In a breaking news story, the 2022 Asian Games, which will serve as a qualifying competition for a number of Olympic sports, has been postponed indefinitely, according to reports from the People's Republic of China.
The event, to be held in Hangzhou in China's Zhejiang Province, was set to take place from 10 to 25 September 2022, with preliminary events taking place from 6 to 9 September in Basketball, Football, Modern Pentathlon and Rowing.
No information has been posted yet on either the website of the Olympic Council of Asia, who runs the event, nor Hangzhou 2022, but considering the media situation in China, it is difficult to imagine that this news was posted without official approval.
The situation is the same for the 2022 Asian Para Games, to be held in the same city, from 9 to 15 October 2022.
No reason has been given for the postponement, but with COVID-19 cases rising within China and the country's government pursuing a strict lockdown amidst a "zero-COVID" policy, it is speculated that it is in connection with this.
The Asian Games is a qualifying event for a number of sports for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, including Archery and Hockey. Officials in the IOC and amidst governing bodies will be scrambling to modify their schedules.
This also raises serious doubts about the 2021 Summer World University Games, to be held in Chengdu, also in China. The event, already postponed once from 16-27 August 2021 to 26 June-7 July 2022, could also be on the chopping block. With hosting rights for the next event in 2023 being stripped from Yekaterinburg of the Russian Federation due to that country's invasion of Ukraine, speculation has risen that Chengdu 2021 will be delayed again until 2023, and the event originally in Yekaterinburg will be cancelled altogether, before normal service is resumed in 2025. The 2021 Asian Youth Games in Shantou, delayed once already from September 2021 to December 2022, will also be under threat.
On 1 April, the schedule for Paris 2024 has been released, and with just over two years until the Games to go, there has been plenty of time to dissect it and look at some key dates. Remember, all times given are Paris time (UTC +2). The Games takes place over nineteen days. The day of the opening ceremony ("Day 0") is 26 July 2024, with some preliminary action starting in the two days before that, and then events taking place up until Day 16 (11 August), with the closing ceremony taking place once all the sport has finished.
In 2020, Softball and Football were the only sports to begin before the day of the Opening Ceremony. Softball is of course not in Paris 2024, but Football retains that status, with two games in every stadium before the games begin: one game on Day -2 and one game on Day -1 for every stadium, except for the Parc des Princes in Paris, where two games will be on Day -2. The finals will be on Day 14 and Day 15 once again, both at the Parc des Princes. Kick-off times vary from 15:00 at the earliest to 21:00 at the latest, with the finals at 18:00 and 18:30 respectively. Another sport to begin before the Opening Ceremony is Rugby Sevens, which has action on both Day -2 and Day -1, with the Finals on Day 1 and Day 4: the final sessions will begin at 14:30.Tthe sport being earlier in the Games is because the sport is sharing the Stade de France with Athletics, which will have consecutive days of action from Day 7 to Day 15, with morning sessions (10:00-13:00) every day from Day 7 to Day 14: all medals will be handed out in the evenings (19:00-22:00). The Marathons, from the Hôtel de Ville to Invalides will be on Day 15 and Day 16, both beginning at 08:00, while the Race Walks on Pont d'Iéna will begin at 07:30 on Day 6 and Day 12: likely meaning the men's and women's events will be on the same day leaving the other one free for the new mixed relay.
Handball at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium also begins before the Opening Ceremony and will be the first sport to begin, with action on both Days -2 and -1. It is also the only sport to take place on Day 0, with a session beginning at 09:00. It started after the Ceremony in Tokyo, but Handball does have a packed programme, with four two-hour sessions on some days. The finals are on Days 13 and 14, with the bronze matches from 16:30 and the gold matches from 21:00, a change from Tokyo where the final event was on the final day. Finally, the beginning of the Archery at Invalides is now on Day -1 instead of Day 0. Archery will resume on Day 2, with constant action until Day 9. The finals are on Days 2, 3, and 7 at 14:15 and Days 8 and 9 at 13:00.
Beach Volleyball at the Eiffel Tower Stadium will be a constant, beginning at 10:00 on Day 1 and not finishing until Day 15, with action every day in between. The finals are at 21:00 on Day 14 and Day 15. Judo will also begin on Day 1 at the Champs de Mars Arena, with morning sessions mostly starting at 10:00, and the evening sessions were medals are handed out beginning at 16:00. This will last until Day 8, and Wrestling will take over the arena on Day 10, with morning and evening sessions. On Day 11, the medals will be handed out on on sessions beginning at 18:15, with this being the case for every day until Day 16, the day of the opening ceremony, where the session takes place at 11:00.
Fencing is another sport to start with medals from Day 1 at the Grand Palais. There will be morning and evening sessions every day until Day 9, with the medals all handed out in the evening: sessions start from 19:00 to 19:30. On Day 12, Taekwondo will start in the same place, with three sessions per day for four days: the medals all handed out in the evening again, in sessions touted to last from 19:30 to 23:00. This is a change from Tokyo, where Taekwondo was in the first four days.
In Road Cycling, the Time Trial from Invalides to Pont Alexandre III will be on Day 1, beginning at 14:30. The Road Races from Pont d'Iéna will take place on Day 8 and Day 9 (the 'middle weekend'), with the men's event on Saturday starting at 11:00 and the women's event at 14:00 on the Sunday. It seems there is a lot of emphasis on popular events taking place on these two days, which could explain the switch: in 2020 the road race was before the time trial.
Skateboarding street events will take place on the first two days at La Concorde, which is the home of urban sports during the Games, with the early session from 12:00 and the evening one from 17:00 where medals are won. Park events are on Day 11 and Day 12, with all start times thirty minutes earlier than the street counterpart. BMX Freestyle events will also happen here, with a session on Day 4 and the medal session on Day 5 both starting at 14:00. Breaking, an all new sport, will take place on Days 14 and 15, with sessions at 16:00 and 20:00, the latter of which will see medals handed out. Basketball 3x3 is the most packed sport to happen at this venue, with action beginning on Day 4 and going non-stop until Day 10 with medals handed out in the final session beginning at 21:00.
Tennis will take place at the famous Roland Garros, with all medals handed out on the P. Chatrier court. It will begin on Day 1 at 12:00, with the first medal handed out on Day 7 in a session starting at 19:00, but most handed out on the middle weekend again, with medals sessions on both days starting at 12:00. Boxing will also take place on the Suzanne Lenglen court, with action starting on Day 1 at 19:30 and preliminary sessions on Days 2 to 9 beginning at 10:30 and 19:30. After a break on Day 10, medals will be handed out on sessions on Days 11 to 15 starting at 20:00.
Volleyball will once again be in action every day the flame is lit, starting at South Paris Arena on Day 1. The bronze matches will be on Day 14 at 17:00 and Day 15 at 13:00, with the finals on Day 15 at 17:00 and Day 16 at 13:00. Table Tennis takes place on every day from Day 1 to Day 15 this time, with medals handed out in sessions starting at 13:30 on Days 4, 8, and 9, and sessions starting at 15:00 on Days 14 and 15. Weightlifting has been compressed into the final five days of the Games, with medals being earned in every session: starting at 15:00 and 19:30 on the first three days, at 11:30, 16:00 and 20:30 on Day 15 and just the 11:30 session on Day 16.
Artistic Gymnastics preliminaries at the Bercy Arena will take place on Days 1 and 2, with finals from Days 3 to 5 at 17:30, on Day 6 at 18:00, on Day 8 at 15:30, Day 9 at 15:00, and Day 10 at 13:00. The one-day gap is because Trampoline Gymnastics will have both medals on one day, with sessions at 12:00 and 18:00. The other event to take place at the arena will be Basketball. This starts at a location tbc with four preliminary games (the first starting at 11:00) each day from Day 1 to Day 9, with the final phase starting on Day 11. The finals will be on Day 15, with a bronze match at 18:00 and the final at 21:30, and on Day 16, with a bronze match at 10:30 and the final at 14:00.
Badminton is the very first sport to start on Day 1 with action from Porte de La Chapelle Arena starting at 08:30. The finals start from 15:00 from Days 7 to 9, with two finals sessions on Day 10 starting at 09:45 and 14:30. Rhythmic Gymnastics also takes place here, starting on Day 13 and with finals sessions being on Day 14 at 14:30 and Day 15 at 14:00: this is a day earlier than 2020.
Swimming will begin from Paris La Defense Arena on Day 1 with a uniform schedule from Day 1 to Day 8 with a preliminary session at 11:00 and a final session at 20:30, and then on Day 9 just a final session beginning at 18:30. This means that on Day 7 to Day 9, the Athletics and Swimming finals will clash, which will be disappointing to many. Water Polo will begin at the Aquatics Centre on Day 1 and go on every day there until Day 9, before moving to the Paris La Defense Arena, now vacated of swimmers, on Day 10. The medal matches will take place at 09:00 (bronze) and 14:00 (gold) on the final two days: water polo will therefore once again be the final event to end. Diving will also take place at the Aquatics Centre, with finals slipped in where gaps on the Water Polo schedule exist on Days 1, 3, 5, and 7 at 11:00 (likely the synchronised events) before action properly resumes on Day 10, with finals on Days 11, 13, 14 and 15 beginning at 15:00. Artistic Swimming, the final sport at the Aquatics Centre has sessions beginning at 19:30 every day from Day 10 to Day 15 apart from Day 13, the medals are handed out on Days 12 and 15.
Shooting from La Corneuve will likely as per usual have the first medal handed out, with Rifle/Pistol medals handed out each of the first ten days in sessions starting at 09:00 except Days 5 and 10. Shotgun action will start on Day 3, with medals handed out on Days 4, 5, and 8 from 15:30 and Days 9 and 10 at 15:00. Modern Pentathlon will also get underway here with the Fencing Ranking Round on Day 13, before moving to Château de Versailles on Day 14. The laser runs start on Day 15 at 17:00 and Day 16 at 11:00: meaning the programme has been stretched by a day. The Château will mostly be known as the home of Equestrian however, with action beginning on Day 1 and sessions every day up to Day 11, with finals on Days 3, 6, 8 and 9 starting from 10:00-11:00, and on Day 11 starting at 14:00.
Rowing started on Day 0 in 2020 but all action will be with a lit flame in 2024, with Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium seeing action every day from Day 1 to Day 8. 09:30 is the start time on Days 5 to 8, the days where medals will be won. Canoe Slalom will also take place here on all of the first ten days apart from Day 7, with finals starting at 15:30 on Days 2, 3, 5, 6, and 10. Finally, Canoe Sprint begins on Day 11 with action for five days, medals handed out on the last three of those with sessions beginning at 09:30.
Yves-du-Manoir Stadium is the home of Hockey, and action starts from Day 1 and goes on for fourteen days. The bronze matches (14:00) and gold matches (19:00) take place on the last two days, similar to 2020.
Surfing takes place in Teahupo'o in Tahiti, on the other side of the world. There is action on each of the first four days, beginning at 19:00, which is 07:00 local time. All medals are handed out on Day 4. Sailing from Marseille Marina begins on Day 2 with action every day until Day 13 starting at 11:00, and medal races on Days 6, 7, 11, 12 and 13. This was so that sailers could attend the opening ceremony.
The Triathlon events at Pont Alexandre III start at 08:00 on Days 4, 5, and 10. Also taking place there is the Marathon Swimming, beginning on Days 13 and 14 at 07:30. Golf from the Golf National has its events from Day 6 to 9 and Day 12 to 15, starting at 09:00 each day. Sport Climbing from Le Bourget Sport Climbing Venue begins on Day 10, with a medal handed out each day from Day 11 to Day 14 at 17:00. Track Cycling from Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Velodrome also begins on Day 10, with medals handed out every day afterwards with sessions starting from 17:00-18:00 (apart from Day 16 where the session starts at 11:00): preliminary afternoon sessions also exist on Days 12 and 14. There is a slight overlap with the Athletics finals: the final hour of proceedings will overlap with the first hour of athletics, although for fans of both this should be manageable.
This is a lot of sports to pack in, and the full schedule for your favourite sport is in this document, and of course everything is subject to change (and often will, with weather often moving rowing and sailing events in particular). However, here are some points to highlight:
Athletics and Swimming to clash
The Games' show-piece sports are scheduled around each other, with swimming in the first half of the games and athletics in the second half. However, just like Tokyo 2020, they will clash, with Day 7, 8, and 9 seeing both sports having action simultaneously. In 2020, this problem was worked around by having swimming finals in the morning session, but this doesn't seem to be the case this time. Fans of both sports will be disappointed in having to split attention.
Most finals in the evening
Swimming's reluctance to have finals in the morning seem part of a broader shift to having more finals in the evening. Perhaps this is due to the lucrative American broadcasters not wanting to have events in the middle of the night, which is understandable. But it does mean that more finals will take place together than in 2020, leaving to more multi-screen viewing for the TV audience.
A focus on the 'middle weekend'
Days 8 and 9 of the Games, the 'middle weekend', have been singled out for particular attention by organisers. As well as the finals in both Athletics and Swimming, there will also be finals in Tennis and Artistic Gymnastics, as well as the Cycling Road Races. The Games' most illustrious sports and those most popular in France will be very prevalent. Also present are Table Tennis.
Team sports "spread out"
On the final four days, the long team sports will come to an end, but they have been scheduled not to clash. The finals of volleyball, beach volleyball, hockey, handball, basketball, water polo and football will not clash. This could explain the increase in sports starting before the flame is lit, although another explanation is to make it so athletes can attend the Opening Ceremony, which might not have been the case with an early Day 1 start: a match on Day -2 or Day -1 would make this a bit easier. The schedule has been made so all athletes can attend at least one ceremony.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has today revealed four more qualifying procedures, meaning more than half of the qualifying procedures for Paris 2024 are now known. Fencing, Golf, Judo and Taekwondo have all released their qualifying systems.
Fencing has twelve events, six per gender: Individual Foil, Epée and Sabre events, and team equivalents. Just like 2020, there are a total of 106 athletes per gender. For each event, if an NOC qualifies a team, then the three team members also take part in the corresponding individual event. Otherwise, only one athlete can participate per NOC in the individual event (this is similar to Archery).
For each team event, eight teams will qualify. The team members will take up 24 places in the individual events, with ten individuals qualifying for a maximum of 34. When universality and host places are added, an individual event can have at most 37 places. There is one male and one female universality place in total, and the hosts have six places, in addition to any places they qualify.
All team places will be earned from the FIE official Senior Team Ranking List of 1 April 2024, with all four zones guaranteed at least one place if they have a team in the top 16. The ten individual places will be qualified as follows: six from the FIE Individual Senior Adjusted Official Ranking List of April 2024, discriminated by zone, with two for Europe and Asia-Oceania and one for America and Africa, and the winners of four FIE Zonal Qualifying Events in April 2024 (exact dates and locations tbc). The only change to the 2020 system is two host places have gone to the universality section.
Golf has a men's and women's event, and just like 2020, sixty golfers of each gender will participate at the Olympics. And the qualification system is unchanged too. There is one host spot, and 59 qualification spots. The Olympic Golf Ranking (17 June for men and 24 June for women) is the only qualification pathway. There are at most four athletes per NOC, but only if they are in the top fifteen: otherwise there is at most two. Also, there is a guaranteed place for all five continents. Finally, if the host spot is unused (as is likely) it will be a universality place instead.
Judo's programme is unchanged from 2020, with seven men's weight classes (60, 66, 73, 81, 90, 100, and +100kg), seven women's weight classes (48, 52, 57, 63, 70, 78, and +78kg) and a mixed team event. However, they have had their quotas reduced, with 186 men and 186 women, down from 193 of each in 2016 (so one less athlete per individual event).
There is no direct qualification for the mixed team event: instead, if you have six eligible athletes (one man and one women from the three lightest classes, the three middle classes, and three heaviest classes) you automatically enter. Each individual event has at most one athlete per NOC. For each event, France will qualify a place.
The top seventeen highest ranked athletes on the IJF World Ranking List (published 25 June 2024) for each event will qualify a place. Then, 100 additional places in total (50 per gender) will be qualified through Continental Rankings, listing all athletes in all events, separated per continent. The top 12 Africans in both genders, the top 13 European men and 12 European women, the top ten Asians in both genders, the top five Oceanians in both genders, and the top 10 Pan American men and 11 Pan American women will qualify. However, out of these 100 places, there is at most one per NOC.
Finally, there are five Team invitation places: one NOC per continent that has five out of the six athletes necessary to qualify for the Mixed Team event will have the extra judoka qualified, so they can participate. There are also fifteen universality places. This system is similar to 2020's system.
Taekwondo is another sport to be unchanged from 2020, with four men's weight classes (58, 68, 80, and +80kg) and four women's weight classes (49, 57, 67 and 67kg). Each event has sixteen places, although athletes from the Refugee Olympic Team might be added as a seventeenth. There is one athlete per NOC per event. There are fifteen qualification spots per event, with either one of the two host spots per gender or one of the two universality places per gender to make up the sixteenth place. Five athletes per event qualify from the WT Olympic Ranking published on 6 January 2024. The winner of the WT Grand Slam Champions Series (Wuxi, CHN, 16-17 Dec 2023) in each event qualifies one spot, with the remaining nine spots earned at the Continental Qualification Tournaments, two for every continent apart from Oceania, which just gets one.
These four systems are all very similar to 2020, and are all mostly rankings based. Fifteen sports (Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Canoe, Cycling, Equestrian, Football, Rowing, Sailing, Skateboarding, Sport Climbing, Surfing, Tennis, Table Tennis and Weightlifting) are yet to publish their system.
The first qualifying procedures have been released for Paris 2024. With thirty-two sports split into forty-seven "disciplines" in Paris 2024, the first eighteen disciplines in thirteen sports have been released. They are: Archery, Basketball (Basketball and Basketball 3x3), Boxing, Breaking, Gymnastics (Artistic, Rhythmic, and Trampoline), Handball, Hockey, Modern Pentathlon, Rugby Sevens, Shooting, Triathlon, Volleyball (Beach Volleyball and Volleyball), and Wrestling. Totallympics News will provide coverage on each qualification system as and when it is released. In this post, we will have a look at the ten qualification procedures already released.
Archery retains five events, with a men's and women's individual team, and a mixed team. Twelve nations per gender, including hosts France, will qualify a team, with the three members of the team also participating in the individual events. The remaining 28 spots, including two universality places, will be earned on an individual basis, with at most one per NOC. There is no separate qualifying for the mixed team, with entry automatic for every NOC with at least one athlete per gender.
The team section has been changed, with a ranking and a continental system added. The 2023 World Archery Championship (Berlin, GER, 28 Jul-6 Aug 2023) will earn just three spots, down from eight. Three of those spots will go to the winners of Continental Championships (exactly which events are yet to be announced) for Europe, Asia, and the Americas. There will still be a Final World Team Qualification Tournament (date and location to be announced) for three places. Finally, two places will be earned for a Team World Ranking List, the date which will count will be announced at a later date.
The winners of the mixed team competition at five Continental Games will qualify one individual spot for both genders. These are the 2022 Asian Games (Huangzhou, CHN, 10-25 Sep 2022), the 2023 European Games (Krakow, POL, 21 Jun-2 Jul 2023), the 2023 Pan-American Games (Santiago, CHI, 20 Oct-5 Nov 2023), and the 2023 Pacific Games (Honiara, SOL, Nov 19-1 Dec 2023). The 2023 African Games (Accra, GHA, Dates to be announced) are also meant to be part of this, but as of right now, archery is not on the programme. If this remains the case, one extra place per gender will be available for the Individual Qualifying Tournament.
The remaining twenty-one places per gender are earned individually. Three will be earned at the 2023 World Archery Championship, two each will be earned at three Continental Games (the Asian Games, European Games, and Pan-American Games), and ten will be earned at five Continental Qualification Tournaments (which tournaments exactly will be announced by 31 December 2022): three for Europe, two each for Asia, the Americas, and Africa, and one for Oceania. Finally two (plus the potential reallocated African Games spot) will be earned at the Final World Individual Qualification Tournament (date and location to be announced). This system is similar to the one used for 2020, although more priority is given to Continental Games than Continental Qualification Tournaments. All-in-all, a new system for 2020.
Artistic Gymnastics retains its fourteen events from Tokyo 2020, with eight men's events (Team, All-Around, Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, and Horizontal Bars) and six women's events (Team, All-Around, Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam, Floor Exercise). The total amount of athletes has been reduced however, with 96 spots per gender, down from 98. One spot per gender will be guaranteed to the host nation, France, although the team is considered strong enough to get at least one place for each gender anyway.
A team of five athletes can qualify for an NOC: these five can then choose which individual events they want to take place in. An NOC without a team qualified can bring at most three athletes. This is a big change from 2020, where there were teams made up of four.
Twelve teams will qualify per gender, with a similar format to 2016: The top three teams qualifying in the 2022 World Championships (Liverpool, GBR, 29 Oct-6 Nov 2022) and the remaining nine in the 2023 World Championships (Antwerp, BEL, 1-8 Oct 2023).
However, the individual qualification places (34 per gender) have a new format in 2024: remember, these can only be earned by athletes not in a team. The top 3 teams at the 2023 World Championships not to qualify will gain one individual athlete per gender. The top eight male and top fourteen female All-Around athletes at the 2023 World Championships will gain a quota as well: only one place per NOC can be gained here. The winner of the six male and four female Apparatus finals at the 2023 World Championships will also gain a quota. The top two in each apparatus at the 2024 FIG World Cup (Athens, GRE, 15-17 Mar 2024; Pesaro, ITA, 22-24 Mar 2024; Sofia, BUL, 12-14 Apr 2024; Baku, AZE, 19-21 Apr 2024; Tashkent, UZB, 26-28 Apr 2024) will gain a spot: so twelve men and eight women. Finally, the winner (or highest-placed eligible athlete) of All-Around competitions in 2024 Continental Championships (a total of five for each gender) will take the final spots. It is yet to be announced which events will count, but the FIG prefers them to take place from April to May 2024.
If, as expected, the hosts reallocate their place, it will be an extra place earned at the 2023 World Championships for the All-Around category, effectively boosting that to having nine male and fifteen female athletes qualifying.
Basketball retains two twelve-team tournaments, just like Tokyo 2020. The qualification system for eleven teams each (as one spot goes to hosts France) is the same, differing however between men and women. For men, seven teams qualify from the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup (Various cities, IDN, JPN, PHI, Aug 25-Sep 10 2023): the top two teams from America and Europe and the top team from Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Qualification is in progress for that event. The remaining four spots will be earned in 2024 at FIBA Olympic Qualification Tournaments (Date and location tbc), which will include nineteen teams from the World Cup and five from Olympic pre-qualifying tournaments: the winners of each of the four tournaments, with six teams each, will earn the final spot.
For women, only the champion of the 2022 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup (Sydney, AUS, 22 Sep-1 Oct 2022) will qualify: the qualification procedure for that is finished. The remaining ten places will be earned at FIBA Olympic Qualification Tournaments (Date and location tbc): there will be four groups of four, with the top three qualifying, although France and the Women's World Cup champions will be included: in the groups with those two, only two places will be earned. This is no change from the Tokyo 2020 system.
Basketball 3x3 retains its two 8-team tournaments from 2020. There is a change to the system (which is the same for men and women). Now, only the top three teams (down from four) qualify a spot on the 3x3 Federation Ranking List of 1 November 2023. There are now two 2024 Universality-driven Qualification Tournaments (locations and dates for both TBC), with eight teams in both and one winner, and finally, a 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament that is still worth three places. Also, if France don't qualify a place, then whichever genders team is ranked higher takes a ranking place off the lowest-qualified team.
Beach Volleyball retains a men and a women's 24-team tournament (max 2 teams per NOC) from 2020. With one spot to the hosts, there are 23 teams qualifying per NOC. However, they have removed a qualification tournament that gained two spots, with two more teams earned by world ranking. Firstly, the winner of the 2023 FIVB Beach Volleyball Senior World Championships (date and location TBC) gets a place. Then, the top seventeen (or eighteen should the host spot get reallocated) teams of the Olympic Ranking List of 10 June 2024 will get a spot. Finally, the winners of five Beach Volleyball Continental Qualification Events will earn spots. These dates will be confirmed by 31 May 2022. The final phase of these will be hosted in June 2024, after the publication of the ranking. A simple system to follow.
Boxing has had a switch from 2020. That year, there were eight male weight classes, and five female ones, but now there are seven male weight classes (51, 57, 63.5, 71, 80, 92 and +92kg weight limits) and six female ones (50, 54, 57, 60, 66, and 75kg weight limits). There will be 124 athletes in each gender (compared to 206 men and 80 women in Tokyo), a total of 248, which is down from 286 in 2020. Each event will still have at most one athlete per NOC. To breakdown by event:
Women's 54 and 66kg: 24 places
Women's 50kg: 22 places
Men's 63.5 and 71kg, Women's 57kg: 20 places
Men's 57 and 80kg, Women's 75kg: 18 places
Men's 51, 92, and +92kg, and Women's 60kg: 16 places
The first event in the calendar are the 2023 IBA World Boxing Championships (Tashkent, UZB, dates TBC) and 2023 IBA Women's World Championships (dates and locations TBC). The finalist of each event will earn a spot: as there are thirteen men's and ten women's categories, this means most events will actually get four spots: the Men's +92kg and Women's 57 and 60kg will get two spots. Then, the Olympic Ranking Lists of 31 December 2023 will earn six spots per event. France are guaranteed at least four men and at least three women, and there are also four male and five universality spots: the confirmation of these will affect the exact amount of quotas up for grabs in the Olympic Ranking Lists of 31 March 2024. Finally, in May 2024, a World Qualification Tournament (locations and dates TBC) will earn two spots for each event. A new-look system for the new-look IBA.
The new sport of Breaking has sixteen participants per gender (at most two per NOC). One spot goes to hosts France, and two will be earned by way of "universality", meaning there are thirteen qualification spots. The winner of the WDSF World Championship (Leuven, BEL, 22-24 Sep 2023) will earn a spot as will the winner of five Continental Games/Championships (although exactly which Games or Championships are still to be confirmed). Finally seven athletes in each gender (or eight if the French spot is reallocated) will earn a spot at the Olympic Qualifier Series.
Handball retains a 12-team tournament for both genders from 2020. The system has not changed for 2020, with eleven qualification spots each once the host spot is allocated to France.
The first spot goes to the winner of the IHF Men's World Championship 2023 (POL and SWE, 11-29 Jan 2023) and the winner of the IHF Women's World Championship 2023 (DEN, NOR, and SWE, exact dates TBC). The winners of four Continental Qualification Events: for men the Pan-American Games, an Asian event pencilled in for autumn 2023, the 2024 European Championship (GER, 10-28 Jan 2024) and the January 2024 African Championship (location and exact dates tbc); and for women the Pan-American Games, an Asian event also in autumn 2023, the 2022 European Women's Handball Championship (MNE, MKD, SLO, 4-20 Nov 2022), and an African event currently meant to take place in 2023. The final six places will be earned at three Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (dates and locations TBC) that will be held in March 2024 for men and the next month for women. A familiar qualifier for a familiar Olympic sport.
Another team sport returning from 2020, there is a 12-team tournament for both genders. Once France get their spot, eleven places are earned in qualifiers for each gender. Unlike 2020, the system is the same for men and women. Five spots are earned by winning Continental Qualifications: these being the 2022 Asian Games, 2023 Pan-American Games, the 2023 African Hockey "Road to Paris" Championships (dates and locations TBC), the 2023 EuroHockey Championships (Monchengladbach, GER, exact dates TBC), and the 2023 Oceania Cup (dates and locations TBC). The top three teams in two FIH Olympic Qualification Tournaments (dates and locations to be announced on 6 November 2023) will win the final spots, a change from 2020 when play-offs were used.
Modern Pentathlon retains 36 athletes in each gender: at most two per NOC. With one host spot and two invitational spots, there are 33 qualifying spots per gender, and the system is the same for both, being mostly similar to the 2020 system. The winner of the 2023 UIPM World Cup Final (date and locations TBC) will earn a spot, but twenty (at most one per NOC) will be from various Continental Championships (date and locations TBC): eight for Europe, five for Asia and for Pan America (with one spot for first place, one for the next two North Americans (which includes Central America and the Caribbean) and one for the next two South Americans), and one for Africa and Oceania. Three spots will be earned at the 2023 UIPM Pentathlon World Championships (Bath, GBR, dates TBC), and finally, six will be earned through the UIPM Olympic Pentathlon World Ranking List of 17 June 2024.
Rhythmic Gymnastics is a female-only sport, and there are now only 94 athletes, instead of 96. There are still fourteen group (of five, so 70 athletes), but now just 24 individuals, down from 26. There are fourteen teams, including France, with thirteen qualification spots. The top three teams at the 2022 World Championships (Sofia, BUL, 14-18 Sep 2022) will get a spot, as will the top five teams (or six should the French spot be reallocated) at the 2023 World Championships (Valencia, ESP, 21-27 Aug 2023). The final five spots will go to the winners of the 2024 Continental Championships, dates and locations of which are to be confirmed.
Unlike artistic gymnastics, the group competition is not integrated in qualifying with the individual one. With 26 places available (at most two per NOC), including one host spot and one universality place, there are 24 qualification spots to fight for. The top three individuals at the 2022 World Championships, the top fourteen (or fifteen should the French spot be reallocated) at the 2023 World Championships, and the winners of the five 2024 Continental Championships get a spot.
A relatively simple system to follow, then.
Rugby Sevens retains its 12-team tournaments from 2020: that includes a host spot each. The eleven qualification spots are the same as in 2020. The top four teams in the 2022-3 World Rugby Sevens World Series, the details of which will be announced by 30 June 2022 corresponding to each gender will gain a spot, as will the winners of six Regional Association Olympic Qualification Tournaments in 2023 and a Final Olympic Repechage Tournament which should happen in 2024. Details and locations for all events are to be confirmed.
Shooting retains thirteen events from 2020, although now there are only 170 athletes per gender, instead of 180. The programme is slightly changed. The men's and women's events are the same (10m Air Rifle, 50m 3 Positions, 10m Air Pistol, 25m Rapid Fire Pistol (Men)/25m Pistol (Women), Trap, and Skeet) while the Mixed Team in 10m Air Rifle and 10m Air Pistol also remain, although the Mixed Team Trap is replaced for a mixed Team Skeet event.
There is no mixed team qualification: instead those with one man and one woman in each event can enter a corresponding mixed team: at most two teams per NOC. At most twelve men and at most twelve women per NOC can qualify, and at most two athletes per individual event per NOC can qualify. There are 25 qualification spots per event, with a host country spot, one universality spot (two in the air rifle and air pistol events) and one earned at the Olympic Qualification Ranking of 9 June 2024.
In the Air Rifle and Air Pistol events, four spots are earned at the 2022 World Rifle and Pistol Championship (Cairo, EGY, 12-25 Oct 2022). One spot will be earned at the 2022 CAT Championship (Lima, PER, 9-16 Nov 2022). Two spots are earned at the 2023 European 10m Championship (Tallinn, EST, 5-15 Mar 2023). One spot is earned at the 2023 European Games, one at the 2023 Pan-American Games, and another two at the 2023 Asia Championship (Changwon, KOR, exact dates tbc), four at the 2023 World Championship (14-31 Aug 2023, location TBC), two at the 2023 Africa Championship (Cairo, EGY, exact dates 1-10 Oct 2023), two at the 2024 European 10m Championship (Gyor, HUN, exact dates TBC), one at the 2024 CAT Championship, two at the 2024 Asia Rifle and Pistol Championship (date and location tbc), two from a 2024 Final Olympic Qualification Championship (date and location TBC) and one from an Oceania Championship (date and location TBC).
For the 25m and 50m events, two spots are earned at the 2022 European 25m/50m Championship (Wroclaw, POL, 5-18 Sep 2022). Four spots are earned at the 2022 World Rifle and Pistol Championship, one at the 2022 CAT Championship, one at the 2023 European Games, one (two for 25m events) at the 2023 Pan-American Games, two at the 2023 Asia Championship, four at the 2023 World Championship, one at the 2023 Africa Championship, two at the 2024 European 25m/50m Qualification Event (dates and locations tbc), one at the 2024 CAT Championship, two at the 2024 Asia Rifle and Pistol Championship, two from a 2024 Final Olympic Qualification Championship and two (one for 25m events) from the mysterious Oceania Championship.
The trap and skeet events will be the first event to get underway, with the 2022 European Shotgun Championships (Larnaca, CYP, 24 Aug-12 Sep 2022) earning two spots. Four spots will be earned at the 2022 World Shotgun Championship (Osijek, CRO, 22 Sep-11 Oct 2022), one at the 2022 CAT Championship, one at the 2023 European Shotgun Championship (Leobersdorf, AUT, 25 Jul-6 Aug 2023), two at the 2023 Pan-American Games, two at the 2023 Asia Championship, four at the 2023 World Championship, one at the 2023 Africa Championship, one at the 2024 European Shotgun Championship (Dates and locations TBC), one at the 2024 CAT Championship, two at the 2024 Asia Shotgun Championship (Date and locations TBC), two at the 2024 Final Olympic Qualification Championship and one from the Oceania Championship.
The main headline is the removal of World Cup events, and remember that quotas earned in one event can be used in a second as long as the athlete is eligible in both (i.e. gets the minimum entry standard). The headline is the removal of the World Cup events, which is sure to split opinion.
The only form of gymnastics not to have its quotas cut, it retains sixteen men and sixteen women in 2024. There can be at most two places per NOC, but only three NOCs per gender can earn two places. The highest eight ranked athletes per gender in the 2023 World Championships (Birmingham, GBR, 9-12 Nov 2023). The remaining eight spaces will be won at the 2023-4 Trampoline Individual World Cup Series, dates and locations of which are to be confirmed. However, if a continent doesn't have a place then a spot will be allocated to a relevant 2024 Continental Championship. A host spot and a universality spot may also be taken away from the World Cup series.
Triathlon avoids any cuts from 2020 to 2024, with 55 athletes from each gender: at most three per NOC. There is a men's, women's, and mixed team event. There are no qualification spots for mixed teams, instead, any NOC with at least two in each gender can enter a mixed team. However, there are some mixed team events that do qualify two places per gender, thus guaranteeing a place in the mixed relay. This includes an automatic spot for the host nation, a spot for the winner of the 2022 World Triathlon Mixed Relay Championships (Montreal, CAN, 26 Jun 2022), a spot for the winner of the 2023 World Triathlon Mixed Relay Championships (Hamburg, GER, date TBC), six spots on offer from the World Triathlon Mixed Relay Ranking of 25 March 2024, and two spaces on offer at the 2024 Mixed Relay Olympic Qualification Event (dates and location TBC). All 31 individual spots (earned separately for each gender) are earned for the World Triathlon Olympic Qualification Ranking of 27 May 2024: the top 26, and then the highest next athlete per continent. Finally, there are two universality places. Just like 2020, there is a mostly ranking-based system for Olympic qualifying.
Volleyball retains two twelve-team tournaments from 2020 to 2024: so eleven qualification spots once France are taken out. Two spots each are earned in three 2023 Olympic Qualification Tournaments (in each gender, locations tbc: 16-24 Sep 2023 for women, 30 Sep-8 Oct 2023 for men), but in a major shake-up, the remaining five will be earned based on World Rankings (17 June 2024 for women and 24 June 2024 for men). This will be a massively controversial shakeup: with supporters and detractors.
Finally, we come to Wrestling, a sport for which both disciplines (Greco-Roman and Freestyle) have had their system released together. Greco-Roman is a men-only event, with 96 men participating in six weight classes (60, 67, 77, 87, 97, and 130kg), and 96 of each gender in Freestyle: six weight classes for both men (57, 65, 74, 86, 97, and 125kg) and women (50, 53, 57, 62, 68, and 76kg). There are sixteen spots per event.
The top five athletes for each event at the 2023 Senior World Championships (Krasnoyarsk, RUS, 16-24 Sep 2023, obviously take that with a pinch of salt) gain a place. Then, the top two athletes at four 2024 Continental Qualification Tournaments (African & Oceania Tournament, 22-24 Mar 2024, European Tournament, 4-7 Apr 2024, Asian Tournament, 12-14 Apr 2024, Pan-American Tournament, 19-21 Apr 2024, locations all TBC) gain a place. Finally, the top three athletes for each event at the 2024 World Qualification Tournament (9-12 May 2024, location TBC) will earn a place.
Plenty of things to debate: it seems in general, there is a move towards rankings-oriented systems, although there is a lot of variation. Let's see if this trend continues for other sports.
As qualification systems are starting to be released for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, Totallympics is reviving its news section. Founded in 2020 as "Qualifying to the Games", the section was put on hold in 2021. It has rebranded to "Totallympics News" with an aim to publish regular articles leading up to Paris 2024 and beyond.
In the past, this was more in the style of a blog, with irregular articles mostly published when a writer had a whim to write on a topic interesting them. The aim of this project is to provide a more comprehensive news section to compliment the forum. There is no sports news site currently has a primary focus on Olympic qualifications, and therefore we can help fill that gap.
I hope people continue to use and enjoy Totallympics, and if you are interested in helping in this project, please contact the site admin @Sindo.
Last week we looked at the event changes between the 2020 and the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. The other notable change ahead of those games will be the number of athletes competing. Totallympics takes a closer look.
Using the qualification documents, the 2020 Olympics had an expected athlete quota of 11,114 (the final number was higher due to some sports having more athletes than expected qualify and the IOC allowing more athletes to compete at the games due to COVID-19, court appeals and via the refugee team). The 2024 Olympics is set to have a total of 10,500 athletes, a decrease of 614 quotas.
As baseball/softball and karate were not selected as host selected sports, the athlete quotas were completely removed. This saw a reduction of 234 and 80 quotas respectively. However, with the other host selected sports seeing an increase in athlete quotas, this reduction had a net effect of -242.
The remaining 72 quotas were split between the four sports with breaking getting the most quotas (32 athletes) as the sport is set to make its Olympic debut. Sport climbing, the only returning sport to get an increase in its total events sees a notable increase of 28 athletes while skateboarding and surfing will see increases of 8 and 4 respectively.
Of the 28 core sports, all of them either saw them maintaining their 2020 quotas or saw an overall decrease. Cycling is a bit unique as while the overall sport saw a decrease of quotas (-14 athletes), the BMX freestyle (+6) and track cycling (+1) disciplines saw an increase of athletes, but were offset by a decrease in mountain biking (-4) and road cycling (-17).
Among the core sports, athletics will experience the largest decrease with 90 fewer athletes expected to attend the 2024 games. Due to the removal of four events, weightlifting also has a significant decrease with 76 fewer athletes while aquatics rounds out the top 3 with 62 fewer athletes (-8 in artistic swimming, -6 in open water swimming, -26 in swimming and -22 in water polo). A summary of the quota changes can be seen in the table below.
Of the sports which lost athlete quotas most of them only saw losses of less than 6% of their total quotas from 2020. The two exceptions were boxing and weightlifting. Both sports have recently lost favour in the eyes of the IOC. Even after adjusting weightlifting having fewer events, both sports will experience a decrease of over 10% of their 2020 total.
While these athlete quota cuts were made by the IOC as a cost saving measure, they remain quite controversial. Detractors argue that it is not in the spirit of the Olympics and that it would make nations with smaller teams even smaller. What do you think, is the cost saving measures a necessary evil or are there other ways the IOC could cut costs?
With the conclusion of the 2020 Summer Olympics, curious eyes have turned to Paris and how those games will defer from Tokyo. What changes will we see? The most eye-catching stat is that Paris 2024 will have fewer events with 329 total, 10 fewer than Tokyo 2020. This is the first time since Rome 1960 that the next Olympics will have fewer events than the previous one. Totallympics takes a closer look.
This decrease is largely due to the changes of host selected sports as Tokyo selected sports baseball/softball (2 events) and karate (8 events) have been removed. Additionally, four weightlifting events will be removed and not replaced (the 10 remaining weight classes will be confirmed at a later date). The other three Tokyo selected sports; skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing will make their return with sport climbing gaining an additional two events (men’s and women’s speed). The fourth and final host selected sport will be breaking, set to make its Olympic debut with B-boys and B-girls events.
Additionally, other sports will have changes to their program, but will keep the same number of overall events. The biggest changes will be seen in canoeing and sailing. For canoeing the men’s and women’s K1 200m events were dropped while the slalom discipline gained two events with men’s and women’s extreme canoe. Additionally, the men’s K2 1000m and C2 1000m will consist of 500m events.
Sailing sees the complete removal of the men’s Finn class while the men’s and women’s 470 will now become a mixed event. These changes will make room for the men’s and women’s kiteboarding. While the windsurfing events remain, they will change equipment from the RS:X to iQFoil.
In order to decrease the difference between men’s and women’s medalling events, boxing will have a men’s event transferred to the women for a total of 7 men and 6 women events. The weight classes will be confirmed at a later date. Overall, there will be 157 men’s, 152 women’s and 20 mixed or open events.
Other sports to have changes include athletics where the men’s 50km race walk will make way for the mixed team race walk, shooting where a rotation from mixed team trap to mixed team skeet will occur and sport climbing where the men’s and women’s combined will only include the bouldering and lead portions as speed is now a separate medalling event.
Next week Totallympics will take a closer look as to the changes to the athlete quotas as the 2024 Olympics will have to adhere to the IOC’s 10,500 limit after having more than 11,000 athletes in Tokyo.
As the 2020-21 Squash World Championships get underway today, I'm struck by the absence of the sport on the Olympic program. One wonders what sin squash must have committed to result not being included ever.
It's not like the sport hasn't recently tried. The World Squash Federation (WSF)'s bids for inclusion were unsuccessful for the Games in 2012, 2016, 2020, and now 2024. It certainly is a head-scratcher, as there are so many boxes checked for what fits as an Olympic sport.
So, here's my pitch:
Similar to its racket sport cousin badminton, squash has its origins in the British mid-1800s. The first national association for squash, now U.S. Squash, was formed in 1904, and the oldest squash tournament, the British Open Squash Championships, were first held in 1929. The Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Championships separated from the British Open as a stand-alone event in 1976, and is now considered the crowning event to the seasonal PSA World Tour.
It's truly a global sport. The WSF counts 50,000 courts worldwide, and a membership of almost 150 nations. The top 10 seeds for the World Championships across both men's and women's fields represent eight different nations and all six continental regions: Africa (Egypt), Asia (India), Europe (France, Great Britain), North America (United States), Oceania (New Zealand), and South America (Colombia, Peru). Players from Switzerland, Latvia, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Hong Kong, Germany, Netherlands, South Africa, Czech Republic, and Belgium are also in the fields. Legendary players in squash history have also come from Malaysia (Nicol David), Pakistan (Jansher Khan) - both eight-time world champions - and Australia (five-time winner Sarah Fitzgerald).
These are serious, professional athletes. The World Championship total pot is $1 million U.S., while the prize for World Tour events can reach $175,000 U.S. for both men and women. Nicol David, widely recently voted as the World Games Greatest Athlete of All Time, has an estimated net worth over $1 million U.S. from career earnings and endorsements.
Nicol David was world champion a record eight times
Squash can be played right within urban centers. New York's J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions is played inside Grand Central Station. San Francisco's Oracle NetSuite Open is played alongside the Embarcadero's Ferry Building. The World Championships this year will be inside Chicago's University Club. Wherever one might put, say, a breakdancing or 3x3 basketball court, or a beach volleyball sandpit, one could put a squash court.
The PSA uses an all-glass, portable court ringed by temporary grandstand seating that is easily transported, set up, and broken down. There's no need to build new infrastructure.
And, that glass court allows for spectator intimacy with the action. Similar to tennis, squash tournaments are straightforward single elimination events, so competition is fast-paced and athletic - and can be easily consumed by fans. A tournament with fields of 32 for both men and women can easily be finished in less than a week.
The next Olympic opportunity for squash won't be until Los Angeles 2028. But that may be a longshot, too, as baseball and softball are likely to make a comeback. Lacrosse and cricket are making inroads, too. Karate, in for Tokyo 2020 but out for Paris 2024, would also be in the mix. And, it's unlikely a different spot would open up from the existing core sports.
Here's French star Gregory Gaultier probably pondering what an Olympic medal would look like around his neck
It's a shame, as the global, engaging nature of the sport fits well within the Olympics. I'm not sure what the reluctance has been - too elite? (more so than golf?), too exclusive? (more than artistic swimming?) not practical? (um, the portable glass court...) not hip enough? (refer back to Nicol David's popularity, for one) - but the diversity, ease of engagement, and history of the sport deserve a spotlight.
It's well past time.
This opinion piece originally appeared at gamesandrings.com.
The International Olympic Committee announced the Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020 on Tuesday, and as a connoisseur of multi-sports games, I found myself curious as to the multi-sports games credentials of the athletes selected for the team.
I began my quest for knowledge by consulting an archive of multi-sports games results dating from the early 2000s to the present. While the search itself took a few hours, having to comb through results of various multi-sports games, it did produce some interesting factoids about a few members of the Refugee Olympic Team.
The first “hit” in the database was for athletics participant, Dorian Keletela. Keletela ran as a representative of the host country, Republic of Congo, back at the 2015 African Games. He was entered into the 100m and clocked a time of 10.68 in the heats. He failed to advance out of the heats, thus ending his pursuit of gold. This was also his only recorded participation at a multi-sports games.
The second athlete to pop up during the search was Wessam Salamana. Salamana competed in boxing at the 2010 Asian Games as a representative of the Syrian Arab Republic. Salamana actually enjoyed relative success at the Games, beating opponents from Timor-Leste, Republic of Korea, and Bhutan on his way to earning a bronze medal. In fact, his only loss came in the semifinals when he was defeated by the eventual gold medalist from Thailand. The 2010 Asian Games would mark Salamana’s only participation at a multi-sports games, but he’ll definitely be hoping to relive his time on the podium at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
The next athlete to appear in the database also registered a start for the Syrian Arab Republic. Ahmad Badreddin Wais competed for the country in cycling at the 2018 Mediterranean Games. He recorded results in both the road race and time trial. In the road race, Badreddin Wais finished in 47th place and outside the time limit. However, he faired much better in the time trial placing 16th out of 20 riders, only 2:55 behind the winner of the event. He will likely be hoping for a similar performance in the time trial during the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
Perhaps the most prolific multi-sports games athlete on the Refugee Olympic Team is Javad Mahjoub. Mahjoub competed for the Islamic Republic of Iran at both the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games. His performances in Judo at both Games were full of ups-and-downs. At the 2010 Asian Games he managed to win his first match, before subsequently losing two matches, including one in the repechage round. He faired slightly better at the 2014 Asian Games, qualifying for the bronze medal match after losing in the semifinal stage. Unfortunately, he finished the competition in 5th place after a loss in the bronze medal match. He will definitely be hoping for improved results at Tokyo 2020.
The last athlete to appear in the database was Cyrille Fagat Tchatchet II. Tchatchet II participated in weightlifting at the 2014 Commonwealth Games representing the country of Cameroon. He managed a very respectable result at the Games finishing his event in 5th place ahead of 15 other lifters. In total, he managed to lift 315kg during the -85kg competition. The 2014 Commonwealth Games would also mark the end of his multi-sports games journey until it was announced he made the Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020.
In total, these five athletes represent only a small part of the Refugee Olympic Team. However, these five athletes also show that the Refugee Olympic Team is not to be taken lightly in Tokyo. While they might not be favorites for medals, they are experienced competitors at this level, and will be ready to give it their all in Tokyo.
For those who missed the announcement of the Refugee Olympic Team, a full list of the athletes selected can be found here.
Cuba has a storied history of success in the Olympic Games. Since its Games debut at Paris 1900, its much-vaunted boxers have won 73 medals (second only to the United States), and its fabled baseball program has won three of five golds (and won silver the other two times). Outside of those two signature sports, Cuba has made its mark in other sports, notably track & field, judo, wrestling, and even fencing. The women's volleyball team won three straight golds between 1992 and 2000, with a bronze in 2004.
At Barcelona 1992, Cuba hit its high point in the medal count - 31 total, and fifth place in the medal count. Those were the Games of high jumper Javier Sotomayor, boxer Felix Savon, and middle-distance runner Ana Quirot. Boxers, including Savon, won nine of 12 possible medals (including seven gold). Women's volleyball started their three-gold streak. Judo and wrestling saw gold medal wins, too. Cuba won the inaugural baseball tournament.
For the next four Games, the island nation experienced a consistent level of high performance: 25 medals at Atlanta 1996, 29 at Sydney 2000, 27 at Athens 2004, and 30 at Beijing 2008. Those years, there was an admirable sense of Cuba being able to 'punch above its weight' in its success. Despite increasing isolation as a lone socialist state burdened by economic sanctions, its athletic programs remained a vibrant, vital area of showcase pride for the nation.
But the last two Olympics has seen its star power ebb. Cuba managed only 15 medals at London 2012 and 11 at Rio 2016. As well, after reaching second in the Pan American Games medal table in 2011, Cuba dropped to fourth in 2015 and sixth in 2019.
And now, and despite its legendary aura in the sport, Cuba will not qualify for Tokyo 2020's baseball tournament. Given its recent slide - in the WBSC Premier12 event in 2019, Cuba ranked tenth and last alongside Netherlands and Puerto Rico - the result in qualifying isn't too surprising. But the Cuban absence will be noticed given the team's legacy in the sport. For sentiment's sake, one hopes Cuban baseball doesn't follow that lead and can make a comeback in time for Los Angeles 2028. But history is not a promising guide.
That women's volleyball team of the mid-to-late 1990s suffered a similar fall. After just missing the podium in fourth place at Beijing 2008, the team has failed to make an Olympics since. They placed 21st and 22nd in the last two World Championships, and came nowhere near Tokyo 2020 qualification after finishing sixth in the 2019 NORCECA Championship, with the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico ahead and taking bragging rights for current Caribbean power.
As far as the nation's boxers, they will again be standard bearers, with Tokyo 2020 qualification in each of the eight men's weight classes (but note, no women's). Collectively, the Tokyo-bound team already has six Olympic medals dating from as far back as Beijing 2008 - a sign of longevity, but also of a lack of younger athletes breaking through. Judo, wrestling, and track & Field again promise the best chance for medal support to boxing this summer, but the nation will probably be hard-pressed to significantly improve its results from Rio 2016.
Cuba's sport prowess has certainly diminished. Has the difficulty in maintaining a consistently strong sports development feeder system in its closed society finally taken a toll? There's a good opportunity for a socio-economic study in the question. In the meantime, this summer's Games quickly approach. Can Cuba again rise to consistent sporting heights?
This opinion was originally published on gamesandrings.com on June 2, 2021.
Panam Sports has reached an agreement with the University of Miami and the Mexican Consulate in Miami to receive 4,000 vaccines that will be used to help ensure the health of the athletes and officials who will participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Panam Sports has already sent an official document to all the National Olympic Committees to inform them of this opportunity. The organization will cover the cost of the air tickets for those who travel to Miami to receive their vaccines.
National Olympic Committees have been asked to send their request listing the athletes and officials they wish to be vaccinated as soon as possible so they can be inoculated at least 30 days before entering Japan.
Athletes and officials participating in this year’s 2021 Junior Pan American Games will also be eligible to receive the vaccine under this offer.
Panam Sports is the first continental sports governing body to secure and offer vaccines to athletes and officials.
“We know that in many of our countries throughout the continent it is very difficult to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Therefore, we have made a significant effort to reach this outstanding agreement that will help all of the athletes who have not had the chance to become inoculated. Now these athletes have the opportunity to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States, and thus travel with better protection to compete at the Tokyo Olympics,” said Panam Sports President, Neven Ilic.
“I want to offer my greatest appreciation to the University of Miami, the Mexican Consulate in Miami, and our Executive Committee member, Jimena Saldaña. They all helped us achieve our goal of vaccinating the athletes and officials who will participate in Tokyo, as well as those who will be in Cali this November,” Ilic added.
The Cali-Valle 2021 Junior Pan American Games will now take place between November 25 and December 5.
The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed yet another victim in the world of international multi-sports games. The 2021 Junior Pan American Games originally scheduled to be held from September 9 to September 19 have been postponed by around two and a half months and will now open in late November.
According to Panam Sports, the Pan American region has been one of the most affected by Covid-19. While Panam Sports and local organizers were encouraged by the recent progress in vaccinations around the region, they still felt like there was more work to be done in the fight against Covid-19.
Speaking on the decision to postpone, Panam Sports President Neven Ilic, said the following remarks, “After several months of meetings with the Colombian authorities, we have adopted this measure that we believe is the best option to protect the health of our young athletes. We want to give more time for both the organizing country and the participating nations to advance in their vaccination processes. This will allow more delegations and the largest number of people to be inoculated against Covid-19 when the Games begin.”
Cali-Valle 2021 Executive Director, Jose Luis Echeverry, also spoke about the decision to postpone. He stated, “The decision we have made is very positive. It will be very beneficial to be able to wait a little longer given the emergency caused by Covid-19 not only in Colombia, but throughout the continent. With this new date, it gives us the possibility of having safer Games for everyone because when the time comes, we will have a higher vaccination rate in the host country.”
The first Junior Pan American Games of Cali 2021 will bring together more than 3,800 athletes from 41 countries who will compete in 39 disciplines. The gold medalist(s) in each sport will automatically qualify for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
Further information about the Games can be found at www.calivalle2021.com or www.panamsports.org.