Posts

Olympics

Organizing Committee Chief For Tokyo Olympics Claims Games Could Still Be Cancelled

The chief of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, Toshiro Muto, claimed that a last-minute cancellation was not off the table for the Olympic Games this year, despite the fact that the opening ceremony is scheduled to take place this Friday.

A combination of athletes testing positive for Covid-19 and major Olympic sponsors pulling out of the opening ceremony is what has so many experts worried.

“We can’t predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases,” Muto explained.

Embed from Getty Images

“We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises.”

Covid-19 cases are currently on the rise in Tokyo. The Games are set to happen with no spectators, and Japan decided this month that participants will be competing in empty venues to minimize health risks.

So far there have been 67 cases of Covid-19 in Japan among the individuals accredited for the Games since the beginning of July, when a majority of the athletes started arriving. Japan’s vaccination program overall has been delayed, and the city of Tokyo is currently experiencing a surge of new cases with 1,387 being reported on Tuesday.

Embed from Getty Images

Seiko Hashimoto, who sits alongside Muto as organizing committee President, said that “safety measures introduced to reassure the Japanese public had not necessarily done so, I’m aware that popular support for the Games had dropped.”

“I really want to apologize from my heart for the accumulation of frustrations and concerns that the public has been feeling towards the Olympics.”

Kenji Shibuya, former director of the Institute for Population Health at King’s College London, said that the Olympics bubble system was “already kind of broken. My biggest concern is, of course, there will be a cluster of infections in the (athletes’) village or some of the accommodation and interaction with local people,” he added.

“Members of the public are concerned because they feel that the current situation appears to show that the playbooks that were meant to guarantee security are not providing a sense of safety.”

55% of the Japanese population claimed that they were opposed to the Games and wanted them to be cancelled, according to a poll performed by a local media outlet.

The Rules Athletes Will Need To Follow To Participate In The 2021 Olympic Games 

The Olympics are officially going to happen this year on July 23rd in Tokyo, Japan. After the Games were postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many individuals behind-the-scenes have been working hard this past year to make sure these Games happen as safely and efficiently as possible, which means all the athletes will need to abide by a strict set of rules to keep themselves and others safe. 

11,500 athletes are expected to travel to Japan from hundreds of countries this July. Additionally, about 79,000 journalists, officials, and staff will be in attendance. 

Embed from Getty Images

The individuals working behind the scenes have created an official list of rules that all parties involved must follow to avoid being potentially barred from competing or having their credentials completely stripped. 

The International Olympic Committee announced last month that Pfizer would be donating Covid-19 vaccines to all athletes and country delegates before they travel to Japan. While taking the vaccine isn’t a requirement for attending and participating in the Games, it’s highly encouraged for obvious safety reasons. 

All competitors from outside Japan must be tested for Covid-19 twice, on two separate days within 96 hours of their flight to Japan, they will then be tested again upon arrival. Athletes will be expected to download an app that will monitor their location and be used for contact tracing purposes as well. 

Athletes will also be required to quarantine for three days after they arrive. They will be allowed to participate in Game related activities during quarantine as long as they continue to test negative; they will be tested daily. 

Embed from Getty Images

Athletes will also be required to do daily reporting of their temperature and any potential symptoms that appear within the app. Temperatures will be checked upon entry to every Olympic venue. 

If an athlete does test positive for the virus, they will immediately go into isolation and their apps will be used to contact and trace any other individual they may have been in contact with. 

Social distancing protocols will also be enforced as all athletes will be competing at least six-and-a-half feet apart from each other. All physical interactions are discouraged as a means of preventing potential spreading of the virus. 

Athletes will be able to eat within the Olympic village or at specially-permitted venues and locations; they won’t be able to explore Japan during their downtime. 

Unless athletes are eating, drinking, sleeping, training, or competing, they will also be expected to wear a mask the whole time they’re at the Games. These rules will ideally keep all athletes, journalists, and behind the scenes workers safe and healthy throughout the entirety of the summer Games.

Sports Team

Olympic Athletes Promised Legal Support If They Protest After IOC Reinforces Ban 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently confirmed their long-standing ban on “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” on the field of play, medal podiums, or official ceremonies. A global union and activist group based in Germany responded by promising legal support to any athlete who makes a political or social justice statement at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. 

Simply raising a fist or taking a knee on the field could lead to immediate punishment from the IOC. The Olympic bodys legal team, however, still hasn’t clarified what kind of punishment an athlete would experience should they defy this rule.

Embed from Getty Images

“The IOC also said that slogans such as ‘Black Lives Matter’ will not be allowed on athlete apparel at Olympic venues, though it approved using the words ‘peace,’ ‘respect,’ ‘solidarity,’ ‘inclusion’ and ‘equality’ on T-shirts. The IOC’s athletes’ commission cited support to uphold Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter from more than two-thirds of about 3,500 replies from consulting athlete groups,” according to reports from ESPN. 

“This is precisely the outcome we expected, the Olympic movement doesn’t understand its own history better than the athletes. Any athlete sanctioned at the Tokyo Olympics will have the full backing of World Players.”

“Should German athletes decide to peacefully stand up for fundamental values such as fighting racism during the Olympic Games, they can rely on the legal support of Athleten Deutschland,” Johannes Herber, the chief executive of the independent group representing German athletes, said in a statement.

Embed from Getty Images

In a statement, another athlete group, Global Athlete, encouraged athletes to “not allow outdated ‘sports rules’ to supersede your basic human rights. These types of surveys only empower the majority when it is the minority that want and need to be heard.” 

The IOC claimed cases would each be judged based on merits, and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, on Thursday, released a statement saying it “plans to update our recently released policy over protests in response to the IOC’s decision have not changed. We’re disappointed to see no meaningful or impactful change to Rule 50.Until the IOC changes its approach of feeding the myth of the neutrality of sport or protecting the status quo, the voices of marginalized athletes will continue to be silenced.”

Actors who break Rule 50 will be sanctioned by one to three bodies: the IOC, their sports governing body, and their national Olympic Committee. 

It’s still unclear what the punishment would look like for athletes who choose to protest. After Tommie Smith and John Carlos were recently inducted into the Olympic Hall Of Fame after being banned from the games for protesting on the podium during the 1968 Games, IOC officials claimed they would never ban an athlete to the same extent again.

Athlete Drinking Power Drink

Electrolyte Supplements Don’t Actually Prevent Dehydration, Study Suggests

According to a new study, the electrolytes that we all thought were keeping athletes hydrated and healthy during extensive periods of exercise shouldn’t actually be relied upon exclusively for that purpose. In general, beverages like Gatorade are meant to be ingested during high-endurance workouts, sports games, training etc. and its expected to help athletes keep their negative sodium levels low, and hydration levels high as a means of preventing serious illness brought on by overall strain to the body. 

A recent study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine focused on a group of 266 professional marathon runners who were participating in RacingThePlanet, which is known as an extreme sporting event that requires participants to run 155 miles over the course of a week. The route for the marathon is known to go through rough terrain and various deserts. Researchers from Stanford University, who performed the study, were focusing on something known as hypernatremia; which is basically a fancy term for when the sodium levels in your body are too high, or low, resulting in dehydration. 

Embed from Getty Images

The researchers were focusing specifically on exercise-associated hyponatremia, or EAH, which is caused by a massive increase or decrease in sodium levels in the bloodstream as a result of physical activity. While a decrease in sodium levels may seem like it would have the opposite effect of dehydration, there are certain sodium compounds that are necessary for keeping our hydration levels balanced and body systems functioning to the best of their ability. 

EAH is a big problem amongst athletes, as it doesn’t just cause traditional dehydration symptoms like dizziness, headache or exhaustion. EAH can lead to an altered mental state, seizures, fluid to build in the lungs, and in some cases, death. The research found that things like hot weather can obviously increase the chances of an EAH associated illness from occurring, but it also concluded that the use of sodium and electrolyte supplements, like Gatorade, does little to prevent any EAH symptoms, contrary to what we’ve all thought. 

“In the past, athletes were told to make sure they’re taking electrolyte supplements. It was generally thought that that would prevent things like muscle cramping, electrolyte imbalances and dizziness. But there is currently no evidence to show this is true. Most electrolyte strategies end up with a drink that has a lower sodium concentration than what is found in the body. This is why drinking too much electrolyte solutions can result in EAH,” said Dr. Grant Lipman, the lead author of the study.

Embed from Getty Images

The study itself included 61 women and 205 men, and researchers monitored each individual as they ran the RacingThePlanet course. The races took place over the course of two years at alternating times, most of the athletes competed in weather hotter than 93 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The process was quite simple, yet specific: data was collected from the athletes at the beginning and the end of a 50-mile portion of the race. Beforehand, each athlete was weighed and had to report what type of electrolyte supplement they were taking and what their overall drinking/hydration strategy was. The researchers needed to know how often they would be taking their supplements and drinking.

Once they finished the 50 miles, before they could hydrate or rest, researchers weighed them again and asked how closely they followed their hydration regime that was discussed beforehand, the team also took blood samples from everyone to get some more cellular data regarding the sodium levels in each athlete’s blood. 

The results showed that 41 of the 266 participants had notable sodium imbalances in their blood, 30 were considered to be dehydrated, and 11 had EAH. The conclusion based on these results worked to prove that while electrolyte supplements may promote themselves as hydrating, there really is no direct link to show that they prevent any sort of illness.

“Electrolyte supplements are promoted as preventing nausea and cramping caused by low salt levels, but this is a false paradigm. They’ve never been shown to prevent illness or even improve performance, and if diluted with too much water, can be dangerous. The takeaway is to listen to your body, no matter what sport you are participating in, and particularly pay attention in the heat,” Lipman concluded.

Olympics

Russia Has Been Banned From The Olympics Following Anti-Doping Scandal

Russia has officially been banned from all major international sporting competitions for the next four years over non-compliance violations made apparent by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This ban means that Russia is no longer allowed to compete in major sporting events coming up such as the World Cup, and more notably the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 

The ban’s initial case review was in response to Russian Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov exposing Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) for dozens of falsified drug reports/cover-ups. Rodchenkov was the former head of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory before he took on the “whistle-blower” title, exposing the lab for using a systematic doping program with false reports which benefited over 1,000 athletes between 2011 and 2015, according to CNN.

Embed from Getty Images

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov holds a press conference in Moscow

“Finally, Russia’s many doping and obstruction sins will now get some of the punishment they richly deserve. For far too long, Russia has weaponized doping fraud and state-sponsored criminal activity as a tool of foreign policy. When doping conspiracies become a crime under the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, cheaters will be in U.S. prisons and clean athletes will be better protected,” said Rodchenkov via his lawyer Jim Walden, in a statement sent to CNN.

The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act has been adopted in the U.S. in 2018 after the initial whistle-blower comments were made. The act itself criminalizes international doping fraud conspiracies, such as the one that has now ignited a full on Russian ban from international sporting events. The announcement of the ban gives RUSADA 21 days to either accept the ban or take the matter to court, more specifically the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The CAS is an institution “independent of any sports organization which facilitate the settlement of sports-related disputes through mediation by means of procedural rules adapted to the specific needs of the sports world.” In simpler terms, it’s sports court.

Embed from Getty Images

President of the Russian Olympic Committee

Russia is expected to announce its decision regarding the ban as soon as possible, but it’s expected that they will take the matter to court out of fairness to all of Russia’s athletes who legitimately are clean and didn’t need to cheat the system to get ahead. The ban itself, however, wouldn’t actually ban any legit clean athletes; it would just mean that they have to compete as neutral and not under the Russian flag. 

The harsh punishment is being dealt by the WADA due to massive inconsistencies in data that the WADA received in January 2019. The data itself didn’t line up with reports from a Moscow lab, where Rodchenkov worked, and showed how RUSADA wasn’t abiding by the official anti-doping policies of the WADA. 

“Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial. As a result, the WADA ExCo has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts,” said WADA President Sir Craig Reedie in a statement.

Man in Prison

Longest Prison Sentence In College Admissions Scandal Has Just Been Made

Toby MacFarlane, a 56 year old former California insurance executive from Del Mar, is the most recent to be sentenced in the now infamous college admissions scandal that has been rocking the media as of late. MacFarlane received the longest sentence made thus far and will be serving six months in prison for paying upwards of $450,000 to get both of his children into the University of Southern California as fake athletic recruits, the same specific crime committed by actress Lori Loughlin, according to FOX

MacFarlane specifically paid $200,000 to William Singer, the man who acted as the middleman for twelve of the parents involved in the scandal, to pay USC athletic directors off in order to get his daughter admitted to the school as a soccer recruit back in 2014. Additionally MacFarlane paid $250,000 three years later to get his son into USC as a fake basketball recruit (FOX). The money paid allowed MacFarlane’s children to be accepted into the university as “All American” athletes. Singer pocketed most of the bribe, but around $50,000 was taken from both sets of payment and paid to USC athletics official Donna Heinel. Heinel is the same individual who helped Loughlin’s kids also get admitted to the school as Crew recruits. She has pleaded not-guilty to her federal charges and is awaiting trial. 

According to CNN, MacFarlane will also have to pay a fine of $150,000, perform 200 hours of community service upon release, and will most likely be put on probation a year after his release. His son attended the university for a few months but didn’t end up graduating from it, due to the scandal breaking, and his daughter graduated from the university in 2018, both kids never once stepped foot on an athletic field. 

Image result for Toby MacFarlane

To get away with it, CNN reports that MacFarlane claimed the payments on his taxes as business expenses, as he was working as a senior executive of the World Financial Group’s Title Insurance Company at the time, so he was able to get tax deductions on the bribes. So far he has paid back the IRS $80,000 of the money he pocketed since being arrested. Also since his arrest MacFarlane lost his job and professional license working in insurance.

“I was entering the most serious personal crisis of [my] life when Singer entered [my] life. My marriage was falling apart, and I was being treated for anxiety, depression and insomnia. I knew it was wrong, but at the time I was feeling completely overwrought and all I could think of was not having to worry about my kids getting into college. Foolishly and selfishly, I took what seemed like an easy way out,” MacFarlane wrote in a letter to the court. 

Prosecutors were anything but sympathetic to this letter, as MacFarlane used the scam not once but twice, and with three years in between each other. Personal turmoil is often never a viable excuse in the court of law, as every human being is going through hardships, but that doesn’t mean everyone else turns to criminal behavior to cope, especially when the individual is one of high financial power and status. 

“Many people experience similar hardships without turning to criminal conduct. By repeating the scheme for his son, MacFarlane demonstrated that it was not just a “transitory lapse in judgment,” Prosecutors wrote in court documents.

More than 50 individuals total have been charged due to their involvement with this scandal. So far, 19 have pleaded guilty to their charges and 15 have contested.

CBD

Why Athletes Are Using CBD Instead Of Advil

CBD, or cannabidiol, has been rising in popularity within the past few years. CBD is found in marijuana plants, however, doesn’t get you high, and is totally legal to sell anywhere, it’s basically like any other herb but with so many more benefits. CBD is constantly being researched and has proven to help individuals with soreness, stress, anxiety, and has been known to improve rest and relaxation. So it’s no wonder the product of a plant otherwise made illegal for athletes to ingest, is their newest secret to improving their overall health. 

CBD has become more trendy due to the diversity it holds. You can take it as a pill, rub it on as a lotion, drink it in an iced tea, eat it as a gummy, and more! More times than not individuals begin taking CBD for one particular reason, and begin to notice a ton of other benefits. Athletes are starting to realize the benefits of CBD lotion that helps with muscle soreness and overall physical relaxation. They also are noticing that when they have a really grueling day of physical training, CBD helps maintain focus and strength to finish the work out for the best results. 

Normally athletes reach for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDs for improvement to muscle function and soreness, however, many hate how the drugs hinder their overall performance, and post-workout recovery. Many also report having gut and digestive issues as a result of taking the NSAIDs that continue even if they stop taking them. Luckily, athletes who have had this issue and switched to CBD have noticed their bodies systems beginning to stabilize. That’s because CBD has been known to act as a reset button for some individuals as it’s helped balance out any abnormalities within the bodies physical systems. 

Embed from Getty Images

 

Athletes also know that a good night’s rest is essential for them to perform to the best of their ability. CBD has helped athletes not only fall asleep easier and for longer, but also leaves them feeling more refreshed and energized in the morning. The cannabidiol stabilizes and regenerates with your body through its natural sleep cycle, guaranteeing you won’t feel fatigued and foggy in the morning. 

Embed from Getty Images

Emotional fatigue is also a major roadblock for athletes. Stress and emotions alike cause athletes to perform at a lower caliber, and also makes them more prone to injury due to an overall lack of focus. CBD is also known to work with emotional/mental health by providing a natural caffeine-esque focus and relaxation, thus increasing focus. In addition any muscle soreness, or discomfort can improve monumentally when you add a CBD topical lotion to the area as you go through any standard athletic muscle relief tricks such as stretching, massage, yoga, etc. 

Sports doctors have recommended starting small when an athlete decides to try CBD for relief. While it’s not a drug like THC (its chemical counterpart in marijuana that does cause a “high” to occur), CBD like any medication, natural or not, reacts differently with everybody. Topical lotions are more of an immediate and direct solution, whereas a digested option will take longer and react at the same rate in your body as an ibuprofen would. 

According to Gear Junkie Magazine, an online athletic publication about the best products for athletes/gym bodies alike, most athletes are recommended to start with a CBD infused bath bomb. These baths are meant to give you the same result that you’d get from taking an ice bath, but without all the discomfort of being engulfed in a tub full of ice chunks. The bath bomb’s are said to help with muscle soreness and relaxation, and are said to be a very calming and centering experience. “Athletes trust and rely on cbdMD, which stands out as a premium CBD company” according to Gear Junkie, so make sure to check out their website of products to make sure you’re getting the highest quality product with a 100% guarantee that the product won’t contain any traces of the banned chemical THC.

Olympics

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Are Going To Be A Hot One…Literally

As the world prepares itself for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the city is already taking extra precautions due to a growing concern for the high temperatures Japan is known for in the summer.