With the 2022 Winter Olympics only a few years out, it’s time to begin promoting cross-country skiing in the most populous country.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) opened the cross-country rollerski World Cup with events in Beijing, China from July 4-6. . The first day of competition featured a 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint. Norway’s Johannes Hosfløt Klæbo, the big name presence in Beijing, won the men’s race. The Norwegian wonderkind also won the next day’s 200 m freestyle “supersprint”.
Norway’s Linn Sömskar won both the 1.5 k sprint and “supersprint” in the women’s events.
The third day of racing featured a 15 k women’s mass start skate and a 20 k men’s mass start skate.
China’s twenty-six-year-old Qiang Wang won the men’s race, while Klæbo placed eighth in what was a bunch sprint for the win.
For the women, Sömskar made it a three victory series after taking the 15 k mass start win for the women.
Perhaps the most notable stat reported by FIS was the television share the day’s first racing captured on Beijing TV. The 1.5 k sprint reached 3% of the television viewing market with nine million viewers. That total is nearly the entire population of Norway and Finland combined. (Norway’s population is 5.2 million, Finland’s 5.5 million.)
Russia’s Vitaly Mutko Wins CAS Appeal, Overturning Lifetime Olympic Ban
Back in 2017, the IOC banned Vitaly Mutko from participating in all future Olympics. The former Russian Sports Minister reportedly oversaw state sanctioned doping in the country in the lead up to and during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. He was banned from the 2018 Games.
In the ruling, the CAS made clear it was beyond the IOC’s power to sanction an individual who was not part of an official delegation, an athlete, or a coach. Vitaly is currently none of these. (Yet, he is Russian Deputy Prime Minister.) Further, CAS claimed the IOC’s Rule 44 allows the IOC to ban individuals for a single edition of the Games, not “all future Games”.
The CAS stated, “the Panel must set aside the Appealed Decision for lack of a legal basis.”
CAS did include language in its ruling leaving the IOC an opening with regards to taking future action against Mutko. The ruling does not impact “any future decision that the Respondent might adopt vis-à-vis the Appellant in reference to any specific edition of the Olympic Games.”
Widescale Anti-Doping Police Action in Europe
And in other doping news, a large multi-organization police action made 234 arrest and took down 17 organized crime groups involved with trafficking anabolic steroids.
“The trade in doping substances is normally decentralized and highly flexible, open to anyone willing to order online or travel to producing countries and buy the substances in bulk from legitimate manufacturers,” Europol wrote in a press release. “Mainly the final consumer, often gym fanatics and bodybuilders, determines the patterns of this trafficking.”
Europol also noted that non-professional athletes, “bikers and body-builders are buying small parcels of steroids, mainly from Asia or eastern Europe to traffic them to gyms”.
WADA and the U.S. participated in the operation.