Sync Up: October 15, 2023

It’s been a busy few weeks since the last Sync Up, especially on the IOC side but we also have some team news, good or puzzling, comebacks and retirements.

Los Angeles 2028

The IOC Executive Board (EB) has put forward the addition of five sports for these Games: squash, baseball/softball, lacrosse, cricket and flag football (I know). These decisions are all set for approval on the second day of the IOC Session tomorrow (October 16).

The Los Angeles 2028 discipline programme was also discussed and finalized by the IOC EB. The IOC received requests to add 16 new disciplines to the programme. These 16 disciplines were evaluated under three criteria: Whether they require a new venue , whether they require quota increases, and whether they are a replacement of existing disciplines or events.

Of the 16, only Beach Sprint Rowing was accepted. It will replace the Lightweight Double Sculls events at the Olympic Games. Where am I going with this and why am I talking about rowing, you may ask?

Well, because as the IOC writes in its press release: “Following a holistic review of all existing and new disciplines proposed by the respective International Federations with sports on the LA28 programme, only one change has been made to the discipline programme compared to Paris 2024, with beach sprint rowing, a format of the coastal rowing discipline, included on the Olympic programme for the first time.”

So. This is… not looking great for mixed duets at the Olympics in 2028. At least as a separate medal event in artistic swimming.

On top of it, the new sports listed above will push the Games over the IOC’s 10,500-athlete limit. Even the IOC’s Sports Director admitted it. And, while they are promising to try to limit the increase, they also claim they will try to limit the impact on existing sports…

[Narrator: There will almost certainly be more quota cuts.]


In other IOC news

The IOC has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) with immediate effect.

This suspension is not directly a response to the invasion of Ukraine. Rather, it is to some administrative shithousery by Russia, which tried to legitimize its hold on the four regions it annexed (Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia). The ROC decided to include these regions’ sports organizations as its members, although they are under the authority of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Ukraine. The IOC said no, because that “violates the territorial integrity of the NOC of Ukraine”. Invading countries and starting a war is one thing, but we draw the line at abusing the administrative process.

Anyways as a result, the ROC cannot receive any funding from the Olympic movement any more. An updated decision regarding the neutral athletes for 2024 and 2026 has not been made.

Road to the Pan American Games

  • Canada has named the nine-athlete squad that will head down to Chile soon: Sydney Carroll, Scarlett Finn, Audrey Lamothe, Jonnie Newman, Raphaelle Plante, Kenzie Priddell, Claire Scheffel, Florence Tremblay and Olena Verbinska.
  • In more surprising news, the country will debut a brand new duet in Santiago, made of Audrey Lamothe and Olena Verbinska. On paper, this is a solid pairing as both athletes have similar strengths. Lamothe, 18, has been the country’s soloist for the past two seasons. Verbinska, 15, sky-rocketed to the senior team for 2023 after winning bronze in duet and placing fourth in solo at the 2022 World Youth Championships.
  • Colombia‘s team includes: Monica Arango, Kelly Barrera, Sara Estefania Castaneda, Melissa Ceballos, Jennifer Cerquera, Isabella Franco, Sarah Beatriz Rodriguez, Gustavo Sanchez and Estefania Roa. This is a strong squad as Arango, Ceballos, Cerquera (her third Pan Ams!), Sanchez and Roa all have World Championships experience. Arango is also a two-time Olympian.
  • Chile‘s team is made of: Nicolas Campos, Trinidad Garcia, Soledad Garcia, Theodora Garrido, Isidora Letelier, Antonia Mella, Josefa Morales, Valentina Valdivia and Rocio Vargas.
  • This means that at least three men (Nicolas Campos – Chile, Bill May – USA, Gustavo Sanchez – Colombia), will swim in the team routines at the Pan American Games, where they are allowed for the first time.

Greece’s national team

The Greek federation posted its latest national team convocation mid-September. Without listing every names, it’s a surprising one at this point in the Olympic cycle as it includes a lot of junior and even youth athletes.

But even more shockingly, Eleni Fragkaki and Krystalenia Gialama are not on the list. The two have been pillars of this senior team since 2019, competing in three World and European Championships. They never missed a beat, and were always part of the team routines in any age group, as they often competed in the youth and junior categories simultaneously. Both were also named to the Tokyo Olympic Games team.

Leaving out two of your most experienced swimmers only a few months before the Olympic Games qualifiers is certainly an interesting strategy. Either way, Fragkaki and Gialama are not going away quietly. They have given numerous interviews in Greek media to explain their situation, and the lack of sound justifications that would explain their expulsion from the squad.

You can read more about it here (both), here (Fragkaki), and here (Gialama).

Comebacks and Goodbyes

  • Two-time Olympian Jacqueline Simoneau of Canada has announced her return to artistic swimming. She hasn’t competed since the Tokyo Olympics, and aims to be back for the Doha World Championships in February. She is not eligible for the Pan American Games, as she has to first spend six months in the anti-doping pool and pass two drug tests before competing (a requirement for all athletes coming out of retirement).
  • Daniella Lloyd of Great Britain has announced her retirement. She competed in the 2022 and 2023 World Championships as well as the 2018, 2021, 2022 and 2023 European Championships. Lloyd also served as the reserve to Great Britain’s duet in 2021.

Miermont Watch

  • Stephan Miermont traveled to Savona to work on new choreographies with the Italian national team

Calendar Update

Literally none. No, we still don’t know where or when the European Championships are. Nor the World Junior Championships. Nor the World Cups. I’ve got nothing.


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