Olympic News Roundup: Winter World University Games Off Due to COVID Variant

Periodically, SwimSwam is updating you on the biggest news around the Olympic and Paralympic world, outside of aquatic sports. Read on to learn about a major COVID-related cancellation, corruption around the Rio 2016 bid, and a suspended track star pleading her case online.

2021 Winter World University Games Canceled

The World University Winter Games are the first major sporting event to be called off due to the new COVID-19 variant.

The Games were scheduled to take place December 11-21 in Lucerne, Switzerland. The event was already postponed from January 2021, however.

The decision came after Switzerland imposed new restrictions for travelers from multiple countries where the Omicron variant has been found. Several of the participating countries like Australia and the Netherlands would have been subject to a 10-day quarantine upon entering the country.

The country is also seeing a rise in cases of COVID-19, averaging almost 7,000 new cases per day – a rate of more than 80 per 100,000 residents.

Students from more than 500 schools in 50-plus counties were set to compete, according to The Associated Press. Foreign sports officials and broadcast staff would have also faced restrictions.

“We are devastated and very sorry that we will not be able to welcome the athletes from all over the world, who have been preparing intensively for their competitions,” Guido Graf, organizing committee president, said.

The next winter event is set for 2023 in New York. The next summer event, postponed from April 2021, is scheduled to begin in China in June 2022.

Rio 2016 Boss Sentenced 30 Years For Buying Host Votes

The former head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and of the Rio 2016 organizing committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, has been sentenced to nearly 31 years in jail for buying votes for Rio to land the 2o16 Olympic Games.

Nuzman, 79, was found guilty of corruption, criminal organization, money laundering, and tax evasion, according to The Guardian. Nuzman reportedly will not go to jail until his appeals are heard.

Also sentenced by the same judge were former Rio governor Sergio Cabral, Rio 2016 director-general of operations Leonardo Gryner, and a businessman named Arthur Soares. According to investigators, the four men worked together to bribe Lamine Diack, the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federation, and his son, for votes.

Cabral — who has been jailed since 2016 due to other incidents — said two years ago that he “had paid about $2 million in exchange for up to six votes in the International Olympic Committee meeting that award Rio the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The former governor also said he paid an additional $500,000 to Diack’s son Papa Massata Diack in an attempt to get three more votes, but Diack denied the allegations. Both Diacks have been sentenced to multiple years in prison (the elder for another corruption case regarding Russian doping), but plan to appeal.

Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid were the other finalists for the 2016 Games. The investigation into the Rio vote began in 2017 after a French newspaper reported that members of the IOC were bribed days before the decision.

Suspended American Runner Starts Website, Fundraiser

Shelby Houlihan, a distance running star for the United States, started a website to make her case to the public — and garner funding — in appealing her current suspension.

Houlihan was handed a four-year suspension in January 2021 for testing positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, making her ineligible for both the 2021 and 2024 Olympic Games. She’s the American record holder in the women’s 1,500- and 5,000-meter races.

Houlihan blamed the positive test on eating a burrito contaminated with pork, because nandrolone can naturally be found in pig organs. According to Houlihan’s site, she ate a burrito (carne asada, which is beef) approximately 10 hours before her test from a Mexican food truck that also served pork that night.

The GoFundMe, called “Help Shelby fight to prove her innocence,” has a $300,000 goal and has raised over $12,500 so far. Her website, ClearShelby.com, includes supporting documents.

More than a handful of swimmers have tested positive for nandrolone in the last two decades, but it showed up more frequently pre-2009.

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10 months ago

🧑‍🎄 Ho, Ho, Omicron

Steve Nolan
10 months ago

I’m not really gonna dig into the specifics of the case because I have a whole lot of nothing else to do, but a doping defense of “I ate a beef burrito, which might have had a little pork in it, and that pork also contained steroids and those steroids showed up in such abundance to make me flunk a drug test” is next-level.

Greg Peter
10 months ago

Who would’ve thought.

10 months ago


10 months ago

Here we go again..

10 months ago

I’ve been doping with pork burritos for years but for some reason my times haven’t improved.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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