Team GB Sochi 2014 meeting room
The new Sochi 2014-themed meeting room at Team GB HQ, via Colin Holden on Twitter.

Olympic links: 13 November, 2014

Team GB Sochi 2014 meeting room
The new Sochi 2014-themed meeting room at Team GB HQ, via Colin Holden on Twitter.

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Authors denoted in brackets. OW – Ollie Williams

Boxing

A UK-based franchise could be returning to the World Series of Boxing, the pro-style league run by Olympic boxing’s world governing body, Aiba: (OW)

A UK franchise featured in the third WSB season and it looks set to return just in time for the fifth, which begins in January. The draft for season five took place in Jeju, Korea on Wednesday (November 12) with the British team replacing the German franchise.

Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu, the president of AIBA, welcomed the move. “Once this is confirmed, from January then some WSB competitions will be happening [in the UK],” he told Boxing News. “We are very happy to immediately include [Britain] in today’s draft. [They] are going to have seven home games and seven away games [in the group stage] so that means seven international events happening either in London or somewhere [in Britain].” The Brits would be in the same group as Russia and the all-star Cuban team.

Expect GB boxers like Andrew Selby, Joe Joyce, Antony Fowler and the others on the Olympic programme to compete for the British franchise, although Italia Thunder plan to secure the services of Olympic silver medallist Fred Evans. Irish stars Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan are set to box for the Italian franchise as well.

To augment their squad the British Lionhearts selected foreign boxers in the draft; Abdoulaye Diane, Tadas Tamauskas and Ionut Jitaru at 91kgs; Abdel Ladjali, Oualid Beloura and Detelin Dalakliev at 60kgs; Joseph Goodhall at 91&kgs; Enrico La Cruz at 56kgs and Kevin De La Nieve at 52kgs.

Curling

Israel is trying to become a force in curling – both the able-bodied and wheelchair variants. “We’re giving a positive image to Israel during a time when there are a lot of negative perceptions.” (OW)

Cycling

Sir Bradley Wiggins has elaborated a little on plans for his development team, which he hopes to launch next year: (OW)

“Next year I would love to have my own team which we are in process of setting up. It will basically will be the guys I am going to try to win that gold medal with. And that team will facilitate a programme, and a training programme, which will basically give us the best possible opportunity of winning that gold medal.”

Wiggins added: “Long term, post-Rio, obviously the word legacy gets thrown around a lot in the wake of the Olympics but I’d love to find the next Bradley Wiggins or Chris Hoy,” he said.

“That is something that I think would really drive me for the next 10 years. That is kind of what the startings of this team is about; it’s that grassroots, the future of the sport and finding next champion.”

Meanwhile, GB technical director Shane Sutton says there’s “no panic” about the way the Australians are stepping up their team pursuit plans and changing the way their endurance squad trains. (Wiggins’ team, mentioned above, may end up being the British answer to the Australian plan to unite its endurance riders on one road team. OW)

Doping

Badminton world number one Lee Chong Wei’s failed drugs test continues to be huge news in Malaysia, where he’s a superstar. A government minister has been drawn into the debate, first to confirm that badminton will remain Malaysia’s main Olympic priority, and second to criticise a former Malaysian badminton player for making more allegations about Lee and doping earlier this week. (OW)

If you aren’t familiar with who Lee is – and he’s a big, big name in badminton – then it’s worth investing a few minutes in this one-page profile by the Straits Times. (OW)

Has the biological passport worked? (OW)

Gymnastics

Reports claim Emilie Livingston, a rhythmic gymnast for Canada at Sydney 2000, has married the actor Jeff Goldblum. (OW)

Luge

Members of the US luge team have been putting in some time at a San Diego wind tunnel. (Includes video, 1min 38secs. OW)

For the first time, Indian luger Shiva Keshavan has a coach. (OW)

Rio 2016

Rowing

Katherine Grainger talks to the BBC about her return to competitive rowing. (Video, 2mins 20secs. OW)

Sailing

Here’s the confirmed entry list for sailing’s ISAF World Cup Final, to be held in Abu Dhabi at the end of the month. (OW)

Short-track

How do you commentate on short-track? Words of wisdom from a Canadian legend. (OW)

Skiing

Thailand’s Olympic committee says it will be more careful about who it picks to represent the nation at the Games, following the Vanessa-Mae race-rigging scandal. The celebrity violinist, now banned for four years, had a claim to represent Thailand through her father’s side of the family, but is a British citizen and was born in Singapore: (OW)

A senior member of the National Olympic Committee of Thailand (NOCT), who did not want to be named, told AFP that she and the kingdom would “have to accept and comply with the ban”.

“This could serve as a lesson for the NOCT to be more careful in its endorsements,” said the official of the body, which puts forward names to participate in the Games for the kingdom.

“We endorsed her as our representative because we wanted to participate in the Winter Games, not because we wanted to win,” the Thai official added.

The Dew Tour field – Dew Tour being one of the season’s big freeski and snowboard events – looks packed this year. It’s coming in December. (OW)

Seventeen-year-old US slopestyle skier Julia Krass, who competed at Sochi 2014, has now won her state’s high-school soccer title. In other US-slopestyler-doing-something-else news, Sochi silver medallist Devin Logan is taking on pro fencer Natalie Vie in a fundraising contest. (OW)

Speaking of fundraising – yes! this is a neat segue, you’re right – you can help to keep Frontier Sports alive by donating as little as £1/$1 a month. Head over to Patreon to help. It’s quick, simple, and makes a big difference. My thanks to those who have donated so far, you’re amazing.

Table tennis

CNN meets Japanese Olympic team silver medallist Ai Fukuhara, who turned pro 16 years ago – at the age of 10: (OW)

Four years later, she was representing her country at the world championships in Paris where she reached the quarterfinals, before making history at the 2004 Olympics in Athens when, aged 15 years, 287 days, she became the youngest-ever female table tennis player to appear at the Games.

A medal proved elusive at both Athens and Beijing four years later where she was afforded the honor of flag bearer for the Japanese team. But a silver medal in the team event in London in 2012 earned her and Japan their first-ever medal in table tennis since it became an Olympic sport in 1988.

“Everyone was so happy (back at home). I was amazed how pleased they were. 

“I was happy to win the medal but I felt even happier to show my medal to the people, and people living in the disaster zone,” she says referring to her hometown of Sendai, which was devastated by a tsunami in March 2011.

Tokyo 2020

Tokyo, following London’s lead, will plan to scale down some of its venues once the 2020 Olympics are over. (OW)

Other news

Are you one of those track cyclist types with thighs the size of bison? A new company has the answer: jeans made specifically for athletes with huge muscles to fit into them. (OW)

A national cycling champion and a 2016 Olympic hopeful, Beth Newell said finding comfortable jeans could be a nightmare, practically impossible. Racing had left her and her colleagues with thighs like bowling balls. Forget the skinny “thigh gap” cuts favored by conventional brands. They needed pants with legs shaped like a “P,” like flare jeans, except upside down.

When Newell was quoted in an article in The New York Times during the 2012 London Olympics about the extraordinary quadriceps sizes of cyclists, Adil Abubakar, a project management consultant from Piscataway, N.J., had an epiphany. He looked for Newell’s email address. As it turned out, she had been trying to get people to listen to her ideas about pants for a while.

So she became the fit model, and he became the brand architect. Two years later, their company, Keirin Cut Jeans, has raised more than $68,000 on Kickstarter in less than a month.

Ric Charlesworth, one of the best-known coaches in Australian sports, says the nation won’t regain Olympic powerhouse status without a significant injection of new funding. He wants a UK-style lottery system. Charlesworth was speaking having picked up the inaugural World’s Best award from the Australian Institute of Sport, recognising outstanding contributions to sport in the nation over a prolonged period.  (OW)

The London borough of Newham, which hosted the 2012 Olympic Park, is the most physically inactive in England. Alas. (OW)