IOC president Thomas Bach at the Nanjing Youth Games // photo Getty Images

IOC president Thomas Bach at the Nanjing Youth Games // photo Getty Images

IOC

No bid visits: will ‘Agenda 2020′ yield real change?

The International Olympic Committee tends, generally speaking, to move with tradition and with careful adherence to process in mind.

Thus perhaps, maybe, possibly the final outcome of the all-members session in December in Monaco, at which the IOC will review President Thomas Bach’s “Agenda 2020” review and potential reform plan, will produce far-reaching change. But the signal sent at the close of Thursday’s policy-making executive board meeting seems decidedly otherwise.

A gas mask-wearing runner at Sunday's Beijing Marathon // photo Getty Images

A gas mask-wearing runner at Sunday's Beijing Marathon // photo Getty Images

IOC

Time for IOC leadership, not lip service

Friendship, excellence and respect — these are the key values underpinning the mission of the International Olympic Committee, indeed the Olympic enterprise worldwide. Moreover, the IOC likes to say that athletes are at the center of everything everyone in the Olympic movement does.

Two episodes over the weekend raise serious questions about whether both are true, or just so much lip service. And with the IOC’s policy-making executive board meeting later this week in Switzerland, the issue becomes what — if anything — the IOC is going to do about it.

ISA president Fernando Aguerre

ISA president Fernando Aguerre

IOC

Hey, IOC, let’s go surfing — now

Hard to believe but snowboarding, which is basically now the it-sport of the Winter Games, has been on the program only since 1998. It has really been a big deal only since 2002, when halfpipe took off.

The International Olympic Committee has had one undisputed big winner in recent years at the Summer Games: beach volleyball. BMX? Kinda. The real ticket is at the beach, with the hard bodies in their bikinis or board shorts and the California-cool, surfer-dude lifestyle.

Norway's Petter Northug at the Sochi Games // photo Getty Images

Norway's Petter Northug at the Sochi Games // photo Getty Images

Swimming

The Phelps suspension: why the rush to judgment?

Cross-country ski champion Petter Northug was sentenced last Thursday in court in Norway to 50 days behind bars after being convicted of drunk driving. Which brings us to Michael Phelps, the 24/7 media spin cycle we live in and the rush to judgment that led to the significant suspension USA Swimming levied against Phelps for his recent DUI arrest in Baltimore.

What was to be gained by USA Swimming rushing to this judgment? More — what was lost by waiting?

Former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Ed Reed, left, with Michael Phelps at M&T Bank Stadium last month // photo Getty Images

Former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Ed Reed, left, with Michael Phelps at M&T Bank Stadium last month // photo Getty Images

Swimming

What’s next for Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps is not a bad guy. Let’s start there. In fact, he’s a really, really good guy. He cares — deeply — about his family, his coaches, the people who have been with him for years, his hometown, his country and his sport. He is, genuinely, great with kids. He is, truly, a normal guy who found a genius for swimming and competing.

By driving drunk, according to the allegations levied against him by the authorities in Maryland, Michael made a really bad mistake. Perhaps the hardest piece: Michael has said many, many times, often to audiences of kids, that it’s OK to make a mistake — the trick is not to make the same mistake twice. Now, in the wake of his DUI problem 10 years ago, he has made the very same mistake, all over again.