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  • #16
    RADIO FREE EUROPE August 10, 2016
    Russia, Kyrgyzstan Among Notable Medal Winners Despite Doping Clouds

    A raft of countries from Russia to Kyrgyzstan won medals on the fourth day of the Rio Olympics on August 9, but doping offenses continued to shadow the games.

    The International Olympic Committee announced mid-competition that it was stripping a silver medal given to Ukrainian javelin thrower Oleksandr Pyatnytsya at the London Olympics in 2012 because a retest found banned substances in his urine sample.

    And the absence of banned weightlifters from Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Bulgaria and other countries left a much-depleted field in that sport and marred the bronze medal wins for athletes from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

    Russia, the hardest hit by doping suspensions with more than 100 athletes banned from the games, still managed to eke out notable gold and silver medal wins.

    Russia's Khasan Khalmurzaev earned a second judo gold medal for Russia, beating Travis Stevens of the United States in the men's 81-kilogram category.

    Khalmurzaev, 22, credited his upbringing in Ingushetia's Caucasus mountains for giving him the gift to fight.

    "It's true. Many people born there are physically strong and well prepared," he said. "Not just people in sports but also those on the streets. Maybe it helps being born in those mountains...Wrestling is popular there." Russia, Kyrgyzstan Among Notable Medal Winners Despite Doping Clouds

    Russia's women's gymnastics team also brought home a prestigious silver medal, squeaking out a win over China in a competition that has been dominated for years by China and the United States, which won the gold.

    Kyrgyzstan won its first medal of the games and only its fourth medal in any Olympics when Izzat Artykov won a bronze medal in the men's 69-kilogram weightlifting event.

    Artykov sported a traditional Kyrgyz kalpak hat at the press conference afterward and proclaimed the "great news for me and everyone in Kyrgyzstan."

    Kazakhstan, a weightlifting power, was able to boast of another bronze medal when Karina Goricheva took third place in a women's competition.

    But Goricheva conceded that she was under pressure and the field was much depleted because of doping bans imposed on the entire Russian and Bulgarian teams, as well as the absence of several Kazakh teammates who got caught doping.

    Perhaps the most poignant events of the day didn't involve medals or doping, however.

    In one, Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina pulled off a shocking upset in a preliminary match with world champion and four-time Olympic gold medalist Serena Williams, knocking Williams out of a competition where the American had hoped to earn a fifth gold medal.

    "It's unreal. It's just the perfect moment," 20th-ranked Svitolina said afterward.

    And Iran's disabled trailblazer Zahra Nemati drew warm applause as she exited the archery competition after being quickly eliminated by Russia's Inna Stepanova in an early round.

    Nemati nevertheless said she hoped her example will inspire other disabled people -- not to mention women from Islamic countries -- to dream of competing in the Olympics.

    "I hope it is going to be motivation for all the people with disabilities, happy to see me here competing," she said. "Don't let your disability defeat you. Sport is the best means to defeat disability." Russia, Kyrgyzstan Among Notable Medal Winners Despite Doping Clouds

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    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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    • #17
      The Olympics - Why few records will be broken in Rio
      Aug 13th 2016, J.P.| RIO DE JANEIRO THE ECONOMIST

      AS OLYMPIC host nations go, Brazil is an outlier. Not only is it the first country to stage the summer or winter games that is neither rich nor autocratic. It also happens to be facing a record recession and unprecedented political upheaval (the suspended president, Dilma Rousseff, looks poised to be impeached over dodgy government accounting by the end of the month). Rio de Janeiro is the most violent host city to date—a statistic tragically illustrated on August 11th when a national guardsman died in hospital after being shot by drug traffickers the previous night when his vehicle took a wrong turn and entered a lawless favela (shantytown). The same day the vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, John Coates, declared that the Rio games are “the most difficult ever” for his organisation. (Though Mexico City in 1968, with dozens killed in political unrest, or Munich in 1976, with its terrorist outrage, were presumably no cakewalk, either.)

      Sadly for Olympic spectators, Rio is likely to underwhelm in athletic achievement, too. Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia lopped 14 seconds off the women’s 10,000-metre record yesterday. Yet such feats will be rare this games. Almost certainly, fewer world records will tumble than in previous ones. In swimming, where most of the events have concluded, just four individual high-water marks have been surpassed, roughly in line with London four years ago but a drop in an Olympic-sized pool compared with 17 in Beijing in 2008 (a tally put down to the slick, full-body swimsuits, which were introduced in 2007 but banned two years later).

      That is not because athletes are indulging in Rio’s famously laid-back atmosphere. Rather, sportsmen and women have long been edging ever closer to the limits of what is, literally, humanly possible. And for all its famed physical attributes, cidade maravilhosa lacks the geographic and climatic traits that make for marvellous athletic performance, especially in track and field.

      Start with performance limits. In 2008 Mark Denny of Stanford University published a paper looking at the highest speeds achieved each year in running events from sprints to the marathon, some dating back to 1900. He used a statistical technique called extreme-value analysis to uncover trends, as well as maximum deviations from them. For the men’s 100-metre dash, Dr Denny found, the human speed limit was 10.55 metres per second, which translates into 9.48 seconds, just 0.11 seconds below the record set by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt in 2009. For the women’s marathon, it is 5.21 metres per second, which means completing the 42.195km (26.2 mile) race in just under two hours and 15 minutes. In 2003 Paula Radcliffe, a British runner, came within 30 seconds of that mark.

      Nothing in the past eight years suggests that the statistical bounds have shifted, reckons Dr Denny. Research by Geoffroy Bertholet, of France’s National Institute of Sport, and colleagues confirms this diagnosis. Dr Bertholet keeps a running tab of the top ten annual results in swimming and athletics. A recent review of the evidence points to continued near-stagnation in all disciplines with only "tiny increments" in performance. Results in disciplines like men’s javelin and weightlifting, where records were reset around 1990 following a string of doping scandals, have plateaued close to pre-reset levels (suggesting either that doping is back, or that physical limits have been reached—probably both). New benchmarks will keep getting rarer and more incremental, Dr Bertholet predicts.

      Rio is not the ideal place to buck this trend. For a start, it lies at sea level. This is a boon to beach volleyball players, who get to compete in their discipline’s spiritual home on Copacabana. But it is a bane for many track-and-field athletes, because it means air in Rio is denser than at higher altitudes, and drag greater. This matters to sprinters, jumpers and throwers, whose effort is mostly anaerobic, and therefore less affected by the extra oxygen. One explanation for the above-trend track-and-field performance in 1968 was that the Olympic games that year were held in Mexico City. At an altitude of 2,240 metres the air is a fifth thinner than in Rio, providing 20% less resistance. Eight of that year’s 25 best results for the 100 metre dash were recorded at the games. Most of the rest were notched up by athletes preparing for Mexico City at high altitudes. And then there was Bob Beamon’s record-smashing 8.9 metre long-jump.

      Long-distance runners will no doubt enjoy Rio’s abundant oxygen. But not its subtropical heat. Although the city has been unseasonably chilly, with temperatures falling as low as 11 degrees celsius at night, the coming days are forecast to be balmier. This will be pleasant for spectators, but does not augur well for long-distance runners. The best marathon times, for instance, are notched up in races such as Berlin’s, where temperatures throughout the course range between 10 and 16 degrees Celsius. This is unlikely both this Sunday morning, when the women race, or during the men’s event a week later, meteorologists predict.

      Such factors are, of course, less relevant for indoor events like weightlifting, cycling or swimming. But here too Rio’s Olympians are unlikely to excel. For one thing, a recent crackdown on doping probably means less scope for artificial augmentation. At the same time, organisers are running out of clever, legal boosts. There is, for example, a practical limit to how much temperature can be raised in the velodrome to force the warmer air to rise to the ceiling and decrease its density on the track. The addition of a step on swimming-pool starting blocks to allow swimmers to generate more force during the initial plunge—introduced a day after the fullbody suits were banned in 2009—was a one-off.

      On the bright side, athletes in disciplines where performance is not gauged with a tape measure or stopwatch continue to astonish. Anyone who, like your correspondent, was fortunate enough to watch Simone Biles (pictured), a 19-year-old American gymnast, perform her gold-winning routines in the ladies’ overall final on August 11th cannot but marvel at the physical prowess of some conspecifics.

      And even in stagnating disciplines humans retain the ability to spring surprises. Take Nijad Rahimov, a weightlifter from Kazakhstan competing in the under-77kg category. Mr Rahimov trailed the holder of the category’s overall world record from China, Lu Xiaojun, after the snatch. Improbably, he heaved 214kg in the clean-and-jerk, beating not just Mr Lu’s 202kg, but also the 16-year-old record for that lift—by a whopping four kilos. Such feats are becoming rarer. But that makes them all the more special.
      The Olympics: Why few records will be broken in Rio | The Economist

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      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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      • #18
        RADIO FREE EUROPE August 17, 2016
        Ukrainian, Serbian Athletes Win Countries' First Gold Medals In Rio

        Ukrainian Oleg Verniaiev has won his country's first gold medal at the Rio Summer Olympics after winning the parallel bars in men's gymnastics.

        Verniaiev edged out American Danell Leyva for the gold, while Russian David Belyavskiy finished third to take the bronze.

        It was Verniaiev's second medal in Rio, as he won a silver last week in the men's all-around competition.

        On the wrestling mats, Davor Stefanek won Serbia's first gold of these Olympics on August 16 when he defeated Armenian Migran Arutyunyan in the 66-kilogram limit of the Greco-Roman wrestling competition.

        Arutyunyan disputed the judges' decision, however.

        "I did not lose. For some reason the judges again just would not give me the place on the podium that I deserve," he said.

        "It was the same at the European Games, the world championships. I am so disappointed. I have worked so hard for many years."

        Georgian Shmagi Bolkvadze and Azerbaijani Rasul Chunayev each won the bronze medal in the competition.

        The Armenian silver medalist's team-mate Artur Aleksanyan beat Cuba's Yasmany Daniel Lugo Cabrera to take the gold in the 98kg wrestling final.
        Ukrainian, Serbian Athletes Win Countries' First Gold Medals In Rio

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        • #19
          Russia to stop funding WADA in 2017
          UAWIRE ORG August 24, 2016 3:27:00 PM

          The Russian Government has decided to discontinue their annual voluntary contributions to the budget of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Earlier, the Minister of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy, Vitaly Mutko, had threatened to cease Russian funding of WADA.

          The Russian Government excluded the paragraph on additional voluntary contributions to the World Anti-Doping Agency from the register of payments for the next year. This follows the resolution published on the official website of the Ministry.

          In accordance with resolution № 196, made on the 9th of March 2013, the Russian Ministry of Sports had to make an annual voluntary contribution in the amount of 300,000 Euros to WADA.

          However, the paragraph on annual voluntary contributions of the Russian Federation to the budget of WADA was removed in a new resolution, №820 made on the 19th of August 2016. On 18th of August 2016, Russian Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko stated that Russia will cease the payment of contributions to WADA if the rights of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency aren’t restored. UAWire - Russia to stop funding WADA in 2017

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          • #20
            REUTERS Dmitriy Rogovitskiy | MOSCOW Aug 30, 2016 4:32am BST
            Now Russia banned from 2018 Winter Games

            Russia, already suspended from next month's Rio Paralympics, have also been banned for the winter edition in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018 because of a state-sponsored sports doping programme.

            The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) announced the latest punishment handed out by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Monday.

            "The decision taken by the IPC, upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding Russian Paralympians being excluded from the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, has also been extended to include the Winter Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang," the RPC said on their website (www.paralymp.ru).

            Last week the Lausanne-based CAS, sport's highest tribunal, rejected an RPC appeal against the Rio ban.

            The decision to exclude Russia's team means at least 260 competitors from the country are now set to miss the Sept. 7-18 Paralympics.

            Russia have appealed against the CAS ruling to the Swiss Federal Court and a result is expected later on Monday or on Tuesday.

            The Federal Court can only overturn the CAS decision on the basis of a procedural mistake and not on the merits of the case.

            The IPC went further than the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which stopped short of a blanket ban on Russia at this month's Rio Olympics and left the decision instead in the hands of international sports federations.

            PUTIN CRITICISM
            Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Paralympic ban cynical and immoral but also said Moscow acknowledged mistakes it had made in tackling sports doping.

            The country's track and field team were also excluded from the Olympics due to the sports doping programme.

            Putin said the decision to bar Russian athletes, including those who had not tested positive for any banned substances, was a vivid manifestation "of how the humanistic foundations of sport and Olympism are shamelessly flouted by politics".

            "The decision to disqualify our Paralympic team is outside the law, outside morality and outside humanity," he added.

            "It is simply cynical to vent one's anger on those for whom sport has become the meaning of their life ... I even feel pity for those taking such decisions because they must well understand that it is so demeaning for them."

            The whole dispute centres on a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report that found the Russian government and the FSB security service had, over years, covered up hundreds of doping cases across the majority of Olympic sports and Paralympic events.

            Although not widely followed or celebrated in Russia, where rights campaigners say many disabled people are marginalised by regressive social attitudes and inadequate state support, the country's para-athletes are some of the best in the world.

            Their team topped the medal table at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in the Russian city of Sochi after taking second place behind China at London 2012.
            Now Russia banned from 2018 Winter Games | Reuters

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            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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