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  • Olympic Briefs - Remembering Judy Patching; Austrian NOC President Re-elected


    02/16/09

    AOC President John Coates remembers Australian sporting official Judy Patching as beloved. (Getty Images)
    (ATR) Coates Pays Tribute to Judy Patching

    Respected Australian sporting official Judy Patching died on Friday at 92. Patching had been involved in every Olympic Games since Melbourne in 1956, where he was the chief starter in the Olympic stadium.

    In a tribute by the Australian Olympic movement, Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates says he knows of no sporting official more loved by the athletes in his teams than Patching.

    “He devoted much of his life to the Olympics and I'm sure he would say it has been a labor of love,” Coates says. “He has always been a good friend, a gentleman and a most loyal supporter. He was much loved and the Olympic movement owes him so much.”

    Patching was secretary-treasurer and later secretary-general of the then-Australian Olympic Federation from 1974-85.

    Before heading up the AOF he was the athletics section manager on the 1960 Rome Olympic team, assistant chef de mission at the 1964 Tokyo Games and chef de mission at Mexico 1968 and Munich 1972. At Sydney 2000 he was the deputy mayor of the Olympic Village.

    Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper says there is no more distinguished person in the Australian Olympic movement.
    “He was one of the best people I've met,”' Gosper told the Melbourne Herald.

    “People like Judy Patching don't come along very often and you're lucky to know them.”

    Patching was the Australian team chef de mission during the most difficult episode to confront the Olympic Games - when Palestinian terrorists invaded the Olympic Village in Munich, killing 11 Israeli athletes and coaches and one German police officer.

    He supported then IOC President Avery Brundage’s decision that the "Games must go on."

    His wife of 63 years, Betty, died six years ago. Patching is survived by his sons Bruce and Colin, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

    Wallner Remains Austria NOC President

    Despite lobbying against his candidacy in the Austrian media, incumbent Leo Wallner is the unanimous choice of the Austrian Olympic Committee to serve a fifth term as president. The vote was held Feb. 13 in Vienna.

    Wallner, 73, has served since 1990. He is also an IOC member.

    Leo Wallner has been re-elected to a fifth term as president of the Austrian Olympic Committee. (Getty Images)
    Peter Schröcksnadel, president of the Austrian Ski Federation, had campaigned vigorously in Austria's largest newspaper, Kronen-Zeitung, against Wallner's return.

    Schröcksnadel was a central figure in the blood doping scandals of the 2002 and 2006 Winter Games that cast long shadows over the Austrian cross country and biathlon programs. He resigned as a member of the Austrian Olympic Committee following the 2006 scandal in Turin that included a police raid on private housing of the Austrian team.

    The IOC fined the Austrian Olympic Committee $1 million for the Turin debacle, a fine eventually paid by the Austrian Ski Federation.

    Questions have also been directed to Wallner about a transaction between the Salzburg bid for the 2014 Olympics and sponsor Audi. Wallner has ordered an independent audit of that transaction.

    European Youth Olympic Winter Festival Under Way

    The European Youth Olympic Winter Festival is bigger than ever. The ninth edition of the multisport event for 15 to 18 year olds began in Slask-Beskidy, Polandon Sunday.

    Around 1,120 athletes from a record 47 nations are participating in the Festival, which runs through Feb. 21. The 2007 EYOWF in Jaca, Spain held the previous high mark with 43 countries taking part.

    Opening ceremonies were on Sunday with competition starting on Monday.

    Switzerland has the largest group of athletes, 73, while Russia has 68 competitors.

    Nine Winter Olympic sports will be on the program: ice hockey, figure skating, alpine and cross country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined, curling, biathlon and snowboarding.

    Szczyrk will be the main host town, housing the majority of the participants and the main race offices. The town of Tychy is another host city and will be the venue of the ice hockey competition. Cieszyn (figure skating), Wisla (cross country) and Bielsko-Biala (curling) are also hosting events.

    The European Youth Olympic Winter Festival made its debut in Aosta, Italy in 1993. Andorra (1995), Sundsvall, Sweden (1997), Poprad-Tatry, Slovakia (1999), Vuokatti, Finland (2001), Bled, Slovenia (2003) and Monthey, Switzerland
    The WTA will reconsider the future of the Dubai Open after Israeli Shahar Peer was denied a visa to the UAE. (Getty Images)
    (2005) have also hosted the event.

    IOC President Jacques Rogge played an instrumental role in the creation of the competition in 1991, when he was president of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee and the European Olympic Committee.

    Preparations for the competition cost $32 million.

    The event will be televised by Eurosport2 in conjunction with Polish TV. A roundup of each day’s highlights will be shown in nightly Eurosport news events through the entire week.

    WTA to Review Dubai's Future after Player Ban

    Larry Scott, CEO of the women's tennis tour, says that the WTA's tournament in Dubai could be removed from next year's schedule. This decision comes after an Israeli player, Shahar Peer, was denied a visa to the United Arab Emirates.

    Scott said in a statement that the organization doesn't "accept or condone" the country's actions.

    “The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour believes very strongly, and has a clear rule and policy that no host country should deny a player the right to compete at a tournament for which she has qualified by ranking.”

    He added that WTA had a team in Dubai who would review whether the Dubai Tennis Championships remains on the tour.

    Third CISA Meeting Concludes

    The third annual International Convention for Sport in Africa (CISA) meeting wrapped up on Saturday in Alexandria, Egypt.

    More than 300 delegates from 35 countries worldwide came to the three-day meeting to discuss how to promote sport throughout Africa.

    There were six themes of discussion ranging on topics from sport development, doping, hosting major sporting events and sport management.

    Some of the guests who attended the meeting included Mounir Sabet, IOC member and chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Egypt; Lassana Palenfo, president of ANOCA; Egyptian Minister of Sports Hassan Sakr, Adel Labib, governor of Alexandria and others.

    …Briefs

    The Angolan NOC turns 30 on Tuesday. The celebration began on Monday with an exhibition handball match in Ondjiva.

    Written by Anthony Stavrinos, Greg Oshust and Ed Hula III.

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