The Week That Was: Russia Wants Doping Ban Dropped So Sports Can “Be Together” in Coronavirus Crisis

Will we see the Russian flag flying in Tokyo? The sports minister wants that to happen so sports can reunite the world amidst the coronavirus crisis in Tokyo. Photo Courtesy: FINA / Budapest 2019

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The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to cause the rest of the world to be quarantined in their homes so there has not been a lot of news lately. The Russia Sports Minister wants the doping ban on his country lifted so sports can come together when the Olympic Games happen next summer. The country was barred from flying its flag at international competitions for the next four years because of evidence from a systematic doping system.

As far as the coronavirus goes, Olympic champions Federica Pellegrini and Adam Peaty have come forward to raise money for the relief fund by auctioning off their respective equipment from their gold medal winning swims. Pellegrini is auctioning off her goggles from her 2008 swim and Peaty is auctioning off his suit he wore on his way to gold in Rio.

Read below the five biggest stories in the Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Week That Was #5: USA Swimming Sets Dates For 2021 Olympic Trials


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Dan D’Addona

Following unprecedented events around the globe, including the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and many of the associated qualifying competitions, USA Swimming today announced that it has rescheduled its 2020 U.S. Olympic  Trials – Swimming to June 13-20, 2021 at the CHI Health Center Omaha, in Omaha, Nebraska.

The rescheduled Olympic Trials will be the sole qualifier for pool swimmers on the U.S. Olympic Team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan in July 2021. The 2021 Olympic Trials event schedule will remain the same across the 15-session, eight-day event.

“We are incredibly thankful to the USOPC, NBC, the Omaha Sports Commission, the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority and every other partner involved in successfully moving an event of this magnitude to new dates that will best prepare our team to succeed in Tokyo in 2021,” USA Swimming Chief Operating Officer Mike Unger said. “Fans can expect to witness the same incredible level of competition and entertainment throughout this highly-anticipated event.”

#4: Federica Pellegrini to Auction Goggles Worn in 2008 Gold Medal Swim to Raise Money For Coronavirus Battle


Federica Pellegrini in 2008. Photo Courtesy: Reuters / Swimming World Archive

By Liz Byrnes, Europe Correspondent

Federica Pellegrini will auction off the goggles she wore when she won 200m freestyle gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing to raise funds for the battle against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Italian has contributed 59 items including sports memorabilia, designer clothes and signed pictures for an online auction on Tuesday 14 April with all the money raised going to the Pope John XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, the epicentre of the outbreak in Italy.

Pellegrini’s auction follows the raffle by Adam Peaty of the suit he wore en-route to winning 100m breaststroke gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Peaty raised more than $16,000 (£13,000) for the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain.

The Week That Was #3: Bruce Furniss Set to be Released From Hospital After Heart Attack

Bruce Furniss

Photo Courtesy: Swimming World

By Matthew De George

This update was posted by Bruce Furniss’s family on April 9:

Good News – Our prayers have been answeredWe just heard from Sharon [Bruce’s wife] that Bruce is coming home today!  It has been another rapid recovery in this roller-coaster experience.  Sharon reported this morning she received a call from Bruce this morning: “Sharon, if they and you don’t discharge me, I will sign myself out.”  Bruce said he is much better: no longer in pain and his breathing is much better.  He even got himself out of bed this morning.

Sharon conferred with the doctors who said Bruce was “good to go”.  Our husband, father, brother, uncle, cousin and friend is coming home!  I give thanks to God.

Olympic gold medalist and swimming hall of famer Bruce Furniss had been hospitalized after suffering a severe heart attack on March 30, according to his family.

#2: Tokyo 2020 CEO Says There’s No Guarantee The Games Will Go On in 2021


By Liz Byrnes, Europe Correspondent

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto admits there are no guarantees that the rescheduled Olympic Games will go ahead as planned next year as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world.

The International Olympic Committee postponed the Games for the first time in their history last month as the death toll rose daily.

Olympic trials worldwide and sports events were cancelled and lockdown in many countries meant there was no access to training facilities and postponement was inevitable.

The IOC then announced the Games would take place from  23 July-8 August, a delay of a year minus one day, with  the Paralympic Games also announced as running from 24 August until 5 September 2021.

In a remote teleconference reported by the Associated Press, Muto spoke through a translator, saying:

“I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not.

”We’re certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer.”

He added:

“We have made the decision to postpone the games by one year. So this means that all we can do is work hard to prepare for the games. We sincerely hope that come next year mankind will manage to overcome the coronavirus crisis.”

The Week That Was #1: Russia Sports Minister Wants Olympic Ban Dropped


Yulia Efimova, one of Russia’s medal hopes if she is allowed to compete in Tokyo. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Craig Lord

Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin suggests that Russia can help bailout other nations more stricken and facing economic hardship after containment measures end by taking over the hosting of international sports events cancelled and postponed elsewhere. Under the current Olympic ban, Russia is barred from hosting certain categories of international sports events.

There is no mention from Matytsin of the challenging times Russian cheating imposed on fellow members of the sports community as a result of systematic doping of athletes. His comments come two weeks after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were postponed until 2021 because of the global health pandemic.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) barred Russia from the Olympic Games for four years after investigations revealed that doping data from the  Moscow laboratory accredited by WADA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), had been manipulated.

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