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  • Monday Memo - Day of Reckoning in DC


    WADA Athlete Forum June 3 to 5

    The First Global Athlete Forum gets underway in Calgary, Canada, Monday, although some athletes are complaining that the event is neither global nor representative, at least as far as program is concerned. 
    "Far from being global, the huge majority of the speakers appear to be from one country [Canada]," writes ANOCA athlete representative Amadou Dia Ba in a letter to WADA.

    WADA Director General Olivier Niggli promised further details, but pointed out there are more than 100 attendees from the five continental associations. He says 14 delegates come from Africa, 13 from Asia.

    Skeleton medalist and ex-IOC member Adam Pengilly will lead a roundtable discussion entitled "Speak Up". Other forum participants include WADA chair Craig Reedie, Richard McLaren, author of the McLaren Report, Jens Andersen of Play the Game, and Dick Pound, IOC member in Canada. 
    In his letter to WADA, Ba offered more details of his complaint.

    "Apart from the IOC elected athlete representative, there is not a single African representative. Additionally, I see no Asians, no South Americans, and even the European participants are narrowly drawn from one or two country (sic). Is this really possible in the twenty first century to have such a non-representative forum supposedly speaking for the world and for athletes? It is at best highly embarrassing for the global sporting movement which prides itself on its universality and stands for equality," writes the Senegalese Olympic silver medalist from 1988.

    Day of Reckoning on Capitol Hill

    The hearing room for the Senate subcommittee.
    Two key figures in the sex abuse scandal involving USA Gymnastics have been forced to testify June 5 before a Senate Commerce Committee panel. Of the dozens of witnesses who have testified voluntarily to hearings of both houses of the U.S. Congress, these latest witnesses were subpoenaed, ordered to appear.

    The hearing by the subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253, beginning at 3pm.  Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on

    Little has been heard from Steve Penny since his resignation as USA Gymnastics President one year ago. Penny will be pressed by the senators as to his handling of the accusations that mounted against team doctor Larry Nassar during Penny’s tenure at the NGB.

    Lou Anna Simon, the former president of Michigan State University, is the second reluctant witness for the hearing. Nassar, an employee of the university, regularly abused women who came to his clinic on the campus. Simon resigned in January. Since then, MSU has agreed to settle with abuse victims, but how the $500 million will be funded by the public university has not been decided.

    Beijing Goes to School on PyeongChang

    The traditional transfer of knowledge exercise
    Closing ceremony in PyeongChang.
    between successive Olympic Games organizing committees will play out this week in Beijing.

    A team from Pyeongchang is in the 2022 Winter Olympic host city to review the experiences of the 2018 Games.

    IOC President Thomas Bach is due to make remarks at a press conference June 5, the second day of the meetings that run through June 8.

    Countdown for Sion 2026 Olympic Bid

    Less than a week remains until the June 10 plebiscite in the Swiss canton of Valais on whether Sion should bid for the 2026 Winter Games.

    Polling suggests it could be defeated, while bid backers say the results are still too close to predict. The bid offers mountains, lodging and transport connections in abundance, if not soaring public support.

    Rejection by voters would likely be viewed with irony as Sion is located just an hour east of IOC headquarters in Lausanne.

    Observers of the bid scene say that Sion’s best chance to host the Winter Olympics may have passed. The city was the front-runner in 1999 in the race for 2006 against eventual winner Turin and three other bids. But then the Salt Lake City bid scandal erupted, dragging down the Swiss candidacy.

    South American Games Close

    Bolivians have turned out by the thousands in the past week to cheer athletes competing in the latest South American Games in host city Cochabamba. More than 4,000 athletes from 14 nations make this edition the biggest ever.

    The games close June 8.

    Reported by Ed Hula. For general comments or questions, click here.

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