#ICYMI -- In Case You Missed It ... Sometimes the best stories don't get the attention we think they deserve. Here are our staff picks for articles this week they really want you to know about..
Alpine Skiers Cautiously Look Ahead to Beijing 2022
Mikaela Shiffrin talks to media in Cortina after winning her fourth medal in slalom on Sunday. (ATR)
(ATR) Cortina d’Ampezzo passed the International Ski Federation flag to Courchevel Méribel as the next host of the Alpine World Ski Championships for 2023.
As the two-week flagship event concluded on Sunday in the 1956 Olympic resort. some ski racers started to discuss and look forward, cautiously, to the sport’s next major championship, the Beijing 2022 Games. Or perhaps it has more to do with journalists peppering them with questions about the next Winter Games, which are now less than one year away.
“Prepare for something you can’t prepare for,” says two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin, who medaled in four events in Cortina, tops at the championship. “All we can do is try to get a little bit back to normal…first we try to finish the season this year. Last year, about this time, it was being canceled.
“Hoping this summer we’ll be able to get back to a little more normal life for everyone. For athletes, that will help us get more normal preparation, equipment testing and all the things that go into putting together good performance for an entire season, especially when it’s an Olympic season,” said the 25-year-old U.S. ski racing star.
“It’s like going in blind – we’re all in the same boat,’ Shiffrin said, about Beijing 2022.
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The Opinionist: Australian Open Points to Post-Pandemic Sport
By Michael Pirrie
(ATR) Just when we were resigned to almost empty stadiums, the 2021 Australian Open took sport on a nostalgic journey to a time when spectators and players could safely attend and participate at major sporting events.
Socially distanced fans returned to Melbourne Park. (Australian Open)
After a year of ghost games behind closed gates and shuttered stadia, the first Grand Slam of the year offered some reassuringly familiar sights and sounds.
Cardboard cut outs of fans and simulated applause were replaced by real spectators and cheering crowds, along with socially distant queues for food and alcohol, bands and merchandise stands.
There were many top shelf performances in the Rod Laver Arena but the biggest victory was the presence of fans back in the stands - and no COVID cases amongst players or spectators during the tournament.
"It's good to see people again," the winner of the women's tournament, Naomi Osaka, said, beaming up at the crowds after her first round win.
The biosecurity measures that helped to make crowds possible again have been closely monitored during the Melbourne tournament by major event committees worldwide. These included organizers of Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics, both of which could not be staged last year due to the pandemic.
The return of fans for the AO finals - capped at 50 percent for safety after containment of the highly transmissible UK variant - marked another step in sport's fragile recovery from COVID.
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Ahmad Trial Delayed in Geneva
Sheikh Ahmad announces his self-suspension as ANOC president at the group's meeting in Tokyo in November 2018. (ATR)
(ATR) A Swiss court orders a delay in the long anticipated trial of Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al Sabah.
The IOC member and president of the Olympic Council of Asia was to stand trial in Geneva, Switzerland this week, accused in a scheme more than six years ago of creating false evidence that fellow members of the Kuwait royal family were plotting a coup.
The trial is taking place in Geneva because Ahmad is accused of using three Swiss lawyers to carry out the crime. The charges say Ahmad got the attorneys to falsely authenticate a video purportedly showing the former prime minister and another official plotting the overthrow of the Emir of Kuwait.
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