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Olympic Sports

🏒🏅

The USWNT’s Olympic opponents were announced yesterday

April 22, 2021
Source: USATSI
Source: USATSI

⚽️Soccer: The USWNT’s Olympic opponents were announced yesterday, and to say we’re fired up is an understatement. Team USA will face world No. 5 Sweden, No. 9 Australia and No. 22 New Zealand in the group stage. When the world’s top team emerges from the group stage, we could see a quarter or semifinal against our “favourite” rivals, Team Canada. Fingers crossed.

🏒Hockey: For the second straight year, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Championship (WWC) is canceled. The premier annual event for women’s hockey was to be held in Halifax starting May 6th. It’s going to take us a while to get over this one.

🥇Olympics: The Olympics, as far as we know, are still a go, but things look dicey. The torch relay, which sees the Olympic flame carried through a tour of Japan, had to be rerouted multiple times since starting on March 25th; and qualifying events for the host nation had to be moved out of Japan for the time being. Outlook: not so good.

🏅2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Controversy

April 08, 2021
Source: AP
Source: AP

The details: Earlier this week, a U.S. State Department official suggested that the U.S. may boycott the Beijing Olympics in response to China’s severe human rights violations, and Canadian politicians have also suggested a similar idea.

  • The Biden administration suggested that they would speak with allies about a joint approach, in what would be the first American-led Olympics boycott since they organized the 65-nation boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in the USSR.
  • In response, China’s government warned against a boycott (obviously), citing a “robust Chinese response” if the U.S. went ahead with it.

The decision: While the governments toss around rumors, the National Olympic Committees will make the final call, and so far, both the US and Canadian Olympic Committees have rejected the idea. Both committees have acknowledged that a boycott would ineffectively use athletes as pawns.

🏅🏒🏈

The GIST's Bits & Bites: USA

February 01, 2021
Source: CGTN
Source: CGTN

🥇X-Games: The always-entertaining extreme sports event took place over the weekend, and our Americans cleaned up. Chloe Kim took no time at all to get back to her winning ways, picking up a gold in Snowboard SuperPipe, while Maddie Mastro took silver, and Jamie Anderson and Dusty Henricksen snagged snowboarding golds, too.

  • But the real star of the weekend was Eileen Gu, a 17-year-old freeskier from San Francisco, who competes for China and who made history by winning three medals in her X Games debut. 
  • She’s also crazy smart, fluent in Mandarin, an accomplished pianist and plans on studying molecular genetics at Stanford next year. Kids these days!

🏒Hockey: COVID-19 has entered the chat NWHL bubble. The Metropolitan Riveters withdrew from competition late last week after multiple players and team staff tested positive, leading to a revised schedule and a wide-open battle for the Isobel Cup. Stay tuned for The GIST’s NWHL postseason preview, landing in your inbox on Wednesday.

🏈NFL: So about that Pro Bowl...just kidding. The real NFL news? A huge quarterback (QB) trade. The Detroit Lions sent first overall 2009 Draft pick Matthew Stafford to the LA Rams in exchange for QB Jared Goff and a couple of draft picks.

⛳️Golf: Tiger Woods isn’t the only cheater on the PGA Tour (sorry, we had to): golf’s favorite villain, Patrick Reed, has been accused of yet another rule violation. During this weekend’s Farmers Insurance Open, Reed picked up his “embedded” ball to give himself a better lie when he clearly shouldn’t have (this guy with a great accent can explain). 

  • Despite the video evidence, Reed was allowed to continue play without being penalized and went on to win the tournament...but not before possibly tweeting from a burner account to defend himself. Who knew golf was so drama?
🏀🏅🏒

The GIST's Bits & Bites: Olympics, NWHL Bubble, James Harden, NWSL Challenge Cup

January 28, 2021
Source: The Hill/Twitter
Source: The Hill/Twitter

🥇Olympics: Will they or won’t they? That’s the big question still surrounding the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Last week, a report alleged that Japanese officials are coming to terms with a possible cancellation, but the IOC and the heads of the international sporting organizations have denied this.

  • Still, the Olympic and Paralympic organizers have a ton of prep work to do before welcoming over 15,000 international athletes, so they’re releasing a playbook next week to let the world know exactly how they plan to do that.
  • And if it all goes to sh!t, Florida is ready to step in and save the day (wish we were kidding).

🏒NWHL: Despite the off-ice situation going on with the league right now (listen to this week’s episode of The GIST of It for all the info), the NWHL’s bubble is producing some exciting hockey. 

  • The Minnesota Whitecaps remain undefeated after handing the Metropolitan Riveters their first loss in Tuesday’s battle of the best, while the Toronto Six won their first game in franchise history and added another last night. Check out the standings here ahead of Saturday’s final round robin games.

🏀NBA: Though the four-team blockbuster trade that saw James Harden leave Houston hasn’t been as successful for the Brooklyn Nets as they’d hoped, it was a literal lifesaver for Caris LeVert. The 26-year-old was traded from the Nets to the Indiana Pacers in the January 16th trade, pending a physical.

  • That physical included an MRI, which found a mass on LeVert’s kidney, and following successful surgery on Monday, it was confirmed that the tumor was kidney cancer. We’re happy to report that LeVert is expected to make a full recovery without any additional treatment.

⚽️NWSL: The Challenge Cup is returning for a second season, starting April 9th, but instead of it replacing the regular season like last year, it’ll complement the regular season, which begins May 15th and runs to October 30th. An extended postseason will start November 6th.

  • And if that weren’t enough to get you pumped, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd are all expected to return after sitting out last season. Is it April yet?

🏅The right stuff

March 26, 2020
The right stuff

The GIST: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the long-awaited and completely obvious decision to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics, originally set to start July 24th in Tokyo, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Weren’t they waiting until April to make a decision?: They were, for like a minute. On Sunday, the IOC said that it was giving itself until mid-April to decide whether they would postpone the Summer Games or leave them be (cancelation was not an option).

  • But a few hours later, the Canadian and Australian Olympic Committees said they wouldn’t be sending their athletes if the Games were held this summer, and with the fear that other countries would also pull out (Team USA announced they were leaning heavily towards doing so), the IOC made the decision to delay the Games on Tuesday.

So what now?: The IOC has a few more decisions to make. Along with the Tokyo Organizing Committee, they’ll have to set a new 2021 date for the Games and somehow make up the estimated $2 billion lost in this postponement. The 57% of athletes who have already qualified will get to keep their qualifications, but now the IOC will have to work with the sports’ governing bodies on new processes to fill the rest of the open spots.

  • For a deeper dive into the IOC’s decision, listen to this week’s episode of The GIST of It, our weekly podcast. We have your back...er, ears.