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  • Pechstein Considers Cycling; Incheon 2014; Oceania Qualifying Shakeup


    Pechstein owns five gold, two silver and two bronze Olympic medals, but none from Vancouver. (Getty Images)
    Road to Redemption

    Banned Winter Olympic champion Claudia Pechstein is eyeing a return path to the Olympics – compete as a Summer Olympian.

    According to Germany’s Sports Bild publication, the speedskater said she will attempt to qualify for the 2012 German cycling team.

    "I will start in the individual pursuit at the German Track Championships from July 6-10 in Berlin" she was quoted. "I am also planning to race the individual sprint or the 500-meter time trial. I trust I can do this because as a skater I've trained a lot on the bike. I have nothing to lose. I don't know how this kind of competition works, so this alone is really exciting. "

    Following the 2009 world championships in speedskating, she failed a drug test and missed the Vancouver Games. Pechstein claims she is innocent.

    IOC rules forbid her from competing in the next Olympics following her ban, but she may have found a loophole in the rule.

    The odds though, are likely stacked against her as Germany is routinely a cycling powerhouse, making it unlikely a rookie cyclist could qualify for the Olympic team.

    OCA Praise for Incheon 2014

    The head of the Olympic Council of Asia likes the progress he sees for the 2014 Asian Games.
    The stadium groundbreaking ceremony in Incheon. (Incheon 2014)

    Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah sent a message of congratulations as the organizing committee broke ground on its centerpiece stadium for the Games.

    “I am extremely pleased to know that the ground-breaking ceremony of the Incheon Asian Games Main Stadium is taking place in Seo-gu, Incheon, on June 28, 2011,” Sheikh Ahmad said in his message, posted to the OCA website.

    “I am sure the Main Stadium after completion will be a showcase of Korean architecture and sports to the world.

    When finished, the complex will cover 6,802,522 square feet, and 61,074 seats will be in the stadium proper.

    Four new stadia will begin construction in the next few months for the Asian Games, scheduled for September 19 to October 4 in 2014.

    Last-Minute Shakeup for Oceania Football Qualifiers

    Football officials in Oceania are reshuffling their Olympic and World Cup qualifiers due to a geographic technicality.
    Guam is a Pacific island, a territory of the U.S. and a member of the Asian Football Confederation. (Getty Images)

    Because the island of Guam is a member of the Asian Football Confederation, next month’s Pacific Games in New Caledonia can no longer be used as a stepping stone either to the women’s tournament at London 2012 or to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

    "FIFA have been very clear that they cannot approve a FIFA qualifying event where non-OFC members are participating," Oceania Football Confederation official Tai Nicholas was quoted Wednesday by The Associated Press.

    Instead, separate multi-tiered processes will determine which teams from Oceania qualify for the 2012 Games and for the 2014 football finals.

    In the case of the women’s Olympic spot up for grabs, the eight OFC countries that are also IOC members – American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu – will compete against each other for the right to play New Zealand in a one-off match with a trip to London at stake.

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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