The snowy scene at the 2013 world cross-country championships at Bydgoszcz, Poland // photo Getty Images

The snowy scene at the 2013 world cross-country championships at Bydgoszcz, Poland // photo Getty Images

Track and field

Winter Games XC — why not?

SOPOT, Poland — The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics rang the bell on a year of imagination and fresh thinking for the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC’s all-members session immediately before the opening ceremony produced, over a day and a half, 211 comments from the floor.

The IOC executive board at its Montreux retreat // photo courtesy IOC

The IOC executive board at its Montreux retreat // photo courtesy IOC

IOC

IOC’s signals of change

There are two ways to look at the announcement Saturday from the International Olympic Committee that sports such as skateboarding and sport climbing will put on “performances” at next summer’s Youth Games in Nanjing.

If you are the sort who recognizes that the IOC is and always will be, no matter what, a traditionally minded organization, where change moves at a stately pace, the fact that these sports are being reduced to demonstrations doubtlessly will provoke, yet again, exasperation. It’s 2013, almost 2014. Come on, IOC. Get with the program. Skateboarding, right? And climbing is huge, particularly in Europe.

IOC president Thomas Bach after chairing his first executive board meeting

IOC president Thomas Bach after chairing his first executive board meeting

IOC

Bach’s very busy first IOC EB

LAUSANNE, Switzerland –Russian organizers will set up protest zones in Sochi, the new International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach said here Tuesday. Whether they will work, or anyone will have the courage to want to step into them amid what is expected to be a ferocious security presence, remain very much an open question.

The IOC president took the high road:  ”It’s a measure we welcome,” Bach said of the protest area, “so that everybody can express his or her free opinion.”

2013-11-16 16.22.28

Track and field

Awards gala turns to doping talk

MONACO — Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the Jamaican sprint stars, were named Saturday the IAAF male and female athletes of the year.

To think it would have been anyone else would strain credulity. What, they were going to name Bohdan Bodarenko or Zuzana Hejnova? Only track diehards know he’s a high jumper from Ukraine and she is from the Czech Republic and runs the 400 hurdles. Come on.