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  • Olympic Newsdesk--Luge Pushing Relay; PyeongChang Team Grows


    Top Lugers Lobby for Relay Event

    Luge team relay has the support of top sliders as the sport lobbies for its inclusion in the Olympic program.
    In the luge team event, the second athlete starts when the first one finishes. Pictured is Vancouver 2010 women’s Olympic champion Tatjana Huefner. (Getty Images)

    “I believe the team relay event to be a very successful competition since its focus is on the team spirit,” defending Olympic champion Tatjana Huefner of Germany said Tuesday in a media release from the International Luge Federation.

    “This team relay event is a great event for us athletes, and it well deserves to be included within the Olympic Games.”

    The event was among 11 presented to the IOC Executive Board at its October meeting in Acapulco, Mexico. The EB shot down only a proposed alpine team event and deferred the final determination on the other 10 to IOC president Jacques Rogge, following the world championships in each of the events this winter.

    For luge, that will come next month in Italy, where an IOC delegation will be on-hand in Cesana, Italy to evaluate the event’s Olympic suitability. Three weekends later, Rogge will attend the World Cup final in Sigulda, Latvia to form his own opinion.

    “I truly hope that IOC President Jacques Rogge will approve the team relay event so that it will be included within the Olympic program”, said Huefner, also a two-time world champion and three-time overall World Cup winner.

    In the luge team event, the second athlete starts when the first one finishes.

    “The Team Relay Event is not only a success story with the athletes but with spectators and media alike,” said Italy’s Armin Zoeggeler, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion.

    “From my point of view this competition complies one hundred percent with all respective IOC criteria.”

    Women's ski jumping (which was turned down twice in its efforts to get on the Vancouver program), ski halfpipe (men and women), ski slopestyle (men and women), snowboard slopestyle (men and women), biathlon mixed team relay and a figure skating team event are also up for addition ahead of Sochi 2014.

    Vice-Chairs, Ambassador for PyeongChang

    Ki-young Uhm and Jeong-soh Oh are the new vice-chairmen of the PyeongChang bid for the 2018 Olympics. Uhm and Oh bring the total number of vice-chairs to 10.
    Bid chair Yang Ho Cho with new ambassador Kolleen Park. (PyeongChang 2018)

    Uhm is a Korean television anchor and former CEO of Korea’s MBC Broadcasting and hails from Gangwon Province. Oh is a former minister of Korea’s Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

    Also announced Wednesday was the addition of Kolleen Park to the bid’s ambassador corps. She is a musical creative director and head professor at Howon University. She lives in Korea “where she has directed and conducted many large-scale musical productions, hosted musical television programes and composed several works of original music.”

    Korean president Myung-bak Lee also visited Chuncheon, the capital of Gangwon Province, this week to open a new subway line connecting Seoul and Chuncheon.

    Lee said of the additions: “I would like to offer my congratulations to the new members of the PyeongChang 2018 Bid Committee. The people of Korea have dreamt about hosting a Winter Games in their home nation for many years.
    “I am very proud of the work that has already been accomplished on our Winter Games Plan, and that we have kept our promises to the IOC. I’m also delighted to reaffirm today that the double-track rail service linking Wonju and Gangneung, an integral part of PyeongChang 2018’s transport plan, has full government backing and will be completed before 2018.”

    Annecy, France and Munich are the other cities bidding for the Games.

    French Donation for Rio 2016

    The state of Rio de Janeiro will receive equipment to monitor Rio’s air quality ahead of the Olympics, courtesy of the French government.

    Environment secretary Marilene Ramos and French general consul Jean Claude Moyret signed the agreement, which is worth more than $800,000. France will contribute $117,600 to the project, with the rest of the funding coming from Rio's State Environment Institute and the city's Environment Secretariat.

    "Certainly at the time of the Olympics, we have to take additional measures," Ramos said. "So the importance of monitoring, of the equipment, is to indicate what we can do and where we have to work to ensure that the Olympics are held with proper air."

    Mixing for Gold

    Gold tequilas, silver rums and bronze-colored spirits could join the traditional Olympic lineup of gold, silver and bronze medals.

    International restaurant chain T.G.I. Friday’s announced on Tuesday it is campaigning to add bartending to the Olympic program.
    A multi-national restaurant chain wants bartending to join the Olympics. (Getty Images)

    "What other sport requires ten-hour routines, absolute precision and a fully-memorized playbook? Bartending can be a whole new playing field for Olympic sport," said Trey Hall, chief marketing officer of T.G.I. Friday's.

    "Twenty years of World Bartender Championships have shown that bartenders at Friday's are no stranger to athletic competition, and our newly awarded 2010 finalists are no different. As a federation of thousands, the sport is ready to go for the gold."

    First, however, bartending must form a sport federation. The federation would then have to be recognized by the IOC before its Executive Board would consider adding it to the Olympic program.

    The WBC, organized by the company, “illustrates the athletic ability of bartenders around the globe and combines charismatic style that is met only by figure skaters and gymnasts,” according to a statement.

    A Facebook page features a petition for bartending backers to sign.

    CoSport, Australian NOC Go Long-Term

    Events expert Jet Set Sports/CoSport will sponsor the Australian Olympic Committee for another decade.

    The AOC announced Tuesday the partnership extension that will make CoSport Australia the AOC’s exclusive provider of Olympic tickets and hospitality packages through the 2020 Summer Games.

    “They are incredibly good at what they do and are committed to the Olympic Movement,” AOC president John Coates said in a statement.

    “We are very grateful for their continued support of the AOC and Australia’s athletes for years to come.”

    The sponsorship began with Beijing 2008 and will include London 2012, for which CoSport is Australia’s only authorized ticket-seller.

    Play the Game Fleshes Out 2011 Conference

    Play the Game 2011 is taking shape almost a year in advance.

    Organizers announced Wednesday six themes for the seventh annual conference slated for Oct. 3-6 at German Sport University in Cologne.

    Attendees will focus on “Outside Threats, Inside Traps: Countering Corruption in Sport”; “Chasing the White Elephants: Mega-events for the Public Good”; “Fair Play, Fair Pay? Creating Growth in Grass-root Sport”; “Crime and Credibility: Advancing Anti-Doping Strategies”; “Little Difference, Huge Impact: The Gender Challenge to Sport” and “The Power of the Chip: How Technology Changes the Landscape of Sport”.

    The four-day affair is subtitled “Bringing change to the heart of sport”. Organizers will issue a call for papers early next year.

    Click here to cast your vote for the most influential person in the Olympic Movement for 2011! Voting ends Dec. 29

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    Written by Matthew Grayson and Ed Hula III.

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