Olympic gold medalist Wladimir Klitschko has joined Ukraine’s fight against IOC plans to let some Russians compete at the 2024 Paris Summer Games.
The former heavyweight champion suggested in a video message published Monday that sports leaders will be accomplices to the war if athletes from Russia and its military ally Belarus can compete at the next Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee set out its preferred path last week for Russians and Belarusians who have not openly supported the war to qualify for Paris and compete in 18 months’ time as neutral athletes with no flag or anthem. Qualifying events would likely be in Asia.
That softening of the IOC advice given last February – that sports bodies should exclude Russia and Belarus from international events – provoked anger in Ukraine, which warned it could boycott Paris.
Klitschko’s one-minute statement filmed beside bomb-damaged buildings started “Dear Thomas Bach” in a direct challenge to the IOC president.
“The world is watching you, history will judge you. Good luck with your decision,” Klitschko said in the latest riposte from Ukraine trying to tie Bach closely to Olympic policy for Russia.
ECHL: The Maine Mariners completed a pair of future considerations trades with ECHL teams, acquiring forwards Zach Pochiro from the Allen Americans and Chase Zieky from the Wheeling Nailers. In an additional move, defenseman Nate Kallen has left the team to sign in Slovakia.
TRACK: Kenyan runner Georgina Rono, who was third at the Boston Marathon in 2012, was banned for four years for evading a doping test.
Rono, who also has podium finishes at the Eindhoven and Frankfurt Marathons, was banned until Jan. 25, 2027. She had all her results since May 27 stripped from her record in a ruling by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya.
Kenyan authorities are battling a doping crisis, with more than 50 athletes from the East African country currently suspended.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Midfielder Christian Eriksen could miss most of the remainder of the season because of an ankle injury, the team said.
The 30-year-old Denmark international sustained the injury during United’s 3-1 win against Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday.
United said he will be sidelined for “an extended period” – likely until late April or early May.
The former Tottenham and Inter Milan player suffered a cardiac arrest on the field at the European Championship in 2021 and needed to be resuscitated with a defibrillator.
He had a cardioverter-defibrillator fitted and made his return to top flight soccer a year ago when he joined Premier League club Brentford.
His performances for the London club led to a move to United last summer.
BAYERN MUNICH: Bayern Munich bolstered its struggling team with the loan signing of Portugal left back Joao Cancelo from Manchester City, the last day of the transfer period.
Cancelo, 28, joined “on an initial deal through to the end of the current season,” Bayern said. The German club has the option to make the transfer permanent for a fee of 70 million euros ($76 million).
Bayern Coach Julian Nagelsmann said the deal was “very spontaneous” and came together after Bayern’s last game Saturday.
INVESTIGATION: German tennis player Alexander Zverev will not face disciplinary action after an investigation into domestic abuse allegations against him found “insufficient evidence” to substantiate the claims, the men’s professional tour said.
The ATP had commissioned the investigation in October 2021 after Zverev’s former girlfriend, Olya Sharypova, accused the 2020 U.S. Open runner-up of abuse.
“Based on a lack of reliable evidence and eyewitness reports, in addition to conflicting statements by Sharypova, Zverev and other interviewees, the investigation was unable to substantiate the allegations of abuse, or determine that violations of ATP’s On-Site Offenses or Player Major Offenses rules took place,” the ATP said in a statement.
U.S. WOMEN: Diana Taurasi’s USA Basketball career isn’t done just yet.
The five-time Olympic gold medalist will take part in a national team training camp in Minnesota next month. Taurasi told The Associated Press last summer that she would consider playing with USA Basketball if she was healthy enough. She injured her quad shortly after and didn’t participate in the FIBA World Cup that the Americans won in Australia.
While Taurasi will be at the camp, Brittney Griner won’t. She is still part of the pool that the 2024 Olympic team will be chosen from, but Griner hasn’t been out in public much since a prisoner swap in December brought her home from Russia after a 10-month ordeal that captivated world attention. Griner said she plans on playing in the WNBA this year.
NBA G LEAGUE: The Maine Celtics acquired guard Tony Snell from the Available Player Pool.
Snell, 31, is the most experienced NBA player on the roster with 601 career NBA games played.
Maine also waived guard Trey Davis, who has opted to pursue overseas basketball opportunities. Davis leaves the team as the franchise leader in games played at 109. He is third all time in points scored (1,413), and second all time in assists (451) and steals (104).
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