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3-month window to decide fate of Tokyo Olympics, IOC's Dick Pound says – CBC.ca

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Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the IOC, estimates there’s a three-month window to decide the fate of the Tokyo Olympics, which are being threatened by the fast-spreading COVID-19.

Pound, in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, did not sound alarmist. But he did speak frankly about the risks facing the Olympics, which open July 24.

Pound has been an International Olympic Committee member since 1978, 13 years longer than current president Thomas Bach.

“You could certainly go to two months out if you had to,” Pound said, which would mean putting off a decision until late May and hoping the virus is under control. “A lot of things have to start happening. You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels. The media folks will be in there building their studios.”

And if it got to the point of not going ahead, Pound speculated “you’re probably looking at a cancellation.”

“This is the new war and you have to face it. In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo, or not?”‘

China on Tuesday reported 508 new cases of infection and another 71 deaths — 68 of them in the central city of Wuhan, where the new coronavirus was first detected in December. The updates bring mainland China’s totals to 77,658 cases of infection and 2,663 deaths. South Korea now has the second-most cases in the world with 977, including 10 deaths.

Athletes encouraged to keep training

Clusters of the illness are now appearing in the Middle East and Europe. This could signal a new stage in the spread of the virus, with four deaths reported in Japan as of Tuesday.

Pound encouraged athletes to keep training. About 11,000 are expected for the Olympics, and another 4,400 for the Paralympics, which open on Aug. 25.

“As far as we all know, you’re going to be in Tokyo,” Pound said. “All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation.”

Canada women’s soccer coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller says he will leave the question of the coronavirus and Olympics to “whoever is the expert on this.”

“I sincerely hope that they’ll make sure that everyone around the world stays healthy and that something around that coronavirus can be done. I think that’s the most important part,” the Dane told a media conference call Tuesday.

“And obviously we want to participate in the Olympics and hopefully [the Games are] going to continue. But my concerns are not on that. I hope they know their way around it, the way of making sure all people stay healthy, as healthy as they can be. And then hopefully we’ll continue with the Olympics. But right now it’s not in the forefront of my mind. We’re just continuing as if the Olympics are going to happen anyway.”

The modern Olympics dating from 1896 have only been cancelled during wartime, and faced boycotts in 1976 in Montreal, in 1980 in Moscow and 1984 in Los Angeles, all in Pound’s memory.

The Olympics in 1940 were to be in Tokyo, but were called off because of Japan’s war with China and World War II.

Canada’s Dick Pound, the longest-serving International Olympic Committee member, spoke frankly about the risks facing the Tokyo Olympics in an interview with The Associated Press. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Pound called uncertainty a major problem and repeated the IOC’s stance — that it’s depending on consultations with the World Health Organization, a United Nations body, to make any move. So far, the games are on.

“It’s a big, big, big decision, and you just can’t take it until you have reliable facts on which to base it,” Pound said. He said whatever advice the IOC is now getting, “it doesn’t call for cancellation or postponement of the Olympics. You just don’t postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics. There’s so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons, and competitive seasons, and television seasons. You can’t just say we’ll do it in October.”

If changes have to be made, Pound said every option faced obstacles.

Moving Olympic site ‘difficult’

Pound said moving to another city seemed unlikely.

“To move the place is difficult because there are few places in the world that could think of gearing up facilities in that short time to put something on,” Pound said.

London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has suggested the British capital as an alternative. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike suggested that was an inappropriate offer, using the virus as political campaign fodder.

Pound said he would not favour a dispersal of events over various venues because that wouldn’t “constitute an Olympic Games. You’d end up with a series of world championships.” He said it would be very difficult to spread around all these sports in a 17-day period with only a few months’ notice.

Staying in Tokyo but moving it back a few months would be unlikely to satisfy North American broadcasters, whose schedules are full in the fall with American football, college football, European soccer, basketball, baseball, and ice hockey. Of course, other world broadcasters also have jammed schedules.

“It would be tough to get the kind of blanket coverage that people expect around the Olympic Games,” Pound said. “It’s certainly tougher than it would have been in 1964 in Tokyo, when you didn’t have the saturation sports schedule on television.”

How about delaying for a year, but staying in Tokyo? Japan is officially spending $12.6 billion US to organize the Olympics, although a national audit board says the country is spending twice that much.

IOC building ’emergency fund’

“Then you have to ask if you can hold the bubble together for an extra year,” Pound said. “Then, of course, you have to fit all of this into the entire international sports schedule.”

Pound said the IOC has been building up an “emergency fund” for such circumstances, reported to be about $1 billion US. That could fund international sports federations who depend on income from the IOC to operate — and the IOC itself.

“This would be what you normally call a force majeure,” said Pound, a Canadian lawyer by training, using the legal phrase for unforeseeable circumstances.

“It’s not an insurable risk, and it’s not one that can be attributed to one or the other of the parties. So everybody takes their lumps. There would be a lack of revenue on the Olympic Movement side.”

He said broadcasters may have their own insurance that would “mitigate some of the losses.”

About 73 per cent of the IOC’s $5.7 billion US income in a four-year Olympic cycle is from broadcast rights.

Pound said the future of the Tokyo Games was largely out of the IOC’s hands, depending on the virus and if it abates.

“If it gets to be something like the Spanish flu,” Pound said — referring to a deadly pandemic early in the 20th century that killed millions — “at that level of lethality, then everybody’s got to take their medicine.”

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FedExCup update: Adam Scott bursts FedExCup, Presidents Cup bubbles – PGA TOUR

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GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – Adam Scott has been at it for more than two decades. He admits that visiting the same venues and tournaments annually can sometimes lead to complacency. But having an objective gave him inspiration this week at the FedExCup St. Jude Championship.


RELATED: Leaderboard | FedExCup standings


Scott entered the first week of the FedExCup Playoffs at 77th in the standings, needing a solid finish just to advance to the next event.

He got it, shooting four rounds of par or better to finish T5 at 11 under par. He jumped 32 spots in the FedExCup to No. 45, ensuring his first BMW start in two years.

“It was really about putting my mind to (doing) something and getting it done,” Scott said. “I think that’s sometimes the hardest thing at this point in my career, … switching your mind on all the time. Floating around on autopilot sometimes … doesn’t get you very far, so I had to focus a little bit more.”

This was Scott’s fourth top-10 in 18 starts this season, but first in a stroke-play event since The Genesis Invitational in February. It’s been a solid season – he’s missed just two cuts and posted top-15s at the year’s last two majors – but lacked the high finishes that rack up points.

This was a well-timed performance, also. Scott was playing not only for his FedExCup fate this week. He also wanted to secure his status on the International Presidents Cup Team. The top eight in the team’s standings after next week’s BMW Championship will earn automatic spots on Trevor Immelman’s International Team that will face the U.S. at Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club on Sept. 22-25.

Scott arrived at TPC Southwind ranked eighth on the Internationals’ points list. While a Captain’s Pick would be a certainty should he not earn an automatic spot on the roster, Scott’s performance at TPC Southwind frees up another pick for Captain Trevor Immelman.

“That is huge for us,” Immelman said about Scott earning his spot. “There’s no doubt about it. When I got this job, he was one of the guys that I had sort of earmarked that would be very important to be (at Quail Hollow).”

The added flexibility is appreciated. Immelman has lots of options.

Presidents Cup veterans like Marc Leishman, Jason Day, Adam Hadwin, Si Woo Kim, Anirban Lahiri, Jhonattan Vegas and Emiliano Grillo are outside the top eight, as are up-and-comers like Min Woo Lee, Ryan Fox, Taylor Pendrith and Christiaan Bezuidenhout and PGA TOUR winners such as Sebastian Munoz, Mackenzie Hughes, Lucas Herbert and Cam Davis.

Scott led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting this week, gaining nearly 4 strokes in the final round alone. He salvaged an even-par round Saturday despite not playing well, then shot 66 on Sunday. He could’ve moved even farther up the FedExCup if not for a drive into the water on the 72nd hole, though he was able to salvage bogey.

Immelman thinks his team’s veteran presence is trending in the right direction and close to earning his first PGA TOUR win since the 2020 Genesis Invitational, which fell right before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“His swing seems to be in a good spot. The sound is right,” Immelman said. “I really think he has become a good putter over the last three years. When you match that together, I think he’s right there.”

Immelman, who also is an announcer for CBS, enjoys spending time on the range at PGA TOUR events, scouting out the players whose shots he’ll call and potential team members. Scott has noticed.

“He’s been watching me grind away every week, the old dog out here, grinding me into the ground trying to make his team,” Scott says. He and Immelman have been friends since their amateur days, and Scott is a de facto Captain’s Assistant, qualified to give input on a variety of matters.

It was a five-minute speech that Scott gave to his teammates as they drove to Royal Melbourne for their first practice rounds three years ago that helped the International Team take the lead going into Sunday.

“It was so amazing, so heartfelt,” Immelman said. “It really meant a lot, particularly when you factor in that we had seven rookies on that team.”

Scott did what he needed to do Sunday to help Immelman, and to advance in the FedExCup Playoffs.


Friends since their junior golf days in Dallas. The past two PGA TOUR Rookies of the Year. Now Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler are the top two players in the FedExCup standings.

Scheffler has been leading since March but with points quadrupled in the Playoffs, Zalatoris was able to supplant Scheffler, who missed the cut in Memphis, atop the FedExCup.

Zalatoris now holds a 125-point lead over Scheffler. Cameron Smith dropped a spot to third in the standings after his T13 at TPC Southwind and will round out the headlining group at the BMW Championship.

Zalatoris’ win in FedEx St. Jude Championship came in his first career Playoffs start.

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Latvia in QF, Slovakia out – IIHF

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The teams had met only three times previously in World Junior play, most recently in 2012, and Czechia won all three by a combined score of 19-5.

Both goalies were playing in their third of four games for their respective teams, Jan Bednar having the better GAA than Bruveris – 3.36 to 3.84 – but it was Bruveris who made the difference today.

“We believed we could win,” Darels Dukurs said. “We just played one game at a time and gave it our best. We played like a team and fought for each other. We stayed focus the whole time.”

The Latvians got just the start they needed, jumping into a 2-0 lead by the halfway point of the period. Martins Lavins got the opener on a fine rush by Harijs Brants. He drove down the left wing and got the puck in front to Lavins, who quickly re-directed the puck between the open pads of Jan Bednar at 4:30.

They made it 2-0 at 12:21 off another great pass from behind the goal line. This time it was Raimonds Vitolins who fed Rainers Rullers in front. Rullers lifted a high shot over the shoulder of Bednar.

Latvia then took two successive penalties. The PK was letter perfect on the first and dodged a bullet on the second before finally succumbing. Michal Gut took a back-door pass that left him with nothing but net to shoot at, but he shot wide and looked heavenward for answers that could be more easily found on his stick tape.

But moments later he was given another opportunity through a hard pass cross crease from captain Jan Mysak, and this one he didn’t miss.

The Vitolins-Rullers combo had another sensational chance early in the second to make it a 3-1 game, but this time Bednar came across and made a great save on Rullers. Latvia had two power plays soon after but couldn’t capitalize, and it started to feel as though they had squandered chances to take control of the game.

Indeed, Czechia tied the score at 9:33 on a broken play. Captain Ralfs Bergmanis blocked a shot in front, but it landed with Stanislav Svozil. He moved in and roofed a backhand over Bruveris, and that feeling of lost opportunities care to the fore.

But credit to Latvia, and to Bergmanis in particular. He put his team ahead at 11:15 after David Jiricek made a poor clearing. Bergmanis’s quick point shot fooled Bednar and gave the underdogs another lead. Bruveris scored again six minutes later on a similar shot during a power play when his long wrister beat Bednar high.

Bednar was replaced by Tomas Suchanek to start the third, but he faced only three shots as his teammates fired 17 on Brumanis without scoring. Czechia had a golden chance to cut the lead midway through the period when Lavins closed his hand on the puck in the crease, resulting in a penalty shot. But Mysak was stoned by Bruveris and kept it a 4-2 game.

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Rory MacDonald announces retirement after 2022 PFL Playoffs exit – MMA Fighting

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Rory MacDonald is stepping away from competition after a devastating loss.

The former Bellator welterweight champion and longtime UFC contender announced his retirement on Sunday, one day after losing by first-round TKO to Dilano Taylor in the 2022 PFL semifinals.

MacDonald, 33, broke the news via Instagram.

“My time has come to put the gloves down for good,” MacDonald wrote. “I’m so thankful for this sport and every person I’ve been able to meet along the way.

“I started this sport as a 14-year-old kid, I still remember my first day and knowing this is what I want to spend my life doing. The passion for martial arts and becoming a pro MMA fighter gave me hope and a way to a better life! And I’m so thankful to God for putting that gym Toshido MMA in kelowna in my path. It truly changed the direction of my life and saved me!

“What an adventure this career has been, 17 years of professional fighting. It all came and went so fast! So many painful trainings that are etched into my being, travelling to all parts of the planet and meeting so many people.

“I’ve learned so much about myself through this career, not all of it good. And I’ve made so many mistakes along the way, but here I am 33 years old a better man because of those mistakes, to which I’m very grateful I’ve grown up.”

MacDonald went on to thank fans for their support, as well as the UFC, Bellator, and the PFL.

Debuting in 2005, MacDonald quickly emerged as one of the hottest prospects in his native Canada, beginning his career 10-0. He eventually took his talents to Montreal’s Tristar Gym, where he trained alongside UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. MacDonald joined the UFC in 2010, where he won eight of his first 10 fights, including a dominant decision win over future welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

“The Red King” had his shot at the UFC’s 170-pound title at UFC 189 in July 2015, where he lost by fifth-round TKO to Robbie Lawler in one of the greatest fights in MMA history.

In 2017, MacDonald signed with Bellator and captured a welterweight title by beating Douglas Lima in just his second bout for the promotion. He successfully defended his belt twice before ceding it back to Lima in the finals of a grand prix tournament. MacDonald also unsuccessfully challenged Gegard Mousasi for the Bellator middleweight championship.

The last leg of MacDonald’s career came with the PFL. He signed with the league in 2019, but failed to recapture his previous success, going just 2-4 including the stunning loss to Taylor that was the final fight of his career.

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