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  • Oswald Eyes Wrestling Return; NHL Talks Sochi 2014 Travel; Italian Olympic Champion, 60


    Oswald Backs Wrestling to Survive Olympic Chop

    International Rowing Federation president Denis Oswald says he was shocked by the IOC’s decision to axe wrestling but “convinced” the sport can hang on to its Olympic status.
    Denis Oswald. (ATR)

    “I have not seen the report prepared by the sport department, but I must say I was very much surprised by the decision,” he told SportsPro in an interview.

    “Probably some other sports would have less reason to be on the Olympic program than wrestling. If you see the reaction, I’m pretty much convinced that they will come back.”

    The global outrage at the IOC Executive Board’s recommendation to cut wrestling from the program of core Olympic sports has informed his view.

    But he claimed that wrestling leaders were partly to blame.

    “Maybe they should have organized their sport a bit more,” he said.

    “I remember a discussion where they were asked why they have the Greco-Roman style and the freestyle and whether they could be part of the efforts to reduce the number of athletes. They never really reacted. They don’t have a good balance between men and women, maybe that’s another reason.”

    Wrestling now joins karate, roller sport, squash, sport climbing, wakeboard and wushu as well as a joint bid by baseball and softball in the bidding contest to secure one open slot in the 2020 Olympics.
    Wrestling at the 2012 Olympics. (Getty Images)

    The IOC member from Switzerland suggested the process to select a new sport is flawed. “If they [wrestling] come back the final result will be there will be no new sport, and in a way that was not the purpose of all this – it’s a pity.”

    Speaking about the race for the IOC presidency, the Swiss lawyer who led the IOC’s Coordination Commission for London 2012 confirmed he is considering whether to stand as a candidate.

    “I have a number of colleagues encouraging me, but on the other hand it’s not an easy decision to take. I would like also to try and find out if my vision is shared by a certain number of people and if these people will give me their support,” he told SportsPro.

    “I don’t want to run and get 10 votes, so that’s what I’m trying to assess at the moment.”

    NHL Talks Sochi Travel Concerns

    Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says getting players into and out of Sochi remains “a meaningful aspect of our ongoing discussions” over NHL participation at the 2014 Olympics.
    NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. (Getty Images)

    Daly made the comments Wednesday to Toronto’s Globe and Mail when asked if travel were a significant factor in his talks with the IOC and International Ice Hockey Federation, which continued last week during an NHL site visit to the Black Sea resort.

    League officials are reportedly concerned over the potential for inclement weather and the lack of nearby airports to return players to North America in a timely manner.

    The next step in negotiations is for Daly to make a recommendation to NHL owners, something he told The Globe and Mail he hoped to do by month’s end.

    Stakeholders in Sochi 2014 are trying to ensure NHL participation for the fifth straight Winter Games dating back to Nagano 1998.

    Pietro Mennea, 60, Olympic Champion

    The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) says “sport is in mourning” over the death of Pietro Mennea, an Olympic champion in the 200m. He was 60.
    Pietro Mennea at the Los Angeles Olympics. (Getty Images)

    A statement on CONI’s website announced the sprinter’s death on Thursday. No cause of death was listed other than a “long illness”. Mennea won gold in the 200m at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and two bronze medals, one from the 1972 Olympics and one in the 4x400m relay in Moscow. He also held the world record in the 200m for 17 years.

    CONI president Gianni Malago praised Mennea.

    “Pietro Mennea is more than a symbol, he is a legend,” he said in a statement. “He marked an era, because he was a normal man, not a superman, but was able to perform feats that made history.”

    He will lie in state at CONI headquarters, only the third individual to receive the honor. A funeral is scheduled for Saturday at the Basilica of Saint Sabina in Rome.

    Italian President Giorgio Napolitano sent a message of condolence and a floral arrangement in the Italian “Tricolore” upon hearing of Mennea’s passing.

    Ferrari Building Italian Bobsleigh

    Legendary auto manufacturer Ferrari hopes to have the fastest vehicle on ice as well as the road.
    Italy's bobsleigh team. (CONI)

    On Tuesday, the Italian bobsleigh team visited Ferrari headquarters to collect its specially built sled for the Sochi Olympics.

    Ferrari sponsored the team for the 2010 Olympics and 2012 Youth Olympic Games and will extend its partnership through 2014.

    A statement on the Italian National Olympic Committee website says the new sled will have a redesign of the chassis, improved aerodynamics and structural integrity of the frame and hull. It will have its first test in two weeks at the course in La Plagne, France.

    Bobsleigh will be the primary beneficiary with alpine skiing, Nordic combined, short track speedskating, ski jumping and snowboarding also benefiting from the sponsorship.

    RIA Novosti Group Opens Sochi 2014 Newsroom

    The RIA Novosti Group, which includes the R-Sport sports news agency, opened a new newsroom as the host nation news agency and photobank for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, on Wednesday.

    RIA Novosti’s First Deputy Editor-in-Chief Maxim Filimonov, Editor-in-Chief of R-Sport Vasily Konov and Director of Internet and Multimedia Projects Irina Kedrovskaya took part in a presentation held in the RIA Novosti building on 4 Zubovsky Boulevard, where journalists in attendance were shown how news will be released during the Games.

    “As the host nation news agency, we want to make our work as clear and transparent for our clients and audience as possible,” Mr Filimonov said at the presentation. “This is exactly why we prepared a detailed description of our products for our media clients well in advance of the Games. We are also actively developing new mobile and online applications for delivering our content from Sochi to our readers and viewers.”

    The newsroom will accommodate 60 people. RIA Novosti will release Olympic information products for all kinds of modern media platforms – tablets and smartphones, information screens, websites and news wires.

    Rugby Legend Predicts Upset

    The most-capped international rugby player of all time says China could win gold in Rugby Sevens in Rio.
    George Gregan. (Getty Images)

    George Gregan made the comments to news agency AFP on Thursday saying China could be one of several countries to pull an upset.

    "Some of the powerhouses might sit back and think because they've played rugby for a long period of time that guarantees them a win. But they'll be rudely awakened because there are some sleeping giants I believe in this format.

    "China is definitely a sleeping giant," he added, also naming Malaysia, the Netherlands and Spain as potential giant slayers.

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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