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.

Ukraine's Ruslan Dmytrenko winning the 20km event at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Taicang, China // photo Getty Images

Ukraine's Ruslan Dmytrenko winning the 20km event at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Taicang, China // photo Getty Images

IOC

IOC: $300,000 “emergency fund” for Ukraine

The International Olympic Committee on Wednesday announced it had established an “emergency fund” of $300,000 to benefit Ukrainian athletes, one of the most intriguing moves in recent memory.

It underscores the will and decisiveness of the IOC president, Thomas Bach of Germany, and his bid — which he has made a point of repeated emphasis in these first months of his term — to stake out separately delineated spheres for what is sport and what is politics. Recall that the very first call Bach received upon his election last September was from Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Ukrainian and Russian wrestlers and team officials meet before action gets underway at the LA World Cup // photo courtesy Tony Rotundo, FILA-Official.com

Ukrainian and Russian wrestlers and team officials meet before action gets underway at the LA World Cup // photo courtesy Tony Rotundo, FILA-Official.com

Wrestling

Wrestling’s handshake moment

Russia put troops on the Ukrainian mainland for the first time Saturday, deploying 80 soldiers along with four helicopter gunships and three armored vehicles to seize a natural gas terminal distribution station near Crimea.

Crimea is set to vote Sunday whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Ukraine’s government and Western governments have denounced the vote as illegal.

eam leaders Christakis Alexandridis of Russia (right) and Eduard Nosadchyy of Ukraine shares smiles over dinner in the Team Dining Room, prior to the 2014 FILA Men’s Freestyle World Cup of Wrestling. // photo courtesy USA Wrestling

eam leaders Christakis Alexandridis of Russia (right) and Eduard Nosadchyy of Ukraine shares smiles over dinner in the Team Dining Room, prior to the 2014 FILA Men’s Freestyle World Cup of Wrestling. // photo courtesy USA Wrestling

Wrestling

Wrestling: now, the spotlight

Russia massed troops and armored vehicles Thursday in at least three regions along Ukraine’s eastern border, the New York Times reported.

In Washington, the Obama Administration deferred a request from Ukraine’s interim government for arms and ammunition, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A tableau from the closing ceremony -- brides hanging from helium-filled balloons

A tableau from the closing ceremony -- brides hanging from helium-filled balloons

Sochi 2014

“The new face of Russia”

ADLER, Russia — The Sochi 2014 Winter Games drew Sunday night to a close, an Olympics intent on projecting the image of a strong and confident new Russia across this vast country and to the world beyond, with a mighty Russian team awakening the echoes of the mighty Soviet sport system to prideful spectator cheers of “Ro-ssi-ya! Ro-ssi-ya!”

Albeit, over 17 days, to the beat of “Get Lucky” by a Russian police choir. And cheerful volunteers yelling, “Good morning!” while dancing to the Black Eyed Peas.