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18.09.2018 12:36
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MOSCOW -- The International Olympic Committee is weighing up whether to ban Russia from next months games in Rio de Janeiro after revelations of a massive doping cover-up, but relations between the two were once much sunnier.When IOC president Thomas Bach was elected in 2013, he was called almost immediately by Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country was then gearing up to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Bach, a former fencer from Germany, took the call as his IOC colleagues waited to continue the proceedings.What the two men spoke about isnt known, though they had more in common than a shared interest in the Sochi Olympics, which have since been overshadowed by allegations that Russian officials colluded to sabotage the drug testing laboratory at the games.Putin is a keen athlete, with judo and ice hockey his favorite sports, while Bach has longstanding sports and personal links to Russia.Those links will be tested after World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren alleged top Russian officials including Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, a close Putin ally, had personally intervened to cover up hundreds of failed drug tests.The IOCs executive board meets Sunday and is expected to provide final confirmation for a ban on the Russian track and field team. The board said earlier this week it will explore the legal options for banning all Russians from the games, across all sports, following what Bach called a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sports and on the Olympic Games.At an IOC event three days before the opening of the Sochi Olympics, with Putin in attendance, Bach thanked the Russian president in person for his great commitment to the games and for the way he set the pace in this great endeavor.Bach also addressed the subject of doping, praising what he said were tough IOC rules. The fight for the clean athletes, this should be our motto, Bach said. Fighting for the clean athletes means we have to protect them from doping, any kind of manipulation and related corruption.Bach has been a regular visitor to Russia in his three years as head of the IOC, both before and after the Sochi Olympics. Putin has also shown himself willing to travel to improve contacts with the IOC, giving a well received speech in 2007 in Guatemala -- delivered in English, which is rare for Putin -- ahead of the vote which gave Sochi the 2014 Olympics.Since he won Olympic gold in 1976, Bachs chosen sport of fencing has been transformed, most recently by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, a Putin ally who has pumped large sums of his own money into the sport over eight years as president of the International Fencing Federation.That money has increased the profile of one of the more niche sports on the Olympic program, making for a bigger media presence and glitzier competitions.Bach also has business connections in Russia. After becoming president of the IOC, he kept his other role as chairman of the supervisory board of Weinig, a Germany company which produces woodworking machinery. Weinig, which did not respond to requests for comment, has a strong presence in Russia, with a headquarters near Moscow and offices across the country.Besides Bach, several other influential IOC members have long been sympathetic to Russia.Putin was presented with world swimmings highest honor last year by federation head Julio Maglione, who has yet to comment on McLarens allegations that Russian officials sabotaged the testing program at its world championships last year. Ice hockey federation president Rene Fasel is a friend of Mutko and regular visitor to Moscow.Patrick Hickey, an Irish member of the IOCs executive board, has been trying to persuade the Russian government to host the 2019 European Games in his other role as head of the European Olympic Committees.The European Games have run into trouble after a much-criticized debut edition in Azerbaijan last year and the decision of the Netherlands to pull out of hosting the next games in 2019. Tuesdays IOC statement on the McLaren report said the IOC would no longer organize or give patronage to the European Games if held in Russia.Other IOC board members, however, harbor less sympathy for Russia. WADA, which wants Russias entire team banned from Rio, also has its president Craig Reedie on the IOC board. Nike Air Max Womens White . In what the team had called a retirement, Ryan said Thursday that he is resigning as chief executive of the Rangers in a move effective at the end of this month. Nike Air Max Womens Red . Los Angeles star goalie survived those perilous gymnastics with no problem, and he eventually backstopped the Kings to a skid-snapping win. Quick stopped 27 shots in his return from a 24-game injury absence, Jeff Carter scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:55 to play, and the Kings snapped their five-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night. . -- Arizona knocked off some quality opponents, rolled over a few overmatched ones and grinded out victories even when things didnt go so well. Nike Air Max Womens Discount . Carey Price didnt, but he still came out on top against one of his rivals for the No. 1 job at the Sochi Games. The Anahim Lake, B.C., native was stellar in making 39 saves in his home province and Lars Eller got credit for a bizarre short-handed winner as the Canadiens defeated the Canucks 4-1. Nike Air Max Womens 90 . LOUIS -- Attorneys for the St. NORMAN, Okla. -- There is good news and bad news for Oklahomas defense heading into Saturdays showdown with Ohio State.The good? The Sooners faced a system much like Ohio States version of the spread offense two weekends ago when they faced Houston, which is coached by former Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman.The bad? Oklahoma got gouged in the first half of the 33-23 loss to the Cougars.The 14th-ranked Sooners must be better against the third-ranked Buckeyes.They have a lot of similarities, of course, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. Each will do a few things a little bit different, but overall theres a lot of carry over.Perhaps the biggest difference between Houston and Ohio State is that the Buckeyes focus on the run more offensively. Houston hurt Oklahoma through the air, passing for 321 yards and rushing for just 89. Ohio State has averaged 313.5 yards rushing and 283 yards passing in its first two games.It gets down to what they emphasize with their schemes, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. Theres a lot of similarities, but yet, theres a lot of differences in how they utilize their personnel.Still, the foundation is the same. Oklahoma linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo said having faced Houston will help his teammates feel more comfortable.You can react faster, he said. You know whats coming. Stuff like that.The Sooners also should benefit from having faced a talented dual-threat quarterback. Houstons Greg Ward Jr. didnt rush for many yards against the Sooners, but his elusiveness created problems. He threw 40 passess and was sacked just twice.dddddddddddd J.T. Barrett, Ohio States dual-threat quarterback, has run 22 times for 85 yards and three touchdowns this season for Ohio State.Theres some advantage there in that weve dealt with a guy who is similar, Bob Stoops said. We can try and tweak some things that you thought you could have done better. The other side of that is they got to see how you want to play it. They will make their adjustments as well.Oklahoma was successful making adjustments against Houston. The Sooners surrendered 337 yards in the first half, but just 83 in the second.Oklahomas defense took another step forward during a 59-17 win over Louisiana-Monroe last Saturday. The Sooners led 42-0 at halftime, and controlled the game defensively, aside from a few breakdowns. Stoops said the Sooners didnt hurt themselves as much last week and were in position to make plays more often.The competition is going to be different, Bob Stoops said. But still, like I said, when you still make plays that you are capable of making, it is still a positive.Regardless how much the Sooners learned against Houston, Mike Stoops knows Ohio States exceptional talent will be hard to deal with.Theres challenges all over the place when you play them, he said. Theyve got answers for a lot of things. 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