.

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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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A cautionary tale in book about Boston's Olympic bid demise

A cautionary tale in book about Boston's Olympic bid demise

“Hence, horrible shadow!  Unreal mockery, hence!”

                                                 --Macbeth, Act III, Scene IV

Like Banquo’s ghost, the specter of dead Olympic bids will be in the room to haunt the International Olympic Committee’s executive board Friday as it discusses an extraordinary, temporary ablution of the bloody mess past vainglories have left.

And the spirit of No Boston Olympics also will hover over the proceedings in Lausanne, Switzerland, reminding the IOC that its days of selfishly dictating terms to supplicant cities are ending, at least where democratic countries are concerned.

The 2015 victory by an underfunded group of seemingly quixotic volunteers over the wealthy, politically vested interests who pushed for Boston as the 2024 Summer Olympic host serves, like Macbeth, as a cautionary tale about the limits of power and wanton ambition.

So worried is the IOC about the impact of having its members vote in September to reject either Paris or Los Angeles, the two great cities (and the only cities) still seeking the 2024 Summer Olympics, that it is apparently set to approve an unprecedented process after which one city will get 2024 and the other, 2028.  (L.A. likely has the latter.)

This is a clear case of the chooser having been turned beggar.

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