That was then: ice hockey federation president Rene Fasel and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at a news conference at the Sochi 2014 Olympics // Getty Images

IOC

NHL: Agenda 2020, drop dead

Agenda 2020, International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach’s would-be reform proposal, holds 40 points. The IOC members passed all 40, unanimously, in December 2014. Some two and a half years later, with the exception of the launch of the Olympic Channel, Agenda 2020 has proven a lot of aspirational talk and not much else.

The NHL’s decision to walk away from the 2018 Winter Games offers potent new evidence of the obvious irrelevance with which it views Agenda 2020 and, by extension, the larger Olympic enterprise. There can be no other conclusion. If Agenda 2020 held the power to effect meaningful change, what would the NHL choose when weighing this essential question: is hockey a brand or a sport?

IOC

The Olympics as canary in coal mine

If English is not your first language, or you have forgotten or never learned about the dangers inherent in mining, or you have (inexplicably) little to no regard for “Zenyatta Mondatta,” the classic 1980 album from The Police, herewith an appreciation of the phrase “canary in a coal mine.”

And why, like the canary, the Olympic movement is an eerily prescient predictor of change buffeting our uncertain, if not broken, world — the kind of change that produced Brexit, the vote Thursday that will now lead to the United Kingdom’s self-inflicted divorce from the European Union.