SPORTS DAY: Hot cash pours in to Winter Olympics
David Isaacson rounds up the sporting news
Insurers bet on smooth Games
If South Korea’s Winter Olympics go off without a hitch this month, organisers will not be alone in toasting success. Their insurers will also be celebrating a tidy profit. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) takes out protection for around $800-million at each Games, which covers the vast majority of the roughly $1-billion investment it makes in each of the host cities. The policy will pay out for a range of mishaps, ranging up to declarations of war, actual war, or acts of war. The IOC declined to reveal the premium it has paid for Pyeongchang, but insurers said it was likely to be around 2-3% of the total cover. At the IOC’s coverage of about $800-million, this would represent a cost of around $16-24 million.
First openly gay US men at Games
Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy will have groundbreaking performances at Pyeongchang no matter how they perform, being the first openly gay US men competing at a Winter Olympics. British-born Kenworthy will try to improve upon the freestyle skiing slopestyle silver medal he won in 2014 at Sochi, while figure skater Rippon, the 2016 US men’s champion, competes in his first Olympics. Both went public with their homosexuality in October 2015, and felt better for it. “When I came out I was scared of losing sponsors and losing fan base,” Kenworthy said. “It has been just the opposite.” Rippon, 28, said he found it liberating to reveal his most personal secret, reviving his passion for skating.
Dog meat eateries refuse to stop serving
Almost all the dog meat restaurants in South Korea’s Pyeongchang county have defied a government request to stop serving the food, an official admitted on Thursday. South Koreans are believed to consume about one million dogs a year as a summertime delicacy, with the greasy red meat — which is invariably boiled for tenderness — believed to increase energy. Local authorities asked the 12 dog meat restaurants in Pyeongchang county to stop serving the food during the Games, in exchange for subsidies. But only two have complied, an official said.
Justin Gatlin competes in SA next month
Organisers of the Athletix Grand Prix series said on Thursday morning that Gatlin would run in the 150m at the Tuks stadium in Pretoria on March 8. Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion, upstaged Usain Bolt at the world championships in London last year to take the 100m crown.SOCCER
English are masters of diving – Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger weighed into the debate about simulation in the Premier League by suggesting that English players may have become “the masters of diving” ahead of the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. Wenger was speaking as the fallout continued from last weekend’s 2-2 draw between Liverpool and Spurs when Tottenham’s Dele Alli was booked for diving and Harry Kane was accused of going down too easily to win a penalty under a challenge from home keeper Loris Karius. “I remember there were tremendous cases here when foreign players did it but I must say the English players have learned very quickly and they might even be the masters now.”
United earnings drop
Manchester United posted an 1.7% fall in quarterly core earnings on Thursday as rising salaries of its players weighed on profit. United, whose leading players include Paul Pogba and David de Gea, posted adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the three months to December 31 dipped to £67.8-million from £69-million a year ago. Revenue increased 3.8% to £163.9-million in the period — the second quarter of its 2017-18 financial year.
Six arrests in doping probe after death
The investigation into the death of cyclist Linas Rumsas, son of former professional rider Raimondas Rumsas, led on Thursday to sweeping arrests at his former Altopack Eppela amateur team, Italian prosecutors said. Police raided several premises in the Tuscan town of Lucca early on Thursday and detained team owner Luca Franceschi, former sports director Elso Frediani, pharmacist Andrea Bianchi and ex-trainer Michele Viola for allegedly supplying young riders with doping products. Altopack Eppela was the team associated with the Velo Club Coppi Lunata with which 21-year-old Linas Rumsas competed before his death following a heart attack on May 2 2017.
More gyms for women in Saudi Arabia
Bahrain-based private equity firm Investcorp is turning some of the gyms it part-owns in Saudi Arabia into women-only facilities in response to surging demand, its co-chief executive said on Thursday. The move comes as the deeply conservative kingdom embarks on a transformation that encompasses giving women more freedoms, including being allowed to drive and attend sporting events. “Recently the regulations were relaxed to allow women gyms. There’s tremendous demand, so we are re-purposing some of our existing gyms that used to be male-only to female-only,” Rishi Kapoor said.
Care set to break record for England
England coach Eddie Jones on Thursday made two changes to his side to play Wales in the Six Nations on Saturday, with Danny Care set to become England’s most capped scrumhalf and Jonathan Joseph drafted in at centre. Care will beat Matt Dawson’s record by winning his 78th cap at Twickenham. He replaces Ben Youngs, who will miss the rest of the championship after suffering knee ligament damage just nine minutes into last Sunday’s 46-15 victory over Italy.