Today: Last Update:

  • Three Years to Sochi; Alpine Skiing World Champs; Laureus Awards


    Three Years to Sochi

    With three years until the Olympics, Sochi 2014 released its shortlist of mascots.

    The organizing committee made the announcement on national television at 9:30 PM Moscow time, exactly three years until the Games start.

    Following the program, which included a 30 second “video-postcard” introduction for each shortlisted mascot, fans can vote for their favorite submission.

    The national vote for the winning mascot, or mascots, will happen Feb. 26. Organizers say the unveiling will happen during “a grand show with participation of the mascots as well as sport and show-business stars from across Russia”. The winner will also be revealed at the show.

    More than 24,000 mascot ideas were submitted.

    Nadal, Vonn Bag Top Laureus Awards

    Olympians claim top honors at the Laureus World Sports Awards.
    Rafael Nadal took home Sportsman of the Year honors at the Laureus Awards Monday. (Getty Images)

    Beijing tennis gold medalist Rafael Nadal was in Abu Dhabi on Monday to claim his Sportsman of the Year trophy. The 2006 Breakthrough of the Year winner captured 2010’s final three Grand Slam tournaments and finished the year as the No. 1 tennis player in the world.

    The night didn’t end there for Spain. Its footballers also took home Team of the Year for their World Cup win, the country’s first.

    Sportswoman of the Year went to U.S. ski darling Lindsey Vonn, whose 2010 included downhill gold at the Vancouver Olympics and a third straight World Cup title. She is in Garmisch-Partenkirchen this week and next for the alpine world championships.

    Also among Monday’s winners was Verena Bentele, a blind biathlete and cross-country skier from Germany who won five gold medals at the Vancouver Paralympic Games and claimed Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award.

    Five-time Olympic rowing champion Steve Redgrave was elected to the Laureus World Sports Academy, the body of roughly 50 sporting legends who vote for the annual awards.

    In attendance in Abu Dhabi were IOC members Kip Keino of Kenya, Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco and Frankie Fredericks of Namibia as well as two-time Olympic 400m hurdles champion Edwin Moses, himself the first Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy.

    Storylines Aplenty On Eve of Alpine World Champs

    Munich 2018 will have its ski site on display this week and next at the alpine world championships.
    Lindsey Vonn said Tuesday’s super G will be a race-time decision for her. (Getty Images)

    More than 525 athletes from 69 countries arrived in Garmisch-Partenkirchen ahead of Monday night’s opening ceremony.

    Action kicks off bright and early Tuesday morning with women’s super G.

    Whether the event will include Vancouver gold medalist and defending world champ Lindsey Vonn is unclear. She indicated Monday in a press conference her participation will be a race-time decision due to the concussion she suffered from a crash while practicing in Austria last week, video of which she later posted to her Facebook page

    Vonn’s profile page also includes a note posted Monday in which she criticizes the conditions of the super G course on Kandahar, also Garmisch’s slope for downhill and giant slalom competitions as well as the alpine team event.

    “The hill is extremely bumpy pond ice from top to bottom,” her statement reads.

    “I have never seen a course prepared like this in my entire career, nothing even close. In my opinion the hill is WAY too icy and downright unsafe! I find it very hard to believe that the FIS has any concern for the safety of the athletes when the World Championships race hill is prepared like a bumpy ice rink. I fear there will be a lot of DNF's and crashes in the coming days.”

    Wednesday features a men’s super G race that pits defending world champ Didier Cuche of Switzerland against Canadian Erik Guay, the last man to win the event on Kandahar at a World Cup event last season.

    Also on tap for this week are women’s super combined on Thursday and men’s downhill on Friday.

    Confidence Building for Judo World Champs

    The president of the International Judo Federation tells Around the Rings the Grand Slam event in Paris paved the way for a strong world championship.
    Teddy Riner in his final match against the 2010 world champion from Japan. (ATR)

    Marius Vizer told ATR following the end of competition “I think we are moving in the right way”.

    “The standard of competition is getting better and better. We are adding more federations, we have more TV coverage, more and more sponsors.”

    The City of Lights will stage the world championships Aug. 23-28.

    More than 15,000 people attended Sunday’s final. Officials believe the event was one of the best Grand Slam events ever.

    Teddy Riner of France was the big star, winning the closing 100+kg bout.

    Vizer added the federation wants to make the series even bigger in the future.

    “After the London Games we plan to double the prize money, to $300,000, $400,000, $500,000, depending on the tournament.”

    Sport Minister Downplays Olympic Impact

    Northern Ireland’s sport minister says the financial boon of London 2012 will not extend to his country.

    Nelson McCausland told BBC’s Politics Show over the weekend some Olympic teams will surely choose to train in the home nation but that athletes will be focused on training hard, not spending big.

    “Sometimes people have exaggerated expectations,” he was quoted Monday by The Belfast Telegraph.

    “It is not going to result in a huge amount of benefit for the economy.”

    Lithuania is the only country known to be considering Northern Ireland for training camps, though many NOCs have yet to reveal their plans for 2012.

    Media Watch

    The Sunday Times profiles LOCOG chair Sebastian Coe.

    Emma Stoney writes for The International Herald Tribune about worldwide preparations for rugby joining the Olympic program.

    Written by Matthew Grayson and Ed Hula III.

    For general comments or questions, click here.

    Your best source of news about the Olympics is, for subscribers only.