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  • Chinese Sports Leaders Make New Year's Resolutions -- Media Watch


    (ATR) Liu Peng, president of the Chinese Olympic Committee, is setting targets for 2016 including plans for the Rio Games and Beijing 2022.

    Liu Peng, president of the Chinese Olympic Committee (Getty Images)
    An annual meeting of China's sports directors took place on Monday in Beijing. A video recap of the meeting is available on the English version of China Central TV.

    During the meeting, Liu said the "most important missions" for the New Year are the Rio Olympics and the country's preparations for the Beijing Winter Games in just under 7 years.

    Rio Olympics

    In a column for the Wall Street Journal, writer Jason Gay says Brazil is cautiously optimistic about the Rio Olympics. "Rio is plagued by Olympic dread: nowhere more so than in its waters, which are beset by pollutants and untreated waste, provoking health fears for sailing, swimming and rowing competitions."

    He adds, "And yet something happens with the Olympics, almost always: Amid the dread and hesitation, the Games begin, stories and winners start to emerge, and a kind of momentum takes hold that is both unstoppable and thrilling."

    Writing for, Ana Campoy explains why she thinks Brazil "will host the 2016 Olympics in far worse shape than when it bid for them."

    Campoy points to factors including the country's economy and overall budget deficit, and a corruption scandal involving Petrobras, Brazil's main oil company.

    Reuters reports Citizens of the U.S., Japan, Australia and Canada will not have to get a visa to travel to Brazil for next year's Olympics in Rio.

    View of construction at the Rio Olympic park last month (Getty Images)
    The Brazilian government made the announcement in the country's official gazette on Wednesday.

    According to Reuters, the waiver will apply only for tourist visits between June 1 and Sept. 18, with visitors allowed to stay for up to 90 days.

    In an op-ed for the Telegraph, world athletics president Sebastian Coe offers his predictions for British athletes competing at Rio 2016.

    "By the end of 2012 we were talking about these athletes in their own right, without the need to label them," Coe says.

    "Sailor and London medalist Helena Lucas became the first name on the Rio teamsheet back in 2015, and we can expect more familiar faces from London as well as some household names in the making.

    "So expect the strains of the national anthem on a regular basis in Rio, both for Team GB and Paralympics GB."

    In other news

    In a letter to the editors of the Boston Globe, Evan Falchuk, leader of the United Independent Party in Boston, warns against rewriting the history of Boston's failed Olympic bid. "Twice recently the Globe has peddled a strange alt-history version of what happened with the Olympics ("Massachusetts Says No to Spending Money in 2015," Page A1, Dec. 28; "Bostonians of the Year," Magazine Dec. 19)."

    Evan Falchuk, leader of the United Independent Party (Evan Falchuk/Twitter)
    Falchuk adds, "What broke the back of the Olympics was months and months of lies and deception, and the fact that we had organized a coalition of citizens to get a binding referendum on their project.

    "Organizers knew their plans couldn't survive the light of day."

    Atlanta Journal Constitution columnist Bill Torpy says Georgia State University always had the "inside track" in the bid race for the redevelopment of Atlanta's Turner Field.

    Formerly Centennial Olympic Stadium, Turner Field is the site where Olympic leaders staged the opening and closing ceremonies as well as track and field events during the 1996 Games.

    Since then, Turner Field has been home to the Atlanta Braves. Now the Major League Baseball team is leaving next year for a new stadium being built in suburban Cobb County, 10 miles north.

    Compiled by Nicole Bennett

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