SBD Global/November 22, 2013/Olympics

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  • IOC President Thomas Bach Vows Toughest Anti-Doping Program Ever

    IOC President Thomas Bach said that anti-doping measures for the 2014 Sochi Olympics "will be the toughest of any Winter Games," according to Narae Kim of REUTERS. Bach, speaking to reporters in Seoul on a visit to check preparations for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, said that the IOC "would conduct more in- and out-of-competition tests for the Sochi Olympics than Vancouver 2010." Bach said that the "rapid increase" in the number of tests "underlined the IOC's commitment to stamping out doping." Bach: "This is the best evidence you can give for the commitment, because on the one hand, you have to express a zero tolerance policy but on the other, you also have to show this by facts. This is what we are doing, to increase testing programs not only by quantity but also by quality" (REUTERS, 11/21). In Seoul, Jung Min-ho reported Bach "spoke highly" of the preparation for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. During his first visit to Korea since he became IOC president, Bach, the 1976 Montreal fencing Gold Medalist, "was briefed by the PyeongChang Organizing Committee headquartered in Seoul." Bach: "We are very satisfied with progress made by the PyeongChang Organizing Committee. We want to congratulate you for what you have achieved so far. You are a great team" (KOREA TIMES, 11/21)

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  • Indian Olympic Association Seeks To End Longstanding Impasse With IOC

    Served with the ultimatum from the IOC to either bar charge-framed persons from contesting elections or face de-recognition, senior Indian Olympic Association officials "are seeking quick solutions to end the long-standing impasse with the apex body," according to the PTI. Following the world body's ultimatum on Nov. 15 to the suspended IOA, to either amend the constitution by Dec. 10 or face de-recognition, a key Indian official "has spoken to a senior IOC official who has made it clear that the country will have to face the inevitable if it does not bar charge-framed persons." In a letter circulated internally to the top brass of the IOA, Hockey India Secretary General Narinder Batra has suggested that the IOA will now "have to fall in line with the IOC diktat or face expulsion from the Olympic family." De-recognition "would mean that India would cease to be part of the Olympic Movement and the country's sportspersons will not be allowed to take part in any international event" (PTI, 11/21). IANS reported the IOC exec board "will recommend to the IOC Council, set to meet in February, to withdraw the recognition of the IOA and replace it with an adhoc body" (IANS, 11/21).

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  • Rio Olympic Organizing Committee Pledges To Clean Up City's Polluted Waterways

    Rio de Janeiro's "endless beaches and lush tropical forest will be a photographer's dream during the 2016 Olympics," according to the AP. But "zoom in on the likes of once-pristine Guanabara Bay, and the picture is of household trash and raw sewage." In the neon green waters around the site of the future Olympic Park, the average fecal pollution rate is 78 times that of the Brazilian government's "satisfactory" limit -- and 195 times the level considered safe in the U.S. Nearly 70% of Rio's sewage goes untreated, "meaning runoff from its many slums and poor neighborhoods drain into waters soon to host some of the world’s best athletes." Unless Brazil makes headway in cleaning up its waters, experts warn that "the Summer Games could pose health risks to athletes." Rio's Olympic committee "has pledged in writing that the pollution problems will be fixed." Rio 2016 COO Leonardo Gryner "has acknowledged the extent of the water quality problem." But he said projects were "well advanced" to make good on the city's commitment to reduce 80% of the pollution flowing into the bay, where sailing and wind surfing events are to be held. It is not clear what consequences there might be if Rio does not clean up its waterways, but this is not the first time the Olympics "have faced steep environmental challenges." The IOC took "much flak" during the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, "when the city failed to clean up its smoggy air in the event's initial days" (AP, 11/21).

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