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.

A scene before the men's team ski jump event at the Asian Winter Games in 2011 in Almaty, Kazakhstan // photo Getty Images

A scene before the men's team ski jump event at the Asian Winter Games in 2011 in Almaty, Kazakhstan // photo Getty Images

IOC

2022: sport, politics, irony

Here is the definition of irony. The International Olympic Committee has spent a great deal of this past year building bridges between the worlds of sport and politics. Then the government of Norway decides not to bid for the 2022 Winter Games. So what does the IOC do?

It issues a statement in which it opts not for its usual measured tones in assessing the Norwegian government and political establishment. The release calls the Norwegian decision a “missed opportunity.” It says the Norwegians didn’t come to a meeting — that the Norwegians themselves asked for, the IOC notes — and thus the move to bow out of 2022 was taken on the “basis of half-truths and factual inaccuracies.”

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

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

IOC

A 2022 let’s wait proposal

Good grief. Who writes these International Olympic Committee news releases?

The news in Monday’s account was not who was on the 2022 Winter Games evaluation commission. That was interesting if, say, you are a student of soft power, and want to note that the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, as well as the senior vice president of Sochi 2014, Tatiana Dobrokhvalova, are both on the commission. Have at it, students of intrigue.