RSS

Tag Archives: Olympics

Not Just Election Hacking – Russia Banned From the Olympics

Lot of dirty going on in Putin’s Russia. Looks like Putin’s home team took a huge hit.

No problem…They can compete under the Trump flag, since they own it.

Russia’s Olympic Team Barred From 2018 Winter Games For Doping

A new report confirmed “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia.”

Russia’s Olympic team will not be allowed to compete in the 2018 Winter Games following the discovery that the country executed an elaborate program allowing athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs, including during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the decision to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee Tuesday.

An IOC report confirmed “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia,” the organization said in a statement. The decision follows a 17-month investigation led by former president of Switzerland Samuel Schmid.

Official record books for the Olympics ― which will take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, next year ― will permanently show that Russia did not win any medals. However, individual Russian athletes will be able to compete wearing a neutral uniform, The New York Times reports.

Russian athletes who qualify will have to meet “strict conditions,” the IOC said in a release, that include drug testing that could go beyond normal Olympic standards. But the Russian flag will not fly, and the Russian anthem won’t play at the games.

Two top Russian officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, have been banned from Olympic involvement for life, while Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov’s IOC membership has been suspended.

The lawyer of Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory who peeled back the layers of Russia’s state-run doping program in a 2016 New York Times report, said in a statement Tuesday that the IOC’s decision sent a “powerful message.” Rodchenkov’s story is further explored in the Netflix documentary “Icarus”released earlier this year.

“As the world has seen, Dr. Rodchenkov provided credible and irrefutable evidence of the Russian state-sponsored doping system, which was ultimately supervised and financed by then-Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko and other high-level government officials,” lawyer Jim Walden said in a statement. “The decision to bar Russia’s official participation in the Winter Olympics makes abundantly clear to Russia, and all countries, that there are serious consequences for flouting the rules of the international community.”

A livestream taken by Russia Today showed Russia’s Olympic skiing team hearing the news firsthand. Video showed the athletes looking dejected…

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

NBC’s “Pity” Olympics

NBC’s ratings for this Olympics have been in free fall. Even great performances by American athletes, and the amazing performance by Usain Bolt couldn’t drag them out of the doldrums. Now admittedly, a number of the Olympic sports just don’t convert to television, and those that do have been expanded to the point of pointlessness. I mean when you have 50, 100, 200, 400 meter events in each of the swim forms freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly, and backstroke – not to forget the individual medley, it is not hard to see why swimmers garner so many medals. It is sort of like expanding the shot-put to use 1, 3, 5,8, 10, 20 lb balls thrown backwards, forwards, and to each side. Many Olympic athletes compete in sports where there is only one opportunity to win a medal. Some of the “bloated” sports offer 10 or more opportunities…

Which devalues the accomplishment, and audience interest.

I mean, imagine the Decathlon, where a gold medal is not only awarded for the best cumulative score in the 10 events…But for each and every one of the 10 events themselves done backwards, forwards….

It’s getting like a Montessori Kindergarten where every kid gets a ribbon for “Best Effort”.

I am not advocating dropping some of the more obscure sports – the Olympics committee does that anyway by some inscrutable formula.

NBC’s coverage is the second issue. Their incessant “Human interest” stories often pivot on some personal tragedy in the athletes life. “My dog died, so I am inspired to beat the world!” It got so bad in the 2012 Olympics, it was hard to watch at all. I mean “I’m really sorry about your dog, dude…But I really didn’t turn on the TV to watch your sob story about Rover.”

How about some useful information without the fluff? How about figuring out a way to make those lesser sports interesting?

NBC knows who to blame for poor Olympics ratings — millennials and their “Facebook or Snapchat bubbles”

Not even Usain Bolt’s race for a 8th career gold medal could salvage the network’s ratings

After the Super Bowl, the Summer Olympics have long been considered the safest bet in television, which is why NBC and its parent company, Comcast, paid $12 billion for exclusive broadcast rights to them through 2032.

The problem for NBC is that broadcast rights don’t produce the same revenue streams they once did, especially not among that most coveted 18-49-year-old demographic. As Bloomberg’s Gerry Smith noted, NBCUniversal’s CEO Steve Burke joked in June that his Olympic nightmare would be to “wake up someday and the ratings are down 20 percent.”

“If that happens,” he added, “my prediction would be that millennials had been in a Facebook bubble or a Snapchat bubble and the Olympics have come, and they didn’t know it.” Ratings are only down 17 percent from the London Olympics, so his nightmare scenario is technically incomplete — but that’s the equivalent of claiming a dream in which your teeth are falling out while standing naked before a classroom doesn’t qualify as a “nightmare” because you’re not also being chased.

NBC foresaw this possibility, and charged up to 50 higher rates to online advertisers — but the problem isn’t necessarily the platform, as 98 percent of those watching the Olympics are doing so on traditional television.

The problem NBC faces is a general disinterest among members of the non-traditional television-watching demographic for sporting spectacles. This apathy could be because of the rise of alternative viewing options — Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu have each grown substantially in the years since the London games — or it could simply be that the nature of NBC’s coverage doesn’t resonate with the younger generation.

Every athlete is introduced according to the conventions of programming that doesn’t appeal to millennials — a “Dateline”-esque account of triumph in the inner city, for example, or a heartwarming “Hallmark Hall of Fame” tale about losing a parent at a young age. It’s difficult to capture an audience by selling it a product it’s already indicated an unwillingness to buy.

In the end, what cannot be doubted, only lamented, is that on the night Usain Bolt — widely considered to be one of the last “must-see” draws of the 2016 games — won his 8th career gold medal, NBC’s rating among those between 18 and 49 dipped to 7.0.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 21, 2016 in American Greed

 

Tags: , , , ,

US Collects Taxes on Those Olympic Gold Medals

Go to the Olympics representing the United States and win a Gold, Silver, or Bronze?

Well…There’s a tax for that.

For US Olympians, gold medals come with a hefty tax bill

She has flipped, tumbled and leapt her way into the hearts of millions over the course of the Olympic games. But when Simone Biles returns home she will be in for not just a major celebration but also a hefty tax bill.

The 19-year-old has won five Olympic medals – four gold and one bronze. She has cemented her title as the world’s best gymnast by taking home the gold in the all-around after three successive world championship titles – a feat only accomplished by three others in history.

But all that winning will cost her. On 21 August, Biles could be slapped with a tax bill close to $43,560 (£33,479)

That estimate is based on the $2m that she has accumulated in endorsement deals and assuming she is charged in the highest income tax bracket in the US – 39.6%.

Biles is not alone, her fellow US medallists will be slapped with tax bills for their victories as well.

American Olympians are subject to a so-called “victory tax” – a tax on both the money they receive from the Olympic committee for winning and on the value of the Olympic medal.

What are they taxed on?

US athletes who win a medal at the Rio games will take home the hardware and a cash bonus from the US Olympic Committee.

Gold medallists will receive $25,000, silver medallists get $15,000, and bronze winners earn $10,000.

Those winnings are taxed as income, the same way Americans are taxed on other prize money, like lottery winnings. Most countries exempt their athletes from these taxes.

But there’s more, the medals are also given a value and taxed. The value is based on the value of the materials the medals are made of.

Gold medals – which are mostly made of silver with a gold plating – are worth roughly $600 based on current commodity prices, silver medals are worth close to $300, bronze medals – which consist mostly of copper – have barely any monetary value, approximately $4.

How much is the tax?

Assuming the athlete was already a high-income earner, paying the top bracket of US taxes, they would be paying 39.6% on the combined value of the medal and cash payout.

Americans for Tax Reform calculated the bills to be: for a gold medallist $9,900, for silver $5,940, and for bronze $3,960.

That’s also assuming the athlete only won one medal.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Giant Negros, Great American Rip-Off

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Simones Nail Olympic Gold

As expected, Simone Biles blew away the competition in the All-Around in Gymnastics. What wasn’t expected is Simone Manuel tying for Gold in the Pool.

Swimmer Simone Manuel Makes History With Gold

U.S. swimmer Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in an individual swimming event Thursday night. Manuel tied with Canadian Penny Oleksiak and beat world record-holder Cate Campbell in the women’s 100m freestyle final, breaking down in tears upon realizing the significance of her achievement. “The gold medal wasn’t just for me. It was for people that came before me and inspired me to stay in the sport,” the 20-year-old Stanford University student said after her win. It was her first Olympic Games.

Simone Biles Soars, Lifting Another Country With Her

BELIZE CITY, Belize — One o’clock arrived. Relatives gathered at a hotel bar to watch Olympic gymnastics on television. So did the first lady of Belize and 11 contestants in the coming Miss Belize pageant, wearing their sashes and carrying tiny flags. But where was Simone Biles?

The women’s individual all-around competition had begun 4,000 miles away on Thursday afternoon at the Rio Games. Biles, 19, was the heavy American favorite, but there was also anticipation in an unlikely place, the tiny Central American country of Belize, where she holds dual citizenship…

Biles’s connection to Belize is as complex and ultimately elevating as the flips, jumps and windmill spins that have made her the best gymnast of her generation, perhaps ever.

She was born in 1997 in Columbus, Ohio, to a mother who struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol, and to a father who was not part of her life. In 2002, Biles’s birth mother lost custody of her four children, who were placed in foster care and faced the possibility of being scattered by adoption.

Instead, Simone, then 6, and her younger sister Adria, then 4, were adopted in 2003 by their maternal grandfather, Ron Biles, and his second wife, Nellie Cayetano Biles, who is from a prominent Belizean family of teachers and nurses and government officials. (Nellie is not Simone’s biological grandmother; Simone’s other two biological siblings were adopted by Ron’s older sister.)

Before, Ron and Nellie were known to Simone and Adria as Grandpa and Grandma. Now they are Mom and Dad.

Nellie’s mother, Evarista Cayetano, was a teacher and an owner of a grocery store. Her father, Silas Cayetano, also began his career as a teacher, then became an official in Belize’s fishing and agricultural cooperatives, and, later, a senator…

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Rio Olympics Near Cancellation

There is a rapidly increasing chance that this years Summer Olympics in Rio will be cancelled.  The banning of the Russian Track and Field Team for doping is a side issue, and were that the only problem the Olympics would go on quite happily. The massive pollution, disease, crime, and bacterial infection issues are quite another story,

Sponsoring the Olympics was supposed to force the city to clean up the polluted waterways. Waterways filled with raw sewage, hospital waste, and trash. That, quite simply hasn’t happened.

‘Super Bacteria’ Found At Brazil Olympic Venues, Beaches

The diseases can cause infections, meningitis and lead to death.

Scientists have found dangerous drug-resistant “super bacteria” off beaches in Rio de Janeiro that will host Olympic swimming events and in a lagoon where rowing and canoe athletes will compete when the Games start on Aug. 5.

The findings from two unpublished academic studies seen by Reuters concern Rio’s most popular spots for tourists and greatly increase the areas known to be infected by the microbes normally found only in hospitals.

They also heighten concerns that Rio’s sewage-infested waterways are unsafe.

A study published in late 2014 had shown the presence of the super bacteria – classified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an urgent public health threat – off one of the beaches in Guanabara Bay, where sailing and wind-surfing events will be held during the Games.

The first of the two new studies, reviewed in September by scientists at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in San Diego, showed the presence of the microbes at five of Rio’s showcase beaches, including the ocean-front Copacabana, where open-water and triathlon swimming will take place.

The other four were Ipanema, Leblon, Botafogo and Flamengo.

The super bacteria can cause hard-to-treat urinary, gastrointestinal, pulmonary and bloodstream infections, along with meningitis. The CDC says studies show that these bacteria contribute to death in up to half of patients infected.

The second new study, by the Brazilian federal government’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation lab, which will be published next month by the American Society for Microbiology, found the genes of super bacteria in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon in the heart of Rio and in a river that empties into Guanabara Bay.

Waste from countless hospitals, in addition to hundreds of thousands of households, pours into storm drains, rivers and streams crisscrossing Rio, allowing the super bacteria to spread outside the city’s hospitals in recent years.

Renata Picao, a professor at Rio’s federal university and lead researcher of the first study, said the contamination of Rio’s famous beaches was the result of a lack of basic sanitation in the metropolitan area of 12 million people.

“These bacteria should not be present in these waters. They should not be present in the sea,” said Picao from her lab in northern Rio, itself enveloped by stench from Guanabara Bay.

Cleaning the city’s waterways was meant to be one of the Games’ greatest legacies and a high-profile promise in the official 2009 bid document Rio used to win the right to host South America’s first Olympics.

That goal has instead transformed into an embarrassing failure, with athletes lamenting the stench of sewage and complaining about debris that bangs into and clings to boats in Guanabara Bay, potential hazards for a fair competition.

Cancel the Olympics

The potential threat Zika virus poses is just too great to take the risk.

…If you ask me, I say cancel the Olympics. Here are five reasons why:

1. The numbers don’t lie. The World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee on Zika convened June 14 to consider new data and review previous recommendations, including those regarding the Rio Olympics. By August 5, more than 10,500 athletes, coaches and trainers will have descended on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In addition, more than 500,000 foreign spectators are expected to fly into the city. In doing so, they will be exposing themselves to the Zika-carrying mosquitos before returning to their home country. If you were a bioterrorist trying to expose as many of the world’s population as possible, I doubt you could come up with a better plan than this.

In a paper to be published shortly, the probable number of Zika cases during the Olympics was calculated using dengue transmission during the 2008 outbreak as a model. It found that, on the low end, there would be 1.8 cases per one million tourists, and on the high end, 3.2 cases per 100,000 tourists.

2. Brazil is not equipped to handle this crisis. The concern is not that tourists will fall ill while they’re at the games – though everyone seems to agree that pregnant women, at least, should stay away. The fear is that travelers will bring the virus home, either in their bodies or in the bodies of mosquito stowaways, and it will spread further. And there can be little doubt that holding the Olympics in Brazil as scheduled will greatly accelerate the spread of Zika.

Brazil is already having historic turbulence in their governance, economy and society. This is one developing country that is ill prepared to solve this problem, let alone do it in less than two months. While some have suggested concerns about Zika spreading are overwrought, let’s consider Brazil’s history with this virus. Nuno Faria of Oxford University suggested that a single individual carried Zika to Brazil in late 2013. By early 2016, as many as 1.5 million Brazilians are estimated to have been infected.

3. The WHO may have a conflict of interest here. Concerns have been raised about the WHO’s impartiality in this dialogue. It has been previously reported that the WHO entered into an official partnership with the International Olympic Committee, in a memorandum of understanding that remains secret to this day. There is no good reason for the WHO not to disclose this memorandum of understanding. It is standard scientific practice for potential conflicts of interest to be revealed – look at any scientific publication.

4. Clearly Brazil has a conflict of interest as well. Brazil has an obvious political and financial interest that the Rio Olympics going ahead as scheduled. It is doubtful that if the games would ever return to Brazil in the future if they don’t go on as scheduled. But changing the venue or postponing the games isn’t practical either. It has taken years for Brazil, like any other host, to gear up for these Olympics. If they don’t start as planned, they won’t proceed at all this year.

5. The stakes are just too high to risk it. There is no longer any doubt that Zika causes infants to be born with abnormally small heads and damaged brains. But there are still many key questions left to be answered. What is the degree of risk Zika infections might pose to pregnant women? That is, after an infection, how often will a fetus develop birth defects? Current studies suggest that somewhere between 1 percent and 29 percent of babies born to infected mothers have microcephaly. That is a pretty wide range. Researchers would also like to know when a developing infant is most vulnerable to the virus, and whether Zika may cause a spectrum of related problems, ranging from stillbirth and miscarriages on the severe end to learning disabilities on the milder end. They just don’t know at this time.

Bottom line – there is much we don’t know about the Zika risk. While expects can legitimately argue about the magnitude of the risk, nobody denies risk exists. David Hackworth once said, “It is human nature to start taking things for granted when danger isn’t banging loudly on the door.” The risk is potentially catastrophic – the Rio Olympics should be cancelled now.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 18, 2016 in News, You Know It's Bad When...

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Man-made Shooting Stars for 2020 Japan Olympics!

If they can pull this off, it will be the greatest show ever attempted. The seem to be silent about the possibility that the manmade meteorites may come in different colors, leading to the sky being lit up in a Kaleidoscope.

If I can figure it out – I’m going to Tokyo for this.

2020 Tokyo Olympics May Open With Huge Meteor Shower Launched By Satellites

Japan will attempt to go down in Olympic history by kicking off the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with a man-made meteor shower, Quartz reported.

 The Japanese research company ALE plans to use satellites to deploy up to 500,000 manufactured shooting stars into orbit during the Olympic opening ceremony. The project is known as Sky Canvas.

The imitation meteors, which ALE refers to as “source particles” or “the ingredients of a shooting star,” will be discharged by satellites and orbit a third of the length around the Earth before entering the atmosphere. Here, they will burn up in a process known as “plasma emission,” according to the startup’s site.

The secret formula for Sky Canvas’ pellets was researched and developed at Japan’s Nihon University which has also experimented with different colors, according to TechTimes. ALE has also considered using the particles to display images or words in the sky.

The synthetic shooting stars will not come cheap. TechTimes reported that each pellet comes at a price tag of around 1 million yen or $8,100. The high cost of the materials hasn’t deterred ALE, which hopes to launch its first test satellite at the end of 2017, according to Qaurtz.

Cost is not the only potential obstacle. Earth’s crowded atmosphere means collisions between Sky Canvas and other orbiting structures could occur. However, ALE has insisted Sky Canvas is safe.

The project claims to utilize a database from the Joint Space Operations Center, or JSpOC, which tracks satellites and space debris. ALE claimed it has used this data to develop “software that calculates the probability of our particles colliding with other objects.”

Sky Canvas can be aborted up to 100 minutes prior to launch if weather or concern over collisions pose a safety threat, according to ALE. As for the satellites, they are projected to eventually enter the atmosphere and burn up, much like the faux meteors, over a period of 25 years.

The high cost and design considerations required to bring Sky Canvas to Japan seem to be worth it for thestartup. The unprecedented display would be visible over a 62-mile radius and be seen by an estimated 30 million people in the Tokyo area.

Ultimately, Sky Canvas would secure Japan’s place in Olympic history.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 23, 2016 in Nawwwwww!

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Less Than Spartan Olympics

Summer Olympics is supposed to happen in Rio this year. It may not.

Issues include an unstable and volatile political situation, with the current President having been impeached, pollution issues making the events dangerous for competitors, the Zika virus running rampant, and whether the event facilities will actually be ready. In other words, it’s a rolling disaster.

Add to that as significant portion of the Russian Olympic team will be banned for use of steroids, and at least 31 athletes have been banned for illegal substance use so far…

And things are looking a lot less than “Golden”.

Olympics now digging into past winners, issuing bans

The IOC issued a stern statement on Tuesday promising to step up the fight against sports doping after a series of damning reports exposed systematic and mass cheating by Russian athletes.

The Olympics organizers said 31 athletes in six sports have tested positive inreanalysis of their doping samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee said it has opened disciplinary proceedings against the unidentified athletes from 12 countries.

The samples had been stored at the IOC laboratory in Lausanne. They were retested using enhanced methods on athletes who were expecting to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.

The IOC said “all those athletes infringing anti-doping rules will be banned from competing” in Rio.

The committee said the results of 250 retests from the 2012 London Olympics will “come shortly.” There will also undertake a “wider retesting” of medalists from Beijing and London.

“The re-tests from Beijing and London and the measures we are taking following the worrying allegations against the Laboratory in Sochi are another major step to protect the clean athletes irrespective of any sport or any nation. We keep samples for ten years so that the cheats know that they can never rest,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in the statement.

Over the weekend, Russia’s sports minister said his country has a “problem” with doping and is “very sorry” that its cheating athletes were not caught sooner.

“Serious mistakes have been made by the federation management, along with athletes and coaches who have broken anti-doping rules and neglected the principle of fair play,” said Vitaly Mutko, writing in British newspaper The Sunday Times. “Let us be clear. We are ashamed of them.”

Russia will discover on June 17 whether its athletics federation has met the reform criteria to return to competition in time for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Russia was plunged into another doping scandal last week after a series of exposes by “60 Minutes,” The New York Times, and others.

A former Russian anti-doping official allowed “60 Minutes” to listen to 15 hours of conversations he secretly recorded with a prominent doctor involved in the country’s testing regime.

Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov shared details of a systematic cover-up in Sochi during Skype conversations with Vitaly Stepanov, a former Russian anti-doping official turned key whistleblower. The doping program reportedly involved at least 15 Russian medal winners.

“He had the ability to help to get the necessary results,” Stepanov told CBS News — referring to gold medals.

In the recordings, Rodchenkov named Russian gold medalists in three sports — bobsled, skeleton and cross country skiing — whose dirty drugs tests he helped cover up.

It was all part, he said, of an elaborate scheme to protect Russia’s Olympic medal winners, with the help of his country’s intelligence service, known as the FSB.

“FSB tried to control every single step of the anti-doping process in Sochi,” Stepanov said Rodchenkov told him.

The FSB figured out a way to open bottles considered to be tamper-proof containing urine from drug-tainted athletes. Then they filled the bottles with clean urine collected from athletes before they started doping.

Former Olympic Cycling Champion Tammy Thomas before and after stopping steroid use

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in News

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: