SwimSwam will periodically update you on the biggest news around the Olympic and Paralympic world, outside of aquatic sports. Catch up on the latest with the Tokyo bribery scandal, the Paris 2024 ticket lottery, the top-ranked women’s tennis player’s thoughts about the IOC’s stance on Russia, and more.
One of the main businessmen involved in the Tokyo Olympic bribery scandal was found guilty on Friday, but his 2.5-year prison sentence was suspended for four years by a Tokyo District Court judge.
A suspended sentence delays imposing the penalty and allows the defendant to serve time on probation.
Hironori Aoki, the founder of suit manufacturer Aoki Holdings, was found guilty of paying 28 million yen ($209,000) in bribes to a member of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee in exchange for being picked as a sponsor for Japan’s team. His brother, Takahisa Aoki, and former executive director Katsuhisa Ueda were given 12-month and 18-month sentences, respectively, but judge Kenji Yasunage suspended them both for four years.
According to the Kyodo News, Yasunage said the three former Aoki officials “harmed society’s trust in the fair management of the Tokyo Games.” Before the Tokyo Olympic bribery scandal, Sapporo was considered the favorite to host the 2030 Winter Games. Now there’s a chance the city pushes its bid back to 2034.
Fifteen people have been indicted in connection with the bribery scandal, which was allegedly led by former Dentsu executive Haruyuki Takahashi, but Friday’s verdicts marked the first official rulings in this saga. Takahashi’s trial hasn’t begun yet.
Takahashi’s Dentsu company did marketing for the Tokyo Olympics, helping the organizing committee raise more than $3 billion from over 60 local sponsors — at least double the previous record.
4 million entered in Paris Olympic ticket lottery
The Paris 2024 Olympic organizing committee announced on Friday that four million lottery applications were submitted for the latest ticket draw, which begins May 11. Winners will know early next month whether they were chosen for a 48-hour time slot to purchase tickets.
After the sale concludes in June, organizers expect another 1.3 million tickets to be sold. More than three million tickets were sold during the first phase of sales ending March 15, meaning that only slightly more than half of the 10 million total tickets will still be available after the latest phase.
The most expensive ticket is priced at $2,960 for a prime view of the opening ceremony along the River Seine. The cheapest tickets for all other events are going for just $26. The latest draw will also include tickets for the men’s basketball final on Aug. 10, which could feature French sensation Victor Wembanyama, ranging from $137 to $1,076.
Top tennis player confused by IOC’s stance on Russian participation
The top-ranked women’s tennis player in the world, 21-year-old Polish star Iga Swiatek, said she’s confused why the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has shifted its stance toward allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete internationally as neutrals when “nothing has changed in Ukraine.”
“Many Ukrainian athletes are fighting in the war and losing their lives,” Swiatek said. “It’s heartbreaking.
The IOC has yet to make a final decision regarding Russian and Belarusian participation at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“I just hope no matter what the decision is going to be, the sport will be able to kind of put people together and not separate them,” Swiatek said. “But there are tensions, so it may be tricky and hard to do.”
Days after the IOC softened its stance toward Russians and Belarusians this year, Wimbledon officials removed their ban and cleared the way for top players such as Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and Aryna Sabalenka to compete at this year’s tournament in July.
Germany creates panel to review 1972 Munich Massacre
After paying victims’ relatives $30.7 million ahead of the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Massacre last September, Germany has formed a group of international experts tasked with re-investigating the events surrounding the attack.
“For too many years, there was a lack of understanding or reappraisal of the events, transparency about them or acceptance of responsibility for them,” German interior minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement on Friday. “It is particularly important to me for their work to also thoroughly address the treatment of the family members after the attack.”
The widow of Israeli fencing coach Andre Spitzer, Ankie Spitzer, said on behalf of the victims’ families that they “are very pleased that our request to open the archives and establish a commission of historians has been honored.”
“We are grateful to the distinguished members of the commission that they are willing to re-examine the murderous attack and its aftermath,” Spitzer said. “This is of the utmost importance to the families and hopefully will bring justice to history.”