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BREAKING U.K. SPORTS NEWS: Russia was banned from Wimbledon. So how did a tennis player from Moscow end up in the women’s final?

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#AceBreakingNews – Elena Rybakina has made history as the first Kazakh player to reach a Wimbledon final, where she will face Ons Jabeur, the first Tunisian, Arab or African player to achieve the milestone.

Elena Rybakina clenches her fist and smiles.
Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina is through to the Wimbledon final, in a year when Russian players are banned.(Reuters: Toby Melville)none

But Rybakina’s rise casts a potentially awkward spotlight on the tennis tournament’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players.

Wimbledon took the controversial step of barring players from Russia and Belarus from competing this year due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February

That move was condemned by many in the sporting world — some argued sport and politics shouldn’t mix, while others said it unfairly punished young athletes who had nothing to do with Vladimir Putin’s actions. 

It meant that the men’s world number one, Daniil Medvedev, runner-up in the Australian Open in January, was automatically out of the grasscourt grand slam, which is often regarded as the most hallowed event on the tennis calendar. 

Belarusians Aryna Sabalenka, who made the semi-finals last year, and Victoria Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, were also banned.

In total, around 16 players from the men’s and women’s top 100 were blocked from competition.

One player found a loophole — former Russian Natela Dzalamidze switched her citizenship to Georgia just weeks before the tournament, in a bid to compete.

But now Rybakina, who was born and raised in Russia and reportedly still resides in Moscow, has advanced to the final, knocking out former world number one Simona Halep and Australian Ajla Tomljanović on her way. 

Kazakhstan’s ‘Rent a Russian’ campaign 

Rybakina represented Russia early in her career as a teenager, but made the switch to Kazakhstan in 2018, when she was 19 — long before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

She said pursuing her sporting career was difficult for her family financially, until the offer came from Kazakhstan.

A woman in white stretching for a tennis ball on a grass court at Wimbledon
Elena Rybakina was asked if she felt more Russian or Kazakh.(AP: Alberto Pezzali)none

“I changed my citizenship to Kazakhstan because they believed in me and they offered. I was not so good when they offered. So they believed in me and they’re helping me a lot,” she told WTA Insider in 2020.

She echoed that sentiment after her win over Tomljanović this week, and after her semi-final victory she was asked if she felt more Kazakh or Russian “in your heart”.

“I’m really happy representing Kazakhstan. They believed in me. There is no more question about how I feel,” she said.

Rybakina said she felt for the banned Russian and Belarusian players and she wanted peace for Ukraine.

“I just want the war to end as soon as possible. Peace, yeah,” she said.

Rybakina’s case also demonstrates the fluidity of nationality and the shifting nature of borders. 

A picture of the Kazakh flag with a yellow sun and eagle on a blue background
Many former Russian tennis players now play under Kazakhstan’s flag. (Flickr: SaraYeomans)none

Kazakhstan became an independent country in the early 1990s, seceding from the former Soviet Union.  

In recent years, the oil-rich nation has been on a mission to recruit Russian players to compete under the gold and cyan Kazakh flag. 

That initiative has been spearheaded by Kazakh billionaire Bulat Utemuratov, head of the country’s tennis federation, who is worth an estimated $3.6 billion, according to Forbes. 

Rybakina is hardly the first to make the switch, in what news agency AFP described as a “rent-a-Russian” phenomenon.

Players including Alexander Bublik, Mikhael Kukushkin, Dmitry Popko and Andrey Golubev — who were all born in Russia — are among those who have swapped their passports to Kazakhstan.

Sport as soft-power diplomacy

Catherine Ordway, sport integrity research lead at the University of Canberra, pointed out 23-year-old Rybakina had made the switch legitimately, years before the war in Ukraine and long before Wimbledon’s decision. 

She said players were representing themselves at Wimbledon, rather than their country, as they do in events like the Davis Cup. 

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, pictured with Ash Barty,
Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, pictured with Ash Barty, was unable to compete due to the blanket ban.  (Reuters: Sergio Perez)none

While some argue the ban could be seen as a blow to Russia due to “national pride” in sports, she thought that was “a long bow to draw”.

“I really think it’s unfair and disproportionate, because what does it achieve?” she said

“In the end, it’s preventing a young person, who has a very short window of time, to be able to compete at the highest levels. And this is their profession, this is their income.”

The men’s and women’s singles champions at Wimbledon will pocket $3.5 million each.

A woman in white hits a high back hand on a grass court.
Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur is set to make history in the women’s final.(AP: Alastair Grant)none

“It’s interesting to think about sportswashing and the power of sport from a soft-power diplomacy perspective,” Dr Ordway said. 

She said while there was an argument to be made about preventing oligarchs with dirty money, or human rights abusers from softening their reputation through sport, what had unfolded at Wimbledon was different. 

“What appears to be happening here is almost the opposite, where they’re criticising athletes simply because of their heritage and the country that they happen to be born in, which they have no control over,” she said.

“And they certainly have no control over dictators.”

Previous tennis tournaments have allowed Russian athletes to compete, but have removed the country’s name and flag from their entry.

Headshot of smiling Dr Catherine Ordway.
Dr Catherine Ordway says it’s disappointing the focus is on where Rybakina was born, rather than the quality of her tennis.(Supplied)none

Some athletes have been vocal in their opposition to the war, but at the same time, “many of these athletes are concerned for the safety of their family members that are back in Russia … who may well be targeted if they are too public in their criticism,” Dr Ordway said. 

“Sport and politics is always going to be heavily intertwined, and to expect otherwise is terribly naive.”

Dr Ordway said internationally there was criticism of some countries “buying” athletes, but there are often good reasons for people to move freely and become citizens of other nations. 

Ajla Tomljanović hits a bacll at Wimbledon
Ajla Tomljanović switched from representing Croatia to Australia.(AP: Alberto Pezzali)none

She pointed out Australia was very willing to accept elite athletes, including in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics, as well as tennis players more recently: Tomljanović switched from Croatia to Australia, and former Russian Daria Gavrilova also now plays for Australia. 

“Sport is supposed to be a place where we put our differences aside. And I think that this was a really lost opportunity by Wimbledon,” Dr Ordway said. 

Dr Ordway said it was disappointing to see the emphasis on Rybakina’s place of birth, rather than her sporting prowess.

“She seems to be an exemplary role model for for young women around the world. So why wouldn’t we celebrate that?” she said.

Play Video. Duration: 3 minutes 8 seconds
Wimbledon ban on athletes ‘a definite move into Cold War’ says Tracey Holmes.
#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: July.09: 2022: 

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BREAKING AFRICA: Greatest Cyclists Prepare for ‘ Long Distance Race ‘ pitting themselves against best in the world

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#AceBreakingNews – In the world of long-distance running, east Africans have long been the dominant force, and soon they may also be setting the pace in the whitest of elite sports: cycling.

This month, the Migration Gravel Race (MGR) brought together 100 of the world’s top cyclists in a four-day showdown on the rocky, red dirt roads of Kenya’s Maasai Mara.

With a third of the entrants from east Africa, it was a rare opportunity for the region’s riders to show they can rival the best according to The Guardian News by

“Cycling is a very Eurocentric sport,” says Mikel Delagrange, the prime mover behind the event. “In over 100 years of the world championship, only three athletes outside of Europe have ever won, and they came from the US and Australia.”

For 11 years, Delagrange, a human rights lawyer, worked mostly in central and east Africa, for the international criminal court in The Hague. He quit last year and now works with the UN in Palestine.

“The obstacle for east African riders is that they lack access to international competition,” he says. “You might be the best in your neighbourhood but you won’t progress if you’re only beating people in your neighbourhood.

“But if we send an east African to an international race, we’re spending an unbelievable amount of money on visas because everyone thinks they’re a migrant, then on flights, plus staying in Europe is prohibitively expensive for most.

“After a lot of consultation, we thought: instead of clawing at the door, why don’t we bring international competition here?”

Against a backdrop of acacias and euphorbia candelabra trees, amid the zebras, giraffes, impalas and wildebeest of the savannah, the four-day race takes riders along 650km of rough roads, climbing above 3,000 metres. Each day, before the course is cleared by Maasai motorcycle sweepers, dressed in their traditional red plaid blankets, a helicopter goes ahead to check for elephants and buffalo.

“What Mikel is doing is giving east African riders a home-based platform, not a European one,” says Kenyan cyclist David Kinjah. “They get a chance to compete against the best, in their country.”

This is special because now black people can see that we can be pros

Nancy Akinyi, Kenyan cyclist none

Organising a travelling band of 100 cyclists in a region that lacks infrastructure is a challenge. All the logistics, from security to cooking to building the campsites, is done with support from local Maasai.

Last year, Delagrange set up the Amani team – eight men and four women from the top cycling clubs in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. “Amani has changed my life, but not just mine,” says Suleiman Kangangi, 33, a Kenyan cyclist. “This is a big deal for east African riders. We selected the best for this race, and they know there’s something to aim for.”

Nancy Akinyi, 32, another Kenyan cyclist, says: “It’s not just about bringing these people here to compete, it’s to prepare these young riders for what could be their future if they excel. Thanks to Amani, we can send riders from east Africa and show we can do it. If you go to the world championship, you don’t see black people there.

“Amani is special because now black people can see that we can be pros. It’s unusual to see people from the northern part of Africa – I’m going to say black people – doing so well,” she says.

“It started here in east Africa, but now I get emails from women in Congo, Tanzania and even Lesotho who say they want to join the team.”

Non-African riders, who include big names such as Lachlan Morton from Australia, Italian cyclist Mattia de Marchi and Lael Wilcox from the US, paid €1,250 (£1,075) to enter, some of which goes towards funding the Amani team.

Everyone is racing for fun and glory; there is no prize money.

“The Europeans didn’t expect the African riders would be so tough to beat,” says Kinjah. “When we compete in Europe, everything is different: the food, the language, the roads. This affects your performance.”

The home advantage changes the odds. On the eve of the first stage, Delagrange thanks the non-Africans for coming, then adds: “Just for a change, you’re going to be the people who stand out and don’t speak the language.”

The fast-growing sport of gravel racing, essentially putting mountain bike tyres on high-end €10,000 road bikes, is more open and democratic than road racing. Like a marathon, anyone can line up with the best.

“What you have here – where you can sit around the campfire after a race and chat with people from all walks of life, make new friends and also hammer each other for five hours on the road every day – that doesn’t exist in the majority of races,” says Morton, who finished fifth overall, behind three Amani riders. “It’s an experience that’s so much more fulfilling. I’d come back in a heartbeat.

“In an event like this, the bullshit fades away. It’s like, here’s the start line, here’s the finish, go for it. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, we’re all going to sleep in tents and we’re all going to eat the same food, so let’s get on with it.”

Wilcox, who once rode 3,000km from her home in Anchorage, Alaska, to reach the start line of the 4,500km Tour de Canada, and then broke the women’s record by four days, is another fan: “It’s cool that there’s a really good women’s field here. They’ve put a lot of effort into inviting women and making them feel like they belong. It’s good to see.”

Juliet Elliott, a 44-year-old cycling pro, says: “A race like this, where we all race together but there are separate podiums, that’s pretty cool. If I’d had to do road races against guys, I probably wouldn’t have bothered, but gravel is more open. In these long-distance disciplines, women tend to do better.”

Delagrange says they had the good luck to be ready with a concrete proposal when the Black Lives Matter movement made some realise that “racial disparity is a thing, and continues to be”. There was some overdue reflection in cycling, he says, and many “were looking for a fig leaf to cover how white the sport is. We acted as a hub for corporations to know where to direct their resources.”

He believes the industry is beginning to understand that it’s not diverse enough to be considered an international sport. “Imagine if running was still just Roger Bannister. We aren’t pushing the limits of human capability. Without allowing the rest of the world to play this game, we still don’t know what can be done on a bike.”

The idea that east African cyclists can hold their own against the best was entirely vindicated. Amani’s John Kariyuki was the overall winner over the four stages. Two of his teammates, Jordan Schleck Ssekanwagi and Kangangi, came third and fourth. Fifteen of the top 20 finishers were Africans.

Distance rider Marin de Saint Exupéry, from Switzerland, says it’s the first time he’s raced against Africans. “I can’t keep up with this pace,” he says. “I was really attracted to the idea of this project, and met some of the team when they came to Switzerland last year. We shouldn’t need a project like this, but we do.”

Kinjah, 51, who finished 14th, believes many sporting projects in Africa fail because they have a European mentality and don’t understand the culture. “This project is different because they take the best from several countries,” he says. “They bring unity by putting these good riders in one team. Some of these guys have never been in the Maasai Mara or seen an elephant. Now they are having an adventure in their own country – and racing against the best in the world.”

Racial disparity is a thing, and continues to be. Imagine if running was still just Roger Bannister

Mikel Delagrange, race organisernone

“The scale is small,” Delagrange admits. “Right now, we have 12 athletes whose lives we’d like to improve through opportunities. We’re trying to make it easier for those outside east Africa to invest in great human beings. Maybe we will have those breakout athletes who will change the face of cycling. You’ve got to start somewhere.

“I think many Europeans still cling to a LiveAid mentality. People saw a bunch of things in the 80s, and they’re, like: OK, that’s what Africa is like. If you always see people in a disempowered position, it will reinforce your subconscious view of them. But when people come and meet athletes who kick their ass, they don’t see disempowered people, they see real competitors.

“Hopefully, after four days, they go home with a different view of what Africa is about.”

The Guardian

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: July.01: 2022:

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BREAKING U.S SPORTS NEWS: Deshaun Watson Settles 20 of the 24 Sexual Misconduct Cases Against Him

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#AceBreakingNews – The lawyer for the 24 women announced the agreements but did not disclose details. The plaintiffs had accused Watson of coercive behavior and sexual misconduct during massages.

Deshaun Watson practicing last week with the Cleveland Browns.
Deshaun Watson practicing last week with the Cleveland Browns.Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns quarterback, has reached settlements with 20 of the 24 women who have filed sexual misconduct lawsuits against him, the lawyer Tony Buzbee announced Tuesday morning. In a statement, Buzbee, who represents Watson’s accusers, said that the terms and amounts of the settlements were confidential and that those cases would be dismissed once finalized.

Reached by phone, Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said he had no comment but did not deny settlements had been reached.

The first public allegation against Watson of sexual misconduct during a massage appointment was made in March 2021, resulting in an avalanche of lawsuits filed by additional women. Buzbee said that Ashley Solis, who filed the initial lawsuit, was one of the four women who had not settled.

The claims against Watson involved massage appointments he had in 2020 and early 2021, when he played for the Houston Texans. He was traded to Cleveland in March after a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, declined to indict him on criminal charges. The Browns gave Watson an unprecedented, fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract.

But Watson has faced additional pressure in recent weeks, with two new women filing lawsuits against him. Buzbee also said that he planned to add the Texans as a defendant after a New York Times investigationshowed that the team provided the venue Watson used for some of the massage appointments and furnished him with a nondisclosure agreement. Buzbee said Tuesday that the Texans were not a party to the settlements.

Watson and his accusers had previously entered into settlement negotiations before the N.F.L. trade deadline last November. According to Hardin, one interested team, the Miami Dolphins, would not move forward with a potential trade until all the civil suits against Watson were resolved. In a recent court filing, Buzbee said that Watson’s representatives offered each woman $100,000 to settle but not all of the women agreed because of what he characterized as an “aggressive nondisclosure agreement.”

Asked in a news conference during Browns minicamp last week if he was open to settling the civil cases, Watson said he wanted to “clear my name and be able to let the facts and the legal procedures continue to play out.” He also said again that he had “never forced” anyone into sexual activity. Through his lawyers, Watson acknowledged having sexual contact with three of the women who sued him but claimed it was consensual and initiated by the women after the massage ended.

The settlements come as the N.F.L. is considering discipline for Watson under its personal conduct policy. League investigators spent four days interviewing Watson within the last five weeks, Hardin has said, which is generally one of the final steps in the process. The N.F.L. spokesman Brian McCarthy said that the settlements had “no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process.”Ashley Solis, at a news conference in April 2021, has not settled her lawsuit against Watson.Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle, via Associated Press

Buzbee referred to Solis as “one of the heroes of this story.” In her lawsuit, Solis said that Watson purposely touched her hand with his exposed and erect penis during a March 2020 massage appointment. Watson admitted in a deposition that Solis had become “teary-eyed,” and after he left, he apologized over text for her feeling “uncomfortable.” Solis reached out to industry colleagues as well as lawyers for advice on how to respond to what had happened, and in December 2020, she was connected with Buzbee’s law firm.

“Without Ashley Solis, the conduct experienced by these women would likely have continued unfettered,” Buzbee said in his statement. He added that he looks forward to trying the cases of Solis and the three other women who have not settled “in due course.”

The Times’s investigation showed that Watson engaged in more questionable behavior than was previously known, extending beyond the claims made by the 24 women who filed lawsuits: He booked appointments with at least 66 different women in the 17 months from fall 2019 through spring 2021. A few of these additional women, speaking publicly for the first time, described experiences that undercut Watson’s insistence that he was only seeking professional massage therapy.

The Times’s reporting also found that in the two months leading up to the Harris County grand jury’s considering of the cases against Watson, Hardin began a regular dialogue with Johna Stallings, the sex crimes prosecutor handling the investigation. In January, Stallings came to Hardin’s office for a meeting in which Hardin said he and his team “made a presentation reflecting the deposition testimony and evidence relating to each of the criminal complainants.”

New York Times

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: June.22:   2022: 

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BREAKING AUSTRALIA: FINA Upholds Ban on Transgender Athletes in Women’s Elite Swimming

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#AceBreakingNews – Cate Campbell uses speech to FINA to back restriction on transgender athletes in women’s elite swimming

Play Video. Duration: 2 minutes 27 seconds
FINA bans transgender participation in women’s elite swimming competitions.

Australian swimming champion Cate Campbell has addressed world swimming body FINA to offer her support for restricting transgender athletes from competing in elite women’s competitions.

FINA voted to restrict the participation of transgender athletes overnight, and to create a working group to establish an “open” category for those athletes, in some events, as part of its new policy.

Campbell — a four-time Olympic gold medallist — joined former American swimmer Summer Sanders in addressing FINA before the decision was made.

The 30-year-old said she had made the difficult decision to support the restriction, while still encouraging transgender athletes to be a part of the swimming community.

“We see you, value you and accept you,” Campbell said.

“My role, however, is also to stand up here, having asked our world governing body, FINA, to investigate, deliberate and uphold the cornerstone of fairness in elite women’s competition.

“And it pains me — that this part of my role — may injure, infuriate and, potentially, alienate people from an already marginalised [transgender] community.

“Believe me, I have wrestled long and hard with myself, with what to say and do. I am aware that my actions and words, no matter what I say, will anger some people — whether they are from the [transgender] community or from the cisgender female community.”

Cate Campbell of Australia reacts after a preliminary heat of the women's 100m freestyle at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Australian swimmer Cate Campbell has told FINA she supports a restriction on transgender athletes, while also talking about the importance of inclusion.(Reuters: Dominic Ebenbichler)none

Campbell — who moved to Australia from Malawi in 2001 as a nine-year-old — said she understood the importance that sport played in inclusion, but said fairness was a “cornerstone” of professional competition.

“If inclusion is one of the cornerstones of sport, then the other would be fairness, fairness in regards to competition, especially elite, professional competition,” she said.

“The incongruity that inclusion and fairness cannot always work together is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to talk about this topic.

“Usually, they are terms of absolutes which work together, yet science now tells us that, in this issue, they are incompatible.”

Fellow Australian swimmer Maddie Groves was critical of Campbell’s comments, and asked if she was “okay with ostracising an already maligned group”.

“There are already gender diverse people in swimming and I’m guessing they’re not feeling very accepted [right now],” Groves said on Twitter.

“Shame on everyone that supported this discriminatory and unscientific decision.”

FINA’s decision — which is the strictest ruling from an Olympic sports body — states that male-to-female transgender athletes are eligible to compete, only if “they can establish to FINA’s comfortable satisfaction that they have not experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 [of puberty] or before age 12, whichever is later”.

The policy was passed with a roughly 71 per cent majority after it was put to the members of 152 national federations with voting rights who had gathered for the congress at the Puskás Aréna in Budapest.

Cate Campbell’s full speech to FINA

In 2001 my family and I relocated from the small African country Malawi to Brisbane, Australia. A family of soon-to-be seven, we knew no-one and knew nothing about the city we would be calling home.

Almost as soon as we had landed, my parents started looking for ways to integrate us into the Australian community. And that is how, at the age of nine — much to my consternation, for I had been enjoying the warmth of my bed — I found myself being taken to my first swimming club.

It was there, in the bustling suburbs of Brisbane, that a shy, tall, freckly girl, with a strange South African accent and absolutely no fashion sense, found her place. A community to be a part of. People to help me understand the subtle nuances of talking “Australian” — that, when my coach said, “See you this arvo” he meant “See you this afternoon”. I felt included, valued, seen for who I was, and accepted for it.

Inclusion. This, I think, is one of the core principles underpinning sport — and is one of the gifts sports gives society. It creates a community, drawing people together, irrespective of background, race or religion, while also fighting the growing obesity and mental health epidemics.

In Australia, it is estimated that 40 per cent or 11.1 million people aged over 15 participate in some type of community sport, while 62 per cent of children aged under 15 participate in community sport at least once per week. I am sure these numbers could be taken and extrapolated to many countries around the world.

If inclusion is one of the cornerstones of sport, then the other would be fairness, fairness in regards to competition, especially elite, professional competition.

Unlike in community or amateur sport, in elite sport, winning and losing goes hand in hand with politics, money and power.

Creating a place where men and women can come up against the best of their contemporaries and battle it out — down to 100ths and 10ths of a second. This battle, this standing up and comparing of wills and physique is what draws people to watch sport — to see who can squeeze the very last ounce out of their bodies and minds and emerge victorious. Without fair competition, sport in its elite sense, would cease to exist.

Usually, inclusion and fairness go hand in hand. To create a place that is inclusive, is to create a space that is fair. Transgender, gender-diverse and non-binary athletes’ inclusion in the female category of elite sport, is one of the few occasions where these two principles come into conflict.

The incongruity that inclusion and fairness cannot always work together is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to talk about this topic.

Usually, they are terms of absolutes which work together, yet science now tells us, that in this issue, they are incompatible.

I stand before you, as a four-time Olympian, a world champion and a world record holder. I stand before you, as a beneficiary of fair, elite competition. Yet my job today is not to explain the nuances of FINA’s transgender policy. Nor is it to defend the conclusions reached by medical and legal professionals of much greater intellect than mine.

My role is to stand before you, as an athlete who has enjoyed many, many years in this sport and who hopes to continue to enjoy a few more years. To stand here and tell the transgender and gender-diverse community that we want you to be part of the broader swimming community.

We see you, value you and accept you. My role, however, is also to stand up here, having asked our world governing body, FINA, to investigate, deliberate and uphold the cornerstone of fairness in elite women’s competition.

And it pains me, that this part of my role may injure, infuriate and, potentially, alienate people from an already marginalised [transgender] community.

Believe me, I have wrestled long and hard with myself, with what to say and do. I am aware that my actions and words, no matter what I say, will anger some people — whether they are from the [transgender] community or from the cisgender female community.

However, I am asking everyone to take a breath, to absorb before reacting. Listen to the science and experts. Listen to the people who stand up here and tell you how difficult it has been to reconcile inclusion and fairness.

That men and women are physiologically different cannot be disputed. We are only now beginning to explore and understand the origins of these physiological differences and the lasting effects of exposure to differing hormones. Women, who have fought long and hard to be included and seen as equals in sport, can only do so because of the gender category distinction. To remove that distinction would be to the detriment of female athletes everywhere.

The creation of this policy did not stem from “feelings”, what we “felt” was the right thing to do. The policy was created with the inclusion of medical professionals, legal professionals, athletes, coaches and people from the transgender community. It is a policy that pays attention to inclusion, but prioritises fairness.

Ultimately, this not about winners and losers, it is about investigating and developing a policy which accurately represents the science and draws a line to protect the fairness of the female category distinction in elite sport.

Not community sport, not amateur sport — elite, professional sport. I want the broader swimming community to be a place of safety and acceptance for the gender-diverse — and I call on all the federations sitting within this room to examine your own policies to ensure the world of swimming remains inclusive.

It is my hope that young girls all around the world can continue to dream of becoming Olympic and World Champions in a female category prioritising the competitive cornerstone of fairness.

However, it is also my hope that a young gender-diverse child can walk into a swimming club and feel the same level of acceptance that a nine-year-old immigrant kid from Africa did all those years ago.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: June.20: 2022: 

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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Ace Breaking News

BREAKING: St. Petersburg could lose the rights to host this year’s UEFA over Ukraine

This is our daily list of post that is shared across Twitter & Telegram and on here on My.Daz.blog

‘Ace News Room With Kindness & Love❤️❤️’ , Feb.22, 2022 @AceDailyNews #

This just in from the cutting room floor 22/02/2022: 

#AceBreakingNews says according to Euronews Britain’s Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries, said she has “serious concerns about the sporting events due to be held in Russia, such as the Champions League final, and will discuss with the relevant bodies.”

“Officials from European football’s governing body have been holding discussions about the situation after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine on Monday, and the European Union, USA, Britain and Canada all announced new sanctions in response.”

However, a person with knowledge of the situation said the Ukraine crisis was discussed by top-level officials at UEFA on Tuesday, including its president, Aleksander Ceferin. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss talks assessing the geopolitical situation.

#AceNewsDesk report …..Published: Feb.22: 2022:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts from Twitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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World History & Research Reports

HISTORY: How ABC and the “Miracle on Ice” shaped Olympic television coverage

The 1980 Lake Placid games changed everything. In the lead-up to the Games, the preview issue of Sports Illustrated had a vastly different look, starting with the striking cover photo: speedskater Eric Heiden in his gold racing suit.

True to the magazine’s prediction, Heiden completed a historic sweep of all five speedskating events. Ratings for ABC’s prime-time broadcasts spiked on days Heiden raced. By the second week, average viewership was well ahead of the 1976 Winter Games. On the best nights, ratings were comparable to the Montreal and Munich Summer Olympics.

Here is a taste of Bruce Berglund‘s fascinating piece at The Washington Post:

Meanwhile, the hockey team moved through the tournament without a loss, setting up their medal-round showdown against the Soviets on Friday, Feb. 22. With the game scheduled for 5 p.m. Eastern time, ABC appealed to Soviet hockey officials to move the start time back, so the game could be shown live during prime time. But the Soviets refused, since people back home would have to watch in the middle of the night.

Thanks to the Americans’ shocking upset, even the tape-delayed broadcast of the game drew big numbers: 34.2 million average viewers. Two days later, on Sunday afternoon, the gold medal game drew 32.8 million average viewers. Hockey sealed a win for ABC. The two weeks of prime-time broadcasts had an average rating of 23.6, still the second-highest rated Winter Olympics of all time, surpassed only by the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding circus that tore apart the U.S. women’s figure-skating team and dominated coverage of the Lillehammer Games in 1994.

Arledge recognized that the value of the hockey team’s stunning win went beyond ratings. Just before the start of the Lake Placid Games, the network had secured rights for the next Winter Olympics. But when the contract for the Lake Placid Games expired, rights to footage from those Olympics reverted to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Looking to change this arrangement, Arledge finalized a new deal later that spring: ABC would pay $91.5 million not only for broadcast rights to the 1984 Winter Games but also for exclusive control over footage from all previous Olympics. The new contract ensured that ABC would get paid any time we saw the U.S. hockey team celebrating in 1980 as broadcaster Al Michaels shouted, “Do you believe in miracles?”

Arledge not only wanted to secure ABC’s control over the 1980 miracle but also make sure the network would be home to future miracles. Weeks before the start of the 1984 Games in Sarajevo, ABC held off the other two networks for rights to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Five rounds of bidding drove up the price to $309 million — a seismic increase from the $15.5 million ABC had paid to broadcast the Lake Placid Games.

Media hype surrounding the 1984 U.S. Olympic hockey team deflated quickly when early losses knocked the squad from medal contention. ABC ended up having to reimburse advertisers who had paid rates based on projections of Lake Placid-sized numbers. Members of the IOC, meanwhile, congratulated themselves on having locked up the huge contract for Calgary, before the ratings flop in Sarajevo dropped bids from the American networks.

Four years later, the U.S. hockey team got off to a better start in Calgary, yet still missed the medal round. Viewers noticed a change in ABC’s coverage that year. Announcers referred to the hockey team as “we” and “us.” New studio host Kathie Lee Gifford called the players “our boys.” Even Jim McKay got in on the cheerleading, stoking viewers’ expectations with references back to the victory at Lake Placid. Gone was the more educational model of “Wide World of Sports.” Instead, ABC primed viewers to root for their team. Arledge shrugged off complaints about the slanted coverage. “You don’t want boosterism,” he admitted, “but on the other hand you’re showing a pleasant event to people.”

The 1988 Winter Games ended a quarter-century of ABC airing the Olympics, but the network had left its mark by creating the template for what the Games would now look like on television. ABC pioneered the athlete profiles, travelogue sketches and edited presentations of events that we still see on NBC’s prime-time broadcasts, even though all events are streamed live. The coverage of the Beijing Games also centers on the American quest for gold. Beginning with Lake Placid, ABC recognized that American viewers turned on the Winter Olympics to watch American athletes win.

John Fea | February 9, 2022:

Read the entire piece here.

#AceHistoryDesk report ………..Published: Feb.11: 2022:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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Ace Daily News

(TOKYO) Rugby WorldCup Report Australia and New Zealand have pulled out of the because of “player welfare and safety concerns” related to #COVID19 and ARLC/NZRL ask to postpone until 2022 #AceSportsDesk report

#AceSportsReport – July.23: The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) have asked organisers if it can be rescheduled for 2022….

#CoronavirusNewsDesk says Rugby League World Cup: Australia & New Zealand pull out of tournament with about half of Australia’s population has been placed back into lockdown following a spike in #COVID19 cases, with stay-at-home orders now in place in South Australia, Victoria and parts of New South Wales.

Australia players celebrate with the trophy after winning the 2017 men's Rugby League World Cup
BBC SPORTS REPORT:

The men’s, women’s and wheelchair events are scheduled to take place in England this autumn.

NZRL chief Greg Peters said it was “simply too unsafe” to take part.

“The safety and wellbeing of our people is the main priority, and unfortunately, that cannot be guaranteed to our satisfaction.

“There are stark differences between how the pandemic is being managed in the UK compared to Australasia, and recent developments have highlighted how quickly things can change.

“The tournament organisers have moved heaven and earth to make this work, so it is not an easy decision, but the Covid-19 situation in the UK shows no sign of improving, and it’s simply too unsafe to send teams and staff over.” 

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys added: “Not participating in this year’s World Cup is not a decision the commission has taken lightly, but we must put the best interests of our players and officials first. Protecting them is our absolute priority: In the current environment, the risks to the safety, health and wellbeing of the players and officials travelling from Australia to participate in the tournament this year are insurmountable; We have again requested the IRL and Rugby League World Cup consider postponing the event until 2022 to enable all players to participate: That is in sharp contrast to England, with the majority of coronavirus restrictions now lifted.

Rugby League Australia beat England in Brisbane to win the 2017 men’s Rugby League World Cup as organisers only confirmed that the tournament would go ahead earlier this month, although Australia, the holders and 11-time winners, did not sign the participation agreement.

One of the issues previously raised is Covid-19 regulations and quarantine rules for players and staff travelling back to Australia and New Zealand.

Australia’s borders are currently closed, so anyone returning has to spend 14 days in government-managed quarantine.

There are reports that Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) teams want the tournament postponed to next year because those regulations mean players would only return to their clubs two weeks before trial games for the 2022 NRL season begin.

Rugby league officials estimate around 400-500 players, staff and team officials from NRL sides, representing several different countries, would be involved in the World Cup.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Rugby League podcast earlier this month RLWC2021 chief executive Jon Dutton said he was “respectful” of the challenges currently facing Australia and the NRL but was “incredibly confident” they would sign the participation agreement.

He added that cancellation and postponement to 2022 were options but the latter was “significantly unpalatable” with the men’s football World Cup, the women’s European Championships and the Commonwealth Games taking place next year.

A statement from the tournament organisers read: “RLWC2021 note the disappointing statement made by the ARLC and NZRL which may have wide ranging implications for international Rugby League. 

“RLWC2021 were informed at very short notice and will continue discussions with all stakeholders to agree on the best way forward. A further statement will be made in due course.”

More to follow.

#AceSportsDesk report …….Published: July.23: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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Ace Daily News

(LONDON) JUST IN: AUSTRALIA WINS WIMBLEDON: Women’s Final Winner Ashleigh Barty has WON ladies’ singles title with a 6-3, 6-7 (7/4), 6-3 victory over eighth-seeded Czech Karolína Plíšková today Saturday #AceSportsDesk report

#AceSportsReport – July.11: And when Plíšková hit a backhand into the net emotion overcame the usually unflappable Australian: When asked about her relationship with Goolagong Cawley, Barty, holding the trophy was onb the verge of tears.

#AceDailyNews says the childhood dream has come true for Australia’s Ash Barty, who claimed her maiden Wimbledon ladies’ singles title with a 6-3, 6-7 (7/4), 6-3 victory over eighth-seeded Czech Karolína Plíšková and the 25-year-old world number one became the first Australian woman to lift the Venus Rosewater dish since fellow Indigenous tennis star Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980.

Kindness & LoveX❤️ says well done Australia 🇦🇺 and Congrats Ash Barty

A young woman in white holds a plate trophy above her head on a grass court with people clapping behind.
Barty is the first Australian woman to win the Wimbledon singles title in 41 years.(Reuters: Paul Childs)

“I just hope I made Evonne proud,” Barty said.

Not only was that an almost certainty but Barty did her country proud as she showed nerves of steel and tenacity similar to another Australian great, Lleyton Hewitt, 19 years after he became the last Australian to win the gentlemens’ singles title in 2002.

“This is incredible,” Barty said of her victory.

“‘Kyah,’ (Plíšková) congratulations on a fantastic tournament, I love testing myself against you and I’m sure we will play many, many more matches. 

“‘Kyah’ is an incredible competitor, she brought out the very best in me today. It was an exceptional match right from the start.”

Plíšková, who had been cheered heavily by the crowd during the match also felt the emotion of the moment, after once again losing a grand slam final — the other the 2016 US Open, also in three sets to Angelique Kerber.

“Thank you so much, I enjoy every minute to play on this court,” said Plíšková as tears welled in her eyes.

“I never cry, never,” she added, before congratulating Barty.

“I think Ash played an incredible tournament and an incredible match today.”

For Barty, her second grand slam title arrived a little over two years since her first, when she triumphed at the French Open.

And while she won that final in a 6-1, 6-3 romp over another Czech, Marketa Vondrousova, this one was not so easy despite how it started out.

14 straight points won to start

Barty raced to a lead unlike many seen in a grand slam final as she took the first 14 points over a clearly tense Plíšková.

The Czech, despite a wealth of big match experience, could barely seem to lift her arm to serve, almost as if she was paralysed with fear, and her usually free-swinging groundstrokes were anything but, her arms stiff and her shots lacking pace as Barty raced to a 4-0 lead.

It was one she would not give up, despite giving back one break to Plíšková, who was starting to find her range, but Barty held on to take the set 6-3.

If that was a great omen, so was the fact that no women’s player had come from a set down to win a final at The All England Club since Amelie Mauresmo did so in 2006.

When Barty broke Plíšková again, this time to love to take a 2-1 lead in the second set, it seemed that the Barty Party was getting set to really kick off.

Plíšková though, would not go away.

She hit Barty with a dose of her own medicine to break to love and level the second set at 3 games all.

Massive momentum swings late in match

While the serve of both players had been anything but dominant till that stage, it suddenly was and Plíšková had a 40-0 lead while serving to go up 6-5.

A second set tie-break was looking likely until Barty rattled off five straight points and broke to serve for the match.

She got tight though and unforced errors flowed as Plíšková sent the second set into a tie-break she would win 7-4 with two net cords gifting her two points.

The momentum of the match had shifted yet again and heading into the third set it seemed Plíšková might end Barty’s hopes of following in Goolagong Cawley’s footsteps.

But ‘Aussie Ash’ was not to be denied and started the set by holding serve then breaking Plíšková with ease — before long it was 3-0 Barty.

Service holds were then traded and twice the Australian got within two points of the match before Plíšková held to make it 5-3 to the Aussie.

Serving it out again proved difficult as Plíšková got a break back point but she pushed a backhand wide before Barty steeled herself and served her way to her first Wimbledon title.

Asked whether she ever wavered in the face of the Plíšková onslaught, Barty said she had no option but to keep fighting and was especially proud she was able to do so against the Czech powerhouse, who despite her sluggish start still hit 27 winners to Barty’s 30 and only made three more unforced errors.

“I knew I had to bring my very best level and I was really proud of myself the way I was able to reset and just keep going, keep chipping away at the start of that third set and held my nerve there in the end,” Barty said, before adding she could not really remember championship point.

There will be plenty of time to watch the replay though, which included a Pat Cash-esque climb into the stands to celebrate with her team as her long-held dream came true.

“It took me a long time to verbalise the fact that I wanted to dare to dream and say I wanted to win this incredible tournament,” Barty said.

“And being able to live out my dream right now with everyone here, this has made it better than I could have imagined.

“My team is incredible, they are with me every single step of the way. I can’t thank them enough for sacrificing their time and energy into my career and into my dreams.”

As for when the actual Barty Party would take place, the Queenslander said there would likely be one when she gets home to Australia to see her family.

“I know they’re at home watching,” she said.

“I miss them and I love them.

“I’m so glad that they were able to at least watch and share this with me, but I can’t wait to get home to them in a few month’s time and really celebrate.”

#AceSportsDesk report ……Published: July.11: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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Ace Daily News

(AUSTRALIA) #Brisbane2032 Olympics Report: Has submitted its final bid documents to the (IOC) Future Host Commission and on Friday will present its plans to the influential ASOIF Council, a select group representing the international governing bodies of all Olympic summer sports #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May. 27: The IOC is expected to announce Brisbane as 2032 host at its session in Tokyo on July 20and 21, on the eve of the games:

AUSTRALIAN NEWS: #Brisbane2032 Olympic Games may see a sports funding revolution: Since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, relations between the Australian Olympic Committee and the Australian Sports Commission have slowly deteriorated, reaching a low point in 2017.

Key points:

  • Brisbane is expected to be confirmed in July as the host of the 2032 Olympics
  • The AOC and CGA are going to government to put forward a new funding model for sport in Australia
  • They say they are doing so with a view to helping make Australian kids healthier

In concert with the countdown to the Olympic vote, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) have written to the federal government calling for a “fundamentally new investment model” for sport and the need to “transform the industry’s relationship with government”.

It is a thinly-veiled swipe at the current model administered by the Australian Sports Commission, the government agency responsible for supporting and investing in sport, with oversight of Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport.

The AOC and CGA have requested a meeting with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to discuss their proposed involvement in shaping the government’s 2021 Intergenerational Report due out in June.

A letter seen by The Ticket, and signed by the CEOs of both the AOC and CGA, Matt Carroll and Craig Phillips, says, in part:

“Historically, the AOC, CGA and our collective Member Sports have not made a submission or provided any input to the government’s deliberative process in calibrating its economic and policy responses to the intergenerational challenges faced by the nation.

A man poses for a photo in front of the "Brisbane" sign in front of a hazy Brisbane skyline.
With one eye on Brisbane 2032 the AOC and CGA will take their plan to the federal government.(ABC News: Nick Wiggins)

“The AOC and CGA view this omission as a serious failing on our part.”

Attached to the letter is a 57-page submission titled, Sport — Powering Australia’s Future (10+10) detailing a holistic sports plan building towards 2032 with an eye also to the decade beyond.

“The AOC, CGA and Member Sports acknowledge and welcome the investment that the government has made in additional program funding to Sport Australia/AIS,” the report says. 

“However, this program investment approach rather than holistic direct grants to sports, creates winners and losers and does not promote the building of the capability and capacity of the individual sports.”

Obesity, mental health, education, and nation-building are listed as areas where sport can contribute to government policies, as well as aiding in the nation’s COVID-19 recovery. 

While sometimes personal, most of the disagreements have been philosophical.

How government funding is dispersed, and how results are measured, have left some sports bodies struggling to remain solvent, while those already well-funded and successful have become more so.

Not just about the money

Now the AOC, with the support of CGA, wants a bigger say.

Said Matt Carroll, CEO of the AOC: “Between the two organisations we represent more than 13 million Australians who participate in sport, basically half the population of the country.

“That obviously has an important social role, an important economic role, and so we should be putting a submission into the intergenerational report.

Children line up for running race on an oval at a school cross-country carnival.
Matt Carroll says 10 years gives Australia enough time to increase children’s participation in sport.(Supplied: John XXIII College)

“Like in sport, it’s all about the right timing, and this is absolutely the right timing because the opportunity to get 2032 gives us a 10-year runway… the following 10 years is an opportunity for the country to benefit from an investment in sport.

“It’s not just about sport putting its hand up for money, no, it’s all about how we can help with the obesity issue, how we can help with education, how we can help with participation and, yes, how we can help with performance in the case of the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.”

Asked whether the report was stepping into the Australian Sports Commission’s turf, Carroll said: “Look… is it taking over from the Sports Commission? No.

“We’ve said in the report we need to work with the Sports Commission… but that is a government agency, we are independent.

“We are representing our 46 member sports, and their needs, but also more importantly how we can bring the power of the sports industry to the benefit of the country.

“There are roles for sport in mental health, in infrastructure, and because of sports major events we can play a role in tourism and jobs… it is the social importance sport provides and the economic benefits as well. 

“We can spell that out better because we are independent.

“We should have been doing more of this advocacy in the past.”

The AOC often points out it receives no government funding.

That is a fact, made possible by a deal done with the NSW government at the time Sydney was preparing to host the 2000 Olympics.

Then NSW Olympic minister Michael Knight agreed to pay the AOC $100 million in exchange for veto rights on the board of the organising committee and games profits.

Eight-year-olds today, Olympians tomorrow

It was seen as a masterstroke by AOC president John Coates, enabling the committee to fund all future Olympic teams from profits stemming from its investment and freeing it of the need to rely on government funding.

Asked whether a similar deal will be sought ahead of the Brisbane 2032 games, Carroll said: ‘No, it is not about that at all… that can’t happen again.

“That was a one-off thing back in 2000.

“The foundation that was set up, the legacy of the 2000 Games, has enabled the AOC not to require any assistance.

“Currently we are in a pandemic and the bill for the Tokyo team is up close to $22 million.

“We are not asking for any public support, or government support for that. We work with our sponsors, our commercial program and the foundation provides a revenue stream to the AOC to do those things.

“What we are saying is, if you really want the games to be successful, but more importantly get all the opportunities between now and the games, the eight-year-olds today are your Olympians in 2032.

“All those eight-year-olds are not going to become Olympians, but if they get a better health outcome, a better mental health outcome, we drive obesity down… you need those galvanising moments, and the Olympic Games are very useful for that along with the other international events we can have in the next 10 years.”

The submission doesn’t nominate a figure for government funding but suggests “having a conversation” around the four recommendations contained in the report and “how that investment is managed”.

“We think we can do it better than the way it is currently being managed,” Carroll said.

#AceNewsDesk report …………Published: May.27: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com