GB ice hockey team and Poland
Ice hockey: GB men v Poland. Photo via Ice Locker.

Olympic links: 10 April, 2015

Headlines

Paris city council to vote on 2024 bid, environmental impact of Beijing 2022 bid, Mary Spencer’s fall from boxing grace, England U19 football women qualify after five-day game stoppage, Boat Race gender equality, luge team to chop off hair to support teammate, incredible drone footage of GB distance runner in South Africa, is Rio the “Night Games”?

2022 Winter Olympics

The New York Times looks at the possible environmental impact of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, should its bid win:

“It just doesn’t snow in Beijing,” said Zhang Junfeng, an independent water expert who has written and published widely on Beijing’s water troubles. “People get ideas by watching television and sports and think it’s a great pastime, but it’s not sustainable.”

Beijing used to be rich in water resources, but as its population has doubled over the past 25 years to an estimated 22 million, it has dried up. A $62 billion project to divert water to the north from the water-rich south has begun, but it is expected only to stabilize the situation.

“Of course they shouldn’t have ski resorts,” said Hu Kanping, a retired hydrologist who writes reports for the Chinese nongovernmental organization Friends of Nature. In a 2011 report, he wrote that the 11 ski resorts then open in Beijing used an average of about a billion gallons of water a year, or enough water for 42,000 people.

Experts who follow the ski industry say that its expansion into water-stressed environments like Beijing is increasingly the norm. Relatively dry or warm countries like Turkey, India and Pakistan all have new resorts. The site of the last Winter Games, the Russian resort town of Sochi, gets only 21 inches of precipitation a year, which forced organizers to stockpile nearly 600,000 cubic yards of snow to ensure adequate cover.

The alternative to Beijing this year, Almaty, is not much better. It receives just 22 inches of precipitation a year, and it relies on dams and water towers to feed its snow-making machines.

2024 Summer Olympics

The city council of Paris will vote on bidding for the 2024 Olympics this Monday:

Apart from the Green Party members of the council, all other political forces are expected to adopt the mayor’s resolution on Monday.

The resolution stipulates that the city will join the national Olympic committee, the state and the Paris region in an association aimed at finalizing the bid project. It also insists that the bid should be led by athletes and would benefit the country’s struggling economy.

Paris last hosted the Olympics in 1924 and mounted unsuccessful bids for the 1992, 2008 and 2012 Games.

Athletics

A look ahead to the men’s high jump battle we can expect this summer.

“My Sunday run.” Naff off, Julia Bleasdale. The British long-distance runner shows off her training location, South Africa’s Pearl Mountain nature reserve, with the help of a drone camera. (I don’t mean it, I’m just bitter. It’s a staggering video.)

Boxing

Briton Joe Joyce’s hopes of earning an early place at Rio 2016 were hit as he lost a split decision in the World Series last night.

Canadian boxing star Mary Spencer’s fall from the national spotlight, and fight to get back in the team. A really interesting read:

Three years ago, Spencer was a rising star, featuring prominently in a Canadian Olympic Committee advertising campaign. Women’s boxing was about to make its debut as a full medal sport at the London Olympics, and she was a three-time world champion, a fighter who also won the first gold medal at the Pan American Games, in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Olympics did not go as planned. And now, at 30, Spencer was sitting by the window in a downtown Toronto restaurant, picking over seafood and taking stock. She still trains every day at her gym in Windsor, Ont., but more for hope, and less for glory.

As it stands, Spencer will not be allowed to defend her gold medal at the Pan Am Games this summer. She lost top billing at Boxing Canada by losing to rival Ariane Fortin two years ago, meaning if she wants to get to the Games, it will have to be as a fan.

“You know what? It’s really shitty,” she said. “I’ve thought about that. I’m like, ‘I want to come and watch the Pan Am Games … there’s athletes that I’ve been talking to, and I want to come and watch them compete if they make it.’”

Cycling

Dr Steve Peters has been up to his old tricks with the GB cycling team, helping track cyclist Dani King come back from a serious injury. “He helped me overcome the fear.”

Football

You’ll have to read this: England’s under-19 women scored a penalty five days late in order to draw their game against Norway and qualify for the Euros. Bizarre.

Gymnastics

A South African gymnast has died in a car crash, while two others are badly injured.

An interestingly matter-of-fact article about the future of a leading South Korean rhythmic gymnast, who has picked up an injury.

Handball

Brazil is running out of money to stage this year’s men’s world junior handball championship, according to reports. Organisers may try to reduce the number of games played at the tournament in order to bring down costs.

Hockey (ice)

Britain’s men beat Poland 6-4 in the first of two friendlies on Thursday, which also marked Pete Russell’s first game in charge.

Luge

Olympic luge bronze medallist Erin Hamlin, and some of her US team-mates, will chop off hair to support a young teammate battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Rio 2016

Rio, the “Night Games”. An overview of events that will start late and often run past midnight at Rio 2016.

Rowing

Both of this weekend’s Boat Races will be shown live on the BBC. It’s the first time the men’s and women’s races will both take place on live TV over the same stretch of water. Here’s the story behind the evolution of the Boat Races toward gender equality, while this piece also touches on the same subject: “Organisations need to stop seeing equal opportunities as an obligatory hassle and to start seeing the opportunities.”

Short track

GB’s Elise Christie describes how she turned a “struggle for motivation” this year into a “tiring but rewarding” season.

Swimming

Japanese swimming legend and Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima has missed out on a place in the national team for this year’s world championships. “I fell just like cherry blossom petals.”

Triathlon

Katie Zaferes: USA Triathlon’s new star?

Other news

As you may be aware, a rather large number of sports world governing bodies happen to call Switzerland home. It turns out this is good news for the Swiss economy.