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  • IIHF Confident in NHL Players; USOC Honors Sen. Stevens; Tokyo Adds 5 Sponsors


    Fasel Confident in NHL Participation

    President Rene Fasel tells Around the Rings the International Ice Hockey Federation is “really confident” the world’s best will participate at the Olympics following the end of the NHL lockout.
    Rene Fasel was reelected in September to another four years atop the IIHF. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)

    “We know the players want to be there,” he said Friday by phone from IIHF headquarters in Zurich.

    “Many others, not just [top Russian and confirmed torchbearer] Alex Ovechkin, have expressed their determination to go to Sochi.”

    According to Fasel, the omission of any guarantee for Olympics participation in the NHL’s new collective bargaining agreement came as no surprise to the sport.

    “There was a labor dispute, and the IIHF was absolutely not involved,” said the Swiss.

    “We were definitely not party to any discussions.”

    Rather, participation at the Games is to be negotiated among the NHL, IOC and IIHF at a later date, one Fasel said he expects to come soon.

    “The NHL just started last Saturday,” he told ATR. “We just wait and let them start.”

    According to the Swiss, talks will take place in-person in either Zurich, Toronto or New York City.

    “I will go wherever I need to go to make that deal,” he added. “You can be assured of that.”

    Tokyo 2020 Adds Five Sponsors

    Five Japanese companies joined the ranks of Tokyo 2020 on Friday.

    The bid committee announced Marudai Food Co., Ltd., private-label manufacturer EH Inc., amusement facilities operator MARUHAN Corporation, travel agency TOPTOUR Corporation and homebuilder Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd as its latest partners.

    A total of 16 companies now sponsor the bid.

    “It is clear that our bid enjoys widespread support in the Japanese business community,” said IOC member and bid president Tsunekazu Takeda. “Tokyo has a large, stable and sustainable economy, and the bid has a dedicated Games reserve fund of $4.5 billion. Our budget is fully guaranteed and our financial superiority is unmatched.”

    The bid also announced it received resolutions of support from both the Tokyo and Japanese chambers of commerce.

    After Armstrong, More Bracelets

    A professional cycling group hopes bracelets are the cure to stopping doping in cycling.

    The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) delivered the bracelets emblazoned with "Doping That's Enough" in English and French, to all riders on professional men's cycling teams.

    A statement on the International Cycling Union's website says the MPC distributed 30,000 of the bracelets and is now ordering more, which will be available for a small price.

    The rubber bracelets are the same style popularized by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong's Livestrong foundation in 2004. Armstrong, who won seven Tours de France, admitted earlier this month to using performance-enhancing drugs.

    USOC Honors Stevens

    The U.S. Olympic Committee announced a campaign to honor Senator Ted Stevens, the author of legislation that created the USOC.
    Ted Stevens. (Getty Images)

    Fittingly, the start of the celebration was in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

    Part of the campaign includes naming the new Olympic and Paralympic training center at USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs the Ted Stevens Sports Services Center.

    "As the guardian of the Olympic Movement in Congress for more than 40 years, he made possible countless displays of athletic excellence and was a tireless advocate of American athletes' rights to compete," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun."The Ted Stevens Sports Services Center will help perpetuate his life's work by supporting U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes for years to come."

    Stevens died in a plane crash in 2010. He was 86.

    In 1978 he authored what became the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. The legislation established the status of the USOC as an independent organization and gave it the power to authorize the use of Olympic trademarks in the U.S. such as the Olympic rings.

    Olympic Champion Retires

    Hurdles gold medalist Dayron Robles has retired from competition.
    Dayron Robles at London 2012. (Getty Images)

    Media reports say the 26-year-old was upset at how he was treated by Cuban officials.
    "It's official," said athletics official Jorge Luis Sanchez in Cuban media. "Robles does not want to be part of the national athletics squad. He has asked to be retired and this has been agreed."

    Robles was unable to defend his 110m title at the London Olympics, pulling up injured in the final. 

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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