Global sports round-up
LONDON – The head of the International Olympics Committee has again rejected calls for a moment of silence during the London Games’ opening ceremony to honour Israeli Olympians killed in a terror attack at the 1972 Games.
“We feel that the Opening Ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident,” Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, has said.
Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, condemned that stance yesterday as “unfeeling” and “completely out of touch.”
More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition calling for a moment of silence in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches killed by Palestinian militants at the games in Munich, Germany, 40 years ago. A German policeman and five of the attackers also died.
President Barack Obama supports the campaign, the White House has indicated.
Harsh penalties for Penn State football
PENNSYLVANIA – The governing body of U.S. college sports took sweeping, unprecedented action against Penn State University’s revered football program today in response to a child sex abuse scandal, fining the school BDS$120 million and voiding the team’s victories for the past 14 seasons.
The school was not given the so-called “death penalty” that could have suspended its football program but it was banned from post-season bowl games for four years and had the number of scholarships available to players reduced from 25 to 15.
Penn State officials were accused of not taking action after being alerted to child sex abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The scandal tainted one of college football’s leading coaches, the late Joe Paterno, and led to his firing last year along with other top school officials.
The punishment, announced by the National College Athletic Association at a news conference in Indianapolis, was unprecedented for its swiftness and breadth. It was the latest body blow to an institution still reeling from the child molestation conviction last month of Sandusky, who was a long-time assistant coach under Paterno.
Syrians make it to London Games
LONDON – Syrian athletes have arrived in London and will compete at the 2012 Olympic Games, an International Olympic Committee official said today, ending uncertainty about whether the team would be able to participate with fighting raging at home.
Pere Miro, who is in charge of relations with national Olympic committees, said “some officials” were not among those who arrived, which may avoid diplomatic embarrassment for Britain which is seeking to distance itself from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Assad has drawn international condemnation over the escalating conflict with rebels, which has spilled into an all-out civil war.