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  • Olympic Newsdesk -- U.S. Figure Skating Champs; IOC on T.V. Rights


    Evan Lysacek may be the best hope for a U.S. medal in figure skating in Vancouver. First he has to qualify in the next week at the U.S. championships in Spokane. (Getty Images)
    U.S. Figure Skating Champs

    The 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships begin today in Spokane, Wash and will run over two weekends to accommodate NBC.

    The championships, which serve as an Olympic qualifier, will take a three-day break next week in order to attract higher TV audiences on the weekend

    Despite the off days, fans are expected to flock to the five-day championships at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Advance ticket sales surpass 140,000. It’s the second time in a row Spokane has hosted the U.S. championships.

    Figure Skating Media Watch

    Jere Longman of The New York Times laments a U.S. figure skating scene that is devoid of buzz.

    IOC Still Waits for the Right Moment to Make U.S. Deal

    The lead negotiator from the IOC for the U.S. rights to the 2014/2016 Olympics tells Around the Rings the IOC is not in any hurry make a deal with a U.S. network.

    “We can wait a bit if need be,” says Richard Carrion, Puerto Rico IOC member and chair of the IOC Finance Commission.

    “Our preference is to do it as soon as practicable but we continue to pay attention to the market and to when conditions are best,” he says.

    Earlier this week NBC Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol complained that higher rights fees will likely mean the network’s first-ever loss from an Olympics. NBC is paying about $2.2 billion for the 2010/2014 Games.

    There’s talk that Ebersol may be posturing ahead of negotiations. NBC has held the rights to the Summer Games since Seoul in 1988 and to Winter Games since Nagano in 1998.

    Along with NBC, competition for the next round of TV rights is expected from ABC/ESPN, CBS and Fox, all the major U.S. networks.

    Complicating things a bit for NBC is the pending acquisition of the network by U.S. cable company Comcast.

    NBC is also in the process of being acquired by the Comcast cable TV network. With regulatory and financial details still to be worked out, the deal might not be finalized until late this year.

    Nagasaki Not Bidding for 2020

    Nagasaki will not make an independent bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said on Friday.

    Last year Nagasaki and Hiroshima originally proposed a joint-bid to host the games to promote a world devoid of nuclear weapons. The Japanese Olympic Committee rejected the proposal because the Olympic Charter states that only one city from one country can make a bid for the Games.

    Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba said that his city is working on a 2020 bid. The Nagasaki mayor said he would support an independent Hiroshima bid.

    "While the Olympic charter continues to state one city per country, the options for an atom-bombed city to stage the Games are obviously limited," Taus was quoted in media reports.

    The JOC said last month that it would wait until 2011 before deciding whether to make a bid for 2020 Games. Tokyo could make a repeat run for the Games after failing to capture the 2016 Olympics last year. Nagasaki is also a possible contender.

    IOC Suspension Consequences

    The International Fencing Federation withdrew a men’s epee event in Kuwait after the IOC suspended the Kuwaiti Olympic Committee. (Getty Images)
    Kuwait has lost its the first major sporting event since its suspension from the IOC on Jan. 1.

    The International Fencing Federation (FIE) executive committee postponed the Men’s Grand Prix and Team Epee competitions that were to take place in Kuwait City from. Jan 15 to 18. The decision follows the IOC suspension of Kuwait, wrote FIE President Alisher Usmanov in an email on Tuesday.

    FIE will examine fencing in Kuwait at a Feb. 6 meeting in Lausanne.

    The IOC suspended Kuwait because of potential interference by the government into sports. The suspension is based on Rule 28.9 of the Olympic Charter, which says National Olympic Committees must be autonomous from the governments. Changes are said to be coming to Kuwaiti law that would put the NOC in compliance with the Olympic Charter.

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    Written by Sam Steinberg.

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