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Volume 6 No. 212


The Indian Olympic Association "has pledged firm commitment to Olympic Charter and to fight against government interference in the wake of its parent body's threat of disaffiliation if it goes ahead with its upcoming elections under sports ministry guidelines," according to the PTI. IOA acting President V.K. Malhotra has written to the IOC that Wednesday's elections are being held under IOA Constitution "as none of the nominations have been rejected under government's Sports Code." Malhotra said, "The election commission has informed me that none of the nominations have been rejected on account of government guidelines. All the nominations have been filed strictly and scrutinised in accordance with the Constitution of Indian Olympic Association. Kindly be assured that the autonomy of the IOA shall be preserved and protected and no interference of any economic, political angle shall be permitted" (PTI, 12/1).

THE ATHLETES SPEAK UP: The PTI added that Clean Sports India, a movement for corruption-free sports in the country, has also written to the IOC and "apprised the apex body about the gross violation of ethics by the office-bearers of IOA" ahead of the upcoming election. CSI joint convener Reeth Abraham, in her letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge, "described how a hoard of unethical persons are set to lead India's Olympic movement." Abraham, also a former athlete, said that the situation "is going from bad to worse as tainted sports administrators like Abhay Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot are set to take over the reigns of IOA" after the polls close (PTI, 12/1). The AFP noted India's sole individual Olympic Gold Medalist Abhinav Bindra lashed out at the country's sports officials saying an Olympic ban could be a "blessing in disguise." Bindra said, "The current mess is completely of the Indian Olympic Association's making." IOA elections "have become a formality after a rival group led by IOC member Randhir Singh withdrew from the contest last week," leaving tainted sports official Bhanot elected unopposed as secretary general while state politician Chautala became president. Bhanot "is out on bail" following 11 months in jail last year over corruption charges. Bindra said, "It's about politis and stooping to a new low. How can he return? It is agonising to see such people coming back. It makes my blood boil" (AFP, 12/2).

The French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) has chosen fashion brand Lacoste as the kit provider of the French Olympic and Paralympic teams. However, the company will not sponsor the athletes in the competitions. Lacoste will supply the uniforms for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The contract is valid for the 2014 Sochi and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Lacoste will be the only brand allowed to use the name, emblem or image of the CNOSF (CNOSF). EUROSPORT noted that in mid September, the CNOSF "decided to let the Olympic federations negotiate their own contracts" with brands for the kits their athletes would wear during Olympics competitions (EUROSPORT, 11/28).

An independent review of Britain’s poor swimming performance at the London Olympics "has highlighted weaknesses in the sport’s coaching leadership and recommended a shake-up in how it organises its senior trials," according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. Britain won just three swimming medals in London "prompting Performance Dir Michael Scott to order a post-Game inquiry into what went wrong." American head coach Dennis Pursley, whose contract ended after the Games and who has now returned to the U.S., "was also criticised after the report highlighted weaknesses in the sport’s 'technical and coaching leadership.'" It is understood that coaches "were left to their own devices in setting training programmes and their methods were not challenged or monitored adequately." In some cases, coaches "made alterations to their swimmers’ usual programmes in the weeks leading up to London 2012, which backfired when it came to the Games." The review also recommended "abandoning the current practice of holding the main senior trials in the winter and following the American model of holding them in the summer a few weeks before the championship" (TELEGRAPH, 12/2).

TAKING THE BLAME: In London, Craig Lord reported Pursley "accepted blame for the host nation’s underperformance in the pool, citing the 'poor leadership' of coaches and a 'perfect storm' of events that left swimmers 'just the wrong side of a fine line.'" Breaking his silence for the first time, Pursley said, "The result was devastatingly disappointing in terms of medals. The blame should be directed to me first as head coach." While conceding that he had failed to spark the "fire in the belly" of his team, Pursley "made the mistake of giving coaches choices" where he now believes that "he should have 'mandated matters' in the style of his predecessor, Bill Sweetenham." The review report "comes 10 days before U.K. Sport reveals the level of funding each Olympic sport will receive from a £500M ($802M) pot to prepare for Rio 2016." Mercy is likely to be shown to swimming on the basis that its youth team, the next wave, "is showing great promise." Rival sports may point out it was ever thus (SUNDAY TIMES, 12/2).

How The Money Was Spent
Sport Money Medals
£25.1M ($40.2M)
Boxing £9.5M ($15.2M)
£26M ($41.7M)
£6.5M ($10.4M)
£13.4M ($21.5M)
Gymnastics £10.8M ($17.3M)
£27.3M ($43.7M)
£22.9M ($36.7M)
£25.1M ($40.2M)

U.K. Athletics CEO Niels de Vos "has suffered a serious embarrassment" after a private speech in which he described the multi-million pound investments in hi-tech Olympic sports such as cycling, rowing and sailing as "technological doping" was posted on the YouTube website, according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. De Vos, who has been in charge of the athletics governing body since '07, "was delivering what he clearly understood to be a private lecture." He was forced to own up to an "ill-chosen phrase" after "drawing a distinction between the technology-driven sports that delivered the bulk of Britain’s Gold Medals at the London Games and his own sport of track and field." De Vos "highlighted the influence of Peter Keen, who preceded David Brailsford as performance director of British Cycling." De Vos said, "Peter Keen came in and said, ‘Forget about cycling, it’s all about sprinting on the track because if you give me money I can make a difference and win medals.' They talk about aggregation of marginal gains. I personally don’t buy it. It’s actually technological doping, but none the less it works, and we’ve won a vast number of medals as a result of it." De Vos said that "his comments were in response to a question from the audience, and that he was not criticising other Olympic sports but merely pointing out the difference with athletics" (TELEGRAPH, 12/1).