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Tale of 2 cities: Olympics sponsors in Pyeongchang and Tokyo

em>By Youkyung Lee and Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press /em> SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Winter Olympics coming to South Korea in February offer an example of the Olympian efforts often required to meet corporate sponsorship goals. Tokyo tells a different story: The coffers are already overflowing for the 2020 Summer Games. It's a tale of two cities and two Olympics — winter and summer. Pyeongchang is a little-known destination in one of South Korea's poorest provinces. It is the 'little town that could,' bidding twice unsuccessfully for the Winter Olympics before winning on its third try. A final push enabled it to reach its sponsorship target of 940 billion won ($830 million) in September, with just five months to go. Tokyo is an established global capital, and the Summer Games usually generate more excitement — and more money. Organizers have raised 300 billion yen ($2.7 billion) in sponsorship, twice any previous Olympics. International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates describes it as a remarkable achievement. The divergent experiences of two Asian host cities illustrate the challenges that smaller bidders face, as well as South Korea's dependence on the big family-owned companies that dominate its economy. Not that Tokyo is home-free. The cost of the 2020 Games has nearly doubled from initial projections. As with most Olympics, taxpayers will have to foot a good part of the bill. ___ strong>WHERE 'CHAEBOLS' RULE /strong> Starting with the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea has used mega-events such as the soccer World Cup to raise the profile of the country and its manufacturing exporters. Pyeongchang is different. The project was initiated by local politicians in an area long alienated politically and economically in South Korea's rise to prosperity. Some feared people would confuse the city's name with Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. They couldn't count on the automatic support of the huge family-run conglomerates, known as 'chaebol,' such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG. 'When such mega-events were the nation-state's key project, the chaebol were called on and were expected to become the leading participants,' said Joo Yu-min, a professor at the National University of Singapore who co-authored a book on South Korea's use of mega-events. In the end, the national government brought the conglomerates in, first in the bid process, and then for sponsorship. That underscores both the outsized role they play in the economy and their close ties with government. They owe a debt to special treatment from the government, which in turn used them to industrialize the country after the devastating 1950-53 Korean War. After Pyeongchang's bid was rejected a second time, the government called on Samsung and others to help. The president even pardoned Lee Kun-hee, the patriarch of the Samsung founding family who had been an IOC member but voluntarily suspended his membership after being indicted for tax evasion. The IOC reinstated Lee in 2010 with a reprimand and some restrictions, allowing him to lobby heavily for what became Pyeongchang's winning bid in 2011. It took three years for the organizing committee to sign its first domestic sponsor, KT Corp., the country's second-largest mobile carrier. Again, the national government asked the conglomerates for help. All the major ones signed on, after the office of then-President Park Geun-hye made a special request and multichannel pressures for financial assistance, Joo said. Elsewhere, companies may weigh sponsorship decisions based more on the marketing benefits. 'In South Korea, companies make donations out of a sense of duty that they are being part of the national event,' said Park Dong Min, the executive director overseeing membership at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Sponsors who signed up late weren't willing to give as much, because there was less time to enjoy the marketing benefits. A bank that signed on less than a year before the Games significantly reduced its sponsorship. To top it off, a massive sports-related political corruption scandal rocked South Korea in 2016, just when Pyeongchang was making last-ditch efforts to raise sponsorship. 'Companies showed some reluctance' to sponsor the Olympics, said Eom Chanwang, director of the Pyeongchang organizing committee marketing team. 'Nevertheless, they still joined.' The scandal brought down Park, the president. Lee Jae-yong, the heir to the Samsung group, received a five-year sentence for bribery. Lee, who has appealed, had become de facto chief of the Samsung group after his father Lee Kun-hee, the IOC member pardoned in late 2009, fell ill. It was the younger Lee who signed an agreement with IOC President Thomas Bach to extend Samsung Electronics' sponsorship of the Olympics globally through 2020. Samsung declined interviews for this story. With the scandal still fresh in people's minds, major companies have held back from launching full-fledged marketing to promote the Games. 'Samsung traditionally has done consumer marketing through the Olympics, but because its chief is in jail, it cannot do as much these days,' said Kim Do-kyun, a sports professor at Kyung Hee University Graduate School of Physical Education. The Pyeongchang Games were the biggest victim of the scandal, he said. ___ strong>SUMMER OF '64 /strong> The president of Japan's biggest toilet manufacturer was seven years old when the Olympics first came to Japan. TOTO Ltd. made news in 1964 for its prefabricated toilet-and-bath units that helped speed the construction of a luxury hotel, the New Otani, in time for the Games. The company, now known for high-tech toilets that baffle some foreign visitors, is back as a sponsor of Tokyo 2020. 'I feel our company and the Olympics have been bonded by fate,' TOTO president Madoka Kitamura said at a sponsorship signing ceremony at the same hotel last year. The $2.7 billion in sponsorship for Tokyo 2020 is more than three times the original estimate. By comparison, sponsorship revenue was $848 million in Rio de Janeiro last year, and about $1.2 billion for both London 2012 and Beijing 2008. The Winter Olympics typically attract less, though Sochi, Russia, raised $1.2 billion in 2014. Analysts attribute Tokyo's success to both patriotism and a sense of nostalgia for the 1964 Summer Games. They were much more than a sports contest for Japan. They were a moment of pride, marking the country's return as an industrial power after the devastation of World War II and a seven-year U.S. occupation. 'All of Japan still recognizes the unique role that the 1964 Olympics played in Japan's stepping out onto the world stage,' said Michael Payne, a former IOC marketing director who now works as a consultant. 'Many of the CEOs of top Japanese companies would have been young kids back in '64 and are very aware of the role those Games played for the psychological recovery from the Second World War.' They grew up with the high-speed 'Shinkansen' bullet train, inaugurated in 1964; modern expressways and western-style toilets, all symbols of Japan's postwar economic growth. 'Now they have become business leaders, they want to contribute and leave something behind that can be remembered for the next 50 years,' said Masahiko Sakamaki, executive director of marketing for the Tokyo organizing committee. He said that memories of the recovery may have boosted interest in sponsorship, as Japan was still reeling from a deadly 2011 earthquake and tsunami when Tokyo won the bid in 2013. Sakamaki said the organizing committee started receiving sponsorship inquiries as soon as it was established in 2014, before the official start of sponsorship contracts in 2015. There is so much interest that the IOC is allowing Tokyo to have multiple sponsors in some categories, instead of the usual one, including in aviation, newspaper publishing, electronics and banking. TOTO officials won't say how much they are contributing, but media reports say companies in its sponsorship category give between 6 billion and 15 billion yen ($53 million to $133.5 million). Tokyo 2020 wouldn't comment on those reports. 'We believe our presence as part of an all-Japan effort toward a successful Olympics will enhance our favorable brand image,' said Mariko Shibasaki, the company's senior planner for sports communication. Thanks in part to robust sponsorship revenue, the organizing committee has increased its contribution to the cost of the games from 500 billion to 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion). The sponsorship revenue makes up half of the income in the privately-run organizing committee's operating budget. Other revenue comes from the International Olympic Committee, marketing and ticket sales. The overall cost of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated at 1.4 trillion yen (12.4 billion) with the Tokyo government shouldering 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion) and the remaining 200 billion yen (1.8 billion) paid by the national government and local governments hosting events. ___ em>Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writer Stephen Wade in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this story. /em> .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnOct 12th, 2017

Passive smoking measures meet resistance – The Japan News

The gap between the government and the ruling parties over secondhand smoke prevention measures has been widening. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry aims to join the international trend toward a total indoor smoking ban by strengthening restrictions in restaurants and other places. However, cautious views on the ban against a backdrop of opposition from the restaurant industry are growing within the Liberal Democratic Party. While the government plans to submit a bill on a smoking ban during the current Diet session, whether the government and the ruling bloc can reach an agreement on the matter remains unclear. Passive smoking refers to the inhaling of smokers’ tobacco smoke by nonsmokers at restaurants, offices or other such places. It is said that the inhaling of such smoke could increase the risk of lung cancer and stroke by 1.3 times, and sudden infant death syndrome by 4.7 times. The Health Promotion Law enforced in 2003 includes moderate allowances toward the prevention of secondhand smoke, but the health ministry believes the current non-compulsory measure has limited effectiveness and is considering an amendment to the law. According to the proposed measures released by the health ministry on March 1, new regulations would include 1) a smoking ban on the premises of medical facilities, elementary and junior high and high schools, 2) an indoor smoking ban for universities, elderly care facilities, gymnasiums, government and municipal offices, buses and taxis, with designated smoking rooms not being allowed, and 3) an indoor smoking ban for assembly halls, restaurants, offices, and train cars, allowing for the establishment of smoking rooms. Smokers who violate the law would face fines of up to ¥300,000, while facility administrators would face fines of up to ¥500,000. The government aims to enforce the law before the period of the Rugby World Cup, to be held in September 2019, after a two-year get-acquainted period. The ministry’s proposed measures are in accordance with the operational guidelines of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. However, the guidelines call for indoor bans in public places and do not allow for the establishment of smoking rooms. Regarding secondhand smoke measures, Japan remains at “the lowest implementation level in the world.” The health ministry aims to “get closer to international standards before the time when the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are held in 2020.” According to the ministry, since 2008 when the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic games were held, host cities, including Pyeongchang, South Korea, which hosts the Winter Games in 2018, have introduced measures against secondhand smoke including fines and most have fully banned indoor smoking. The WHO divides public places into eight categories (medical facilities, non-university schools, universities, administrative buildings, offices, restaurants, bars and public transit), and has released a ranking of countries based on how many categories are subject to indoor smoking bans. According to the ranking, 49 out of 188 countries, including Britain, Russia and Brazil, have bans for all eight categories. Japan falls in the group of 70 countries such as Malaysia with bans for between 0 and 2 categories. Japan remains lowly ranked as it does not have a law to impose an indoor smoking ban, only having promoted separation of smoking areas. Health Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki argues: “Many advanced countries have thorough measures. We should keep in mind how Japan looks from the outside.” If the ministry’s proposed measures become law, an indoor smoking ban will apply to medical facilities, elementary, junior high and high schools, universities and public buildings. It could move Japan up one rank higher. Regarding restriction in restaurants, many countries face difficulties like Japan. For example, Berlin has introduced measures in which smoking-friendly restaurants should be less than 75 square meters, off limits to those under 18 years old, and can serve only food which does not need to be cooked to prevent children and pregnant women from entering. In South Korea, smoking is allowed only at some types of establishments such as bars. Restaurants in most countries appear to worry smoking bans may keep away customers, but the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer emphasizes, “Legal total smoking bans imposed on restaurants and bars do not lead to decreased sales and profit for them.” The health ministry’s proposed measures have polarized opinion among the ruling and opposition parties. While the “Yes” side argues that the ministry’s proposed measures are good enough, the “No” side says that smoking is a matter of manners and should not be regulated by law. “If we don’t do something, we will make a fool of ourselves in front of the world,” said Hidehisa Otsuji, a former health, labor and welfare minister and chairman of a cross-party caucus that aims to implement secondhand smoke prevention measures before the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The caucus met Shiozaki on March 15 and pressed for the strengthening of rules, arguing, “80 percent of people are non-smokers, and we should prioritize the health of the 80 percent.” It is calling for smoking bans in all restaurants, including bars and small drinking establishments known as “snacks.” However, within the LDP, supporters appear to remain in the minority, and it is believed that as much as 90 percent of LDP members are against it while just 10 percent are supporters. About 100 members from the tobacco caucus, chaired by Takeshi Noda, gathered on March 7 and insisted that “tobacco is legal, but [the health [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsApr 6th, 2017

Violinists and cheering squads: North Korea’s Olympic lineup

TOKYO --- North Korea won't be dominating any medal counts when the Winter Olympics come to Pyeongchang in South Korea next month. But it's hoping to grab as much of the spotlight as it can with what might be an Olympic first in ice hockey and a flamboyantly crowd-pleasing all-female cheering section to liven up the stands. Negotiators from the two Koreas, fighting against the clock ahead of the games' Feb. 9 start date, announced some of the key details of North Korea's plans after a day of talks Wednesday in the Demilitarized Zone that divides them. Officials from North and South will take the plan to the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland this weekend for appro...Keep on reading: Violinists and cheering squads: North Korea’s Olympic lineup.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 18th, 2018

As Olympics near, South Korea agonizes over post-Games costs

By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — South Korean officials have ruled out turning a state-of-the-art Olympic skating arena into a giant seafood freezer. Other than that, not much is certain about the country's post-Winter Games plans for a host of expensive venues. As officials prepare for the games in and around the small mountain town of Pyeongchang, there are lingering worries over the huge financial burden facing one of the nation's poorest regions. Local officials hope that the Games will provide a badly needed economic boost by marking the area as a world-class tourist destination. But past experience shows that hosts who justified their Olympics with expectations of financial windfalls were often left deeply disappointed when the fanfare ended. This isn't lost on Gangwon province, which governs Pyeongchang and nearby Gangneung, a seaside city that will host Olympic skating and hockey events. Officials there are trying hard to persuade the national government to pay to maintain new stadiums that will have little use once the athletes leave. Seoul, however, is so far balking at the idea. The Olympics, which begin Feb. 9, will cost South Korea about 14 trillion won ($12.9 billion), much more than the 8 to 9 trillion won ($7 to 8 billion) the country projected as the overall cost when Pyeongchang won the bid in 2011. Worries over costs have cast a shadow over the games among residents long frustrated with what they say were decades of neglect in a region that doesn't have much going on other than domestic tourism and fisheries. "What good will a nicely managed global event really do for residents when we are struggling so much to make ends meet?" said Lee Do-sung, a Gangneung restaurant owner. "What will the games even leave? Maybe only debt." ___ TEARING THINGS DOWN The atmosphere was starkly different three decades ago when grand preparations for the 1988 Seoul Summer Games essentially shaped the capital into the modern metropolis it is today. A massive sports complex and huge public parks emerged alongside the city's Han River. Next came new highways, bridges and subway lines. Forests of high-rise buildings rose above the bulldozed ruins of old commercial districts and slums. The legacy of the country's second Olympics will be less clear. In a country that cares much less now about the recognition that large sporting events bring, it will potentially be remembered more for things dismantled than built. Pyeongchang's picturesque Olympic Stadium — a pentagonal 35,000-seat arena that sits in a county of 40,000 people — will only be used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics before workers tear it down. A scenic downhill course in nearby Jeongseon will also be demolished after the games to restore the area to its natural state. Fierce criticism by environmentalists over the venue being built on a pristine forest sacred to locals caused construction delays that nearly forced pre-Olympic test events to be postponed. Gangwon officials want the national government to share costs for rebuilding the forest, which could be as much as 102 billion won ($95 million). ___ NO FISH Despite more than a decade of planning, Gangwon remains unsure what to do with the Olympic facilities it will keep. Winter sports facilities are often harder to maintain than summer ones because of the higher costs for maintaining ice and snow and the usually smaller number of people they attract. That's especially true in South Korea, which doesn't have a strong winter sports culture. Not all ideas are welcome. Gangwon officials say they never seriously considered a proposal to convert the 8,000-seat Gangneung Oval, the Olympic speed skating venue, into a refrigerated warehouse for seafood. Officials were unwilling to have frozen fish as part of their Olympic legacy. Gangwon officials also dismissed a theme park developer's suggestion to make the stadium a gambling venue where people place bets on skating races, citing the country's strict laws and largely negative view of gambling. A plan to have the 10,000-capacity Gangneung Hockey Center host a corporate league hockey team fell apart. Even worse off are Pyeongchang's bobsleigh track, ski jump hill and the biathlon and cross-country skiing venues, which were built for sports South Koreans are largely uninterested in. After its final inspection visit in August, the International Olympic Committee warned Pyeongchang's organizers that they risked creating white elephants from Olympic venues, though it didn't offer specific suggestions for what to do differently. Cautionary tales come from Athens, which was left with a slew of abandoned stadiums after the 2004 Summer Games that some say contributed to Greece's financial meltdown and Nagano, the Japanese town that never got the tourism bump it expected after spending an estimated $10.5 billion for the 1998 Winter Games. Some Olympic venues have proved to be too costly to maintain. The $100 million luge and bobsled track built in Turin for the 2006 games was later dismantled because of high operating costs. Pyeongchang will be only the second Olympic host to dismantle its ceremonial Olympic Stadium immediately after the games — the 1992 Winter Olympics host Albertville did so as well. ___ 'MONEY-DRINKING HIPPOS' Gangwon has demanded that the national government in Seoul pay for maintaining at least four Olympic facilities after the Games — the speed skating arena, hockey center, bobsleigh track and ski jump hill. This would save the province about 6 billion won ($5.5 million) a year, according to Park Cheol-sin, a Gangwon official. But the national government says doing so would be unfair to other South Korean cities that struggled financially after hosting large sports events. Incheon, the indebted 2014 Asian Games host, has a slew of unused stadiums now mocked as "money-drinking hippos." It would also be a hard sell to taxpayers outside of Gangwon, said Lee Jae-soon, an official from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Unlike the 1988 Olympics and the 2002 World Cup, which were brought to South Korea after bids driven by the national government, the provincial government led the bid for the Pyeongchang games and it did so without any commitment from Seoul over footing the bill. Under current plans, Gangwon will be managing at least six Olympic facilities after the games. These facilities will create a 9.2 billion won ($8.5 million) deficit for the province every year, a sizable burden for a quickly-aging region that had the lowest income level among South Korean provinces in 2013, according to the Korea Industrial Strategy Institute, which was commissioned by Gangwon to analyze costs. Hong Jin-won, a Gangneung resident and activist who has been monitoring Olympic preparations for years, said the real deficit could be even bigger. The institute's calculation is based on assumptions that each facility would generate at least moderate levels of income, which Hong says is no sure thing. He said that could mean welfare spending gets slashed to help make up the lack of money. South Korea, a rapidly-aging country with a worsening job market and widening rich-poor gap, has by far the highest elderly poverty rate among rich nations, according to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development figures. If Seoul doesn't pay for the Olympic facilities, and Gangwon can't turn them into cultural or leisure facilities, it might make more sense for Gangwon to just tear them down. Park said the national government must step up because the "Olympics are a national event, not a Gangwon event.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2017

NKorean missile frustrates SKorean Olympic preparations

By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Just when South Korea thought it was finally creating a buzz for February's Winter Olympics, North Korea fired its most powerful missile yet and re-ignited safety worries about the small mountain town that will host the games not far from the rivals' anxious border. The Pyeongchang Olympics probably aren't in jeopardy because of Wednesday's launch for a number of reasons, including that the North is unlikely to attack the more powerful, U.S.-backed South. Despite its belligerent neighbor, South Korea is also one of the safest places in the world with a wealth of experience hosting international sporting events. Still, the launch, which followed a 10-week lull, was a frustrating development for Pyeongchang's organizers, who have only recently got on track after facing construction delays, controversies over cost overruns and wary sponsors. They can also do little to calm international fears created by North Korea's accelerating nuclear weapons and missile tests. Shortly after North Korea fired the Hwasong-15 into the sea Wednesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened a national security meeting where he ordered government officials to closely review whether the launch could hurt South Korea's efforts to successfully host the Olympics, which begin on Feb. 9. South Korea wants more than a million spectators for the Olympics, which will be held just 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border, and expects 30 percent of them to be foreign visitors. Organizers have struggled for months to spark enthusiasm for the games locally, where the national conversation over the past year have been dominated by a massive a massive corruption scandal that toppled and jailed the last president and North Korea's flurry of weapons tests. Sung Baikyou, an official from Pyeongchang's organizing committee, on Thursday downplayed worries that North Korea would scare away athletes and visitors to Pyeongchang. Organizers and government officials have held briefings and site inspections for Olympics officials, members and sponsors to reassure them of South Korea's security readiness. The 92 nations that have so far registered to participate in the Pyeongchang Games represent the largest ever Winter Olympics field. And after a slow start, organizers had managed to sell more than half of the available tickets by the end of November. Sung said there hasn't been any talk with the International Olympic Committee about moving or canceling the games. "It wouldn't make sense for anyone to cancel tickets to Pyeongchang because of fears about North Korea," Sung said. "There's no war; bombs aren't being dropped on Pyeongchang." Hyun Jae-gyung, an official from Gangwon province, which governs Pyeongchang and nearby Gangneung, a coastal city that will host the skating and hockey events during the Olympics, said cancelations at hotels and other accommodation facilities in the areas have been few and sporadic and unlikely linked to security concerns. But there's nothing organizers can do if North Korea raises fears even higher with more tests. North Korea has conducted 20 ballistic missile launches just this year, and the tests are becoming increasingly aggressive; some in the South fear that Washington might consider a pre-emptive strike on the North as the intercontinental ballistic missile tested Wednesday may be able to reach anywhere in the continental United States. Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a security adviser to South Korea's presidential office, thinks it's highly unlikely that the North will do any significant weapons tests or other aggressive acts that would disrupt the Olympics. After Hwasong-15's successful flight test, delighted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared that the country has "realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force." Many experts, including Koh, believe that this suggests the country could soon consider its nuclear program as "enough" and shift the focus to its dismal economy. It would do nothing for heavily-sanctioned Pyongyang to worsen its awful reputation by creating trouble during the Olympics, Koh said. In recent government statements, including the one announced after Wednesday's missile test, North Korea has repeatedly claimed itself as a "responsible" and "peace-loving" nation, something it has been emphasizing since the United States relisted the country as a state terror sponsor, Koh said. "Even if they do conduct a missile or nuclear test during the Olympics, the games will go on as tests don't start wars. But I think there's almost no possibility that they will," said Koh. "If anything, they might have pushed hard to get their tests done before the start of the Olympics." It would help ease worries if North Korea participates in the Pyeongchang Games. While a North Korean figure skating pair qualified for the Olympics in September, it's unclear whether the North will let them compete in the South. North Korea boycotted the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea's capital Seoul and has ignored the South's proposals for dialogue in recent months. Securing North Korea's commitment to attend the Pyeongchang Games will be a critical topic at the IOC's next executive board meeting in December, which will be the last one before the start of the Olympics. The IOC has already offered to pay the costs should North Korea decide to participate, and Pyeongchang officials have been talking about granting special entries for North Korean athletes in some ice sports. Kim Kyung-hyup, a lawmaker for South Korea's ruling party, said Thursday that Seoul should consider sending a special envoy to the North to persuade it to participate in the Pyeongchang Games. Other than hoping that North Korea accepts the invitation, organizers are stuck. "If there's any other solution, tell me," Sung said. "It's not like we can jump up and catch North Korean missiles with a net.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 1st, 2017

Phelps has 'no desire' to return to swimming

em>By Paul Newberry, Associated Press /em> Michael Phelps wondered if watching others compete at the world championships would pique his desire for another comeback. Nope. Phelps said Tuesday he has 'no desire' to return to competitive swimming, but he is eager to stay involved with the sport and cheer on those who follow in his enormous wake. In an interview with The Associated Press while promoting a healthy pet food campaign, Phelps said he is excited about having his second child and building a life beyond swimming. 'For me, it's about being happy where I am and happy where my family is,' Phelps said. 'We have more goals we want to accomplish outside the sport.' It was around this time four years ago when Phelps got serious about ending his first retirement, but he now seems content with his decision to step away again after the Rio Olympics. His wife, Nicole, is about four months pregnant. The couple already have a 16-month-old son, Boomer. 'I've got no desire — no desire — to come back,' the 32-year-old Phelps said flatly. Phelps has attended a handful of swimming meets since the Rio Games, where the winningest athlete in Olympic history added to his already massive career haul by claiming five gold medals plus a silver . A few months ago, he conceded to the AP that he wasn't sure how he would feel about a possible comeback after watching the worlds in Budapest, Hungary. 'We'll see if I get that itch,' he said in April . Turns out, it had no impact. Phelps said the second-biggest meet after the Olympics 'truly didn't kick anything off or spike any more interest in coming out of retirement again.' He is excited to follow the development of his heir apparent, Caeleb Dressel, who emerged as the sport's newest star by winning seven gold medals at Budapest . The 21-year-old Floridian joined Phelps and Mark Spitz as the only swimmers to accomplish that feat at a major international meet. 'I'm happy Caeleb decided to go off this year instead of last year,' quipped Phelps, who won 23 golds and 28 medals overall in his Olympic career. 'I'm kind of happy to see him swimming so well when I'm not there.' While he still travels extensively for his many sponsors, Phelps said he's much more involved in his wife's second pregnancy than he was before Boomer's birth, when he was consumed by full-scale training for the Olympics. 'It's definitely different going through it again,' he said. Boomer, meanwhile, is a chip off the old block. 'He skipped the walking part and went right to running,' Phelps said, chuckling. 'He just scoots around the house. It's funny when we get him in the pool. He basically just splashes around the whole time. He's literally nonstop. As soon as he wakes up from a nap or his night's sleep, he's just go, go, go. There's no time for slow moving in our family. He likes to go fast. I guess that's a good thing.' Boomer is even starting to show some good form in the pool. His mom and Phelps' longtime coach, Bob Bowman, have detected a bit of the stroke that was his father's strongest. 'Nicole and Bob both say he's got a good butterfly technique that he's working on,' Phelps said. 'I guess he's seen his dad doing it a couple of times and kind of picks it up. He's also now in a stage where it's like all five senses are coming together. He feels everything, recognizes everything. It's really fun to watch, as a dad, just watching these transitions in his life.' In his latest business endeavor, Phelps is spearheading a marketing campaign for Nulo Pet Food , which he describes as a healthy alternative for dogs and cats. He's an investor in the company and accompanied in ads by his French bulldogs, Juno and Legend. 'Our bodies are like a high-performance car. You have to make sure you're putting the correct fuel in your body,' Phelps said. 'We obviously treat our pets like human beings. I'd like my animals to be fed in the right way, with good nutrition and healthy foods. If we can do that with a company that's putting good, natural ingredients into a pet food, it makes sense for me with what I'm doing in my own life. It's something that goes hand in hand.' With Dressel and Katie Ledecky now leading the American team, the U.S. is expected to remain the world's dominant swimming country heading into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Even without Phelps. 'It's time to kind of move on,' he said, 'and watch other people come into their own.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2017

IOC says North Korea to have 22 athletes in 5 Olympic sports

LAUSANNE — A Korean unity deal for the Pyeongchang Olympics will see 22 North Korean athletes cross the border with South Korea to compete and march together.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 20th, 2018

North Korea to send 22 athletes to Olympics in South

LAUSSANE, Switzerland – North Korea will send 22 athletes to next month's Winter Games in the South, the International Olympic Committee said on Saturday, January 20, approving a landmark deal between two nations still officially at war. South Korea had hoped that the Games which begin in Pyeongchang on February 9 ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 20th, 2018

Meet Asa Miller, the Philippines only delegate to Pyeongchang

Known as a tropical country, the Philippines has sent delegations to the Winter edition of the quadriennial event four times since 1972, the most recent of which was figure skater Michael Christian Martinez, who went to Sochi, Russia in 2014. Once again, our nation will have to huddle up and support the country's only Olympian this year, 17-year old Asa Miller, who will be competing in the slalom ski event. The event involves going down a slope, passing through poles and gates at the fastest time. Slalom skiing comprises of two events, slalom and giant slalom. Miller will compete in both events. Miller, a native of Portland, Oregon, first took hold of skiing when he was a toddler, and first competed when he was six. Miller currently competes for the Meadow Race Team in Mt. Hood, Oregon, where he had been competing for the past nine years. The Filipino-American, who traces his roots to his mother, competed at the FIS World Junior Championships in Sweden last year, but flopped.  “I honestly didn’t do so well, but I went more for the learning experience and the opportunity to compete in a world event," Miller told The Cardinal Times, the official publication of Lincoln High School, Miller's current school. As Miller prepares for this year's Winter Olympics, he goes to the event without financial support from the government, as he will pay for his own expenses in the whole event, ranging from plane tickets, equipment, and entry fees. Readers may donate here at his GoFundMe page, where he still has a long way before even making ends meet......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2018

Two Koreas in fresh talks on Winter Olympics

SEOUL: North and South Korea began talks Monday on appearances by Pyongyang’s state-run artistic performers at next month’s Winter Olympics in the South, after the North agreed to attend the Games. Pyongyang agreed last week to send athletes, high-level officials, and others to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, easing months of high tensions over its [...] The post Two Koreas in fresh talks on Winter Olympics appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

Rival Koreas agree to talk on art troupe’s visit to Olympics

SEOUL, South Korea --- The rival Koreas agreed Saturday that their talks next week will address a North Korean art troupe's visit to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, rather than the participation of the nation's athletes. Pyongyang wanted talks on sending its athletes and other officials to the February Olympics to be held at a later date so that Monday's talks can focus primarily on its art troupe's participation in the Games, Seoul's Unification Ministry said. The South agreed to the North's proposal, the ministry said. Officials from the two Koreas met earlier this week in the border village of Panmunjom, their first talks in more than two years. At that meeting they ...Keep on reading: Rival Koreas agree to talk on art troupe’s visit to Olympics.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 14th, 2018

Rival Koreas agree to talk on art troupe s visit to Olympics

SEOUL — The rival Koreas have agreed yesterday that their talks next week will address a North Korean art troupe's visit to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics i.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 13th, 2018

North Korea offers talk on art troupe’s visit to Olympics

SEOUL, South Korea --- South Korea said Saturday that North Korea proposed that their talks next week address a North Korean art troupe's visit to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, rather than the participation of the nation's athletes. Pyongyang wants talks on sending its athletes and other officials to the February Olympics to be held at a later date so that next Monday's talks can focus primarily on the North Korean art troupe's participation in the Games, Seoul's Unification Ministry said. Officials from the rival Koreas met earlier this week in the border village of Panmunjom, their first talks in more than two years. At that meeting they agreed to hold mili...Keep on reading: North Korea offers talk on art troupe’s visit to Olympics.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 13th, 2018

Mirai Nagasu looks toward South Korea and past Sochi snub

Figure skaters are defined by their ups and downs. If they hit their jumps, they soar in the standings, often onto the podium. If they flop, it hurts, it stings, and they head home empty. Mirai Nagasuhas known all of those ups and downs --- plus a whole lot more. Now 24, Nagasu is going to the Olympics eight years after finishing fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Games; no U.S. woman has done better since or is likely to in Pyeongchang. Her climb has been an extraordinary one even by the drama-filled standards of the sport. In 2014, Nagasu broke out of a slump and finished third at nationals behind Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds, then was unceremoniously dumped by a U.S. Figure Skating c...Keep on reading: Mirai Nagasu looks toward South Korea and past Sochi snub.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 13th, 2018

Gearing up for 2020 Olympics, Japan breaks tourism record

A record number of tourists visited Japan last year, the government said Friday, as the country gears up to welcome the world to the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Some 28.7 million foreign tourists entered Japan in 2017, meaning the country has tripled its number of visitors in the past five years amid a massive promotional drive ahead of the Olympics. This was a nearly 20 percent gain on the previous year, driven by Chinese tourists taking advantage of more frequent low-cost flights to Japan. According to figures up to November, Chinese tourists led the way with 6.79 million trips, just ahead of South Korea with 6.46 million. Tokyo has eased visa requirements, expanded...Keep on reading: Gearing up for 2020 Olympics, Japan breaks tourism record.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018

NoKor to attend Pyeongchang Olympics

SEOUL — Pyeongchang Winter Olympics organizers are entering their final preparations with renewed confidence after neighboring North Korea ended months of speculation by confirming its attendance, immediately easing fears over security and ticket sales. With one month to go, the outlook is suddenly much brighter for the “Peace Olympics,” which had been rocked by the […] The post NoKor to attend Pyeongchang Olympics appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018

S. Korea’s Moon willing to hold talks with Kim Jong-Un

SEOUL -- South Korean President Moon Jae-In said Wednesday he would be willing to sit down with the nuclear-armed North’s leader Kim Jong-Un, as the international community welcomed an agreement for Pyongyang to send its athletes to the Winter Olympics in the South. The Games in Pyeongchang next month have….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsJan 10th, 2018

Fil-Am pro cyclist tells kababayans to just keep riding

It’s Coryn Rivera’s third time in the Philippines. However, this time is just the first time the now professional cyclist took her bike out to ride around in her native land. What she saw was nothing but a pleasant surprise. “I didn’t know too much (about the cycling scene) when I got here. I was surprised because I saw around 300 cyclists in Tagaytay,” she told reporters. She then continued, “I was really impressed by that.” Along with that, the 25-year-old, said to be the only cyclist with Filipino roots to be taking part in the European circuit, is nothing but glad to see big cycling events like the one she will be participating in over the weekend. “It’s good that Pru Life UK is doing this. This is a step in the right direction for cycling as a sport here,” she said. Rivera will be riding in the upcoming PRUride PH 2018 from January 11 to 14 in Subic, Zambales. Backed by British life insurer Pru Life UK, PRUride PH 2018 is expected to be one of the biggest cycling events in the country as it will be spread over two areas and span two weekends. These kinds of events, in the professional cyclist’s view, will do nothing but ignite Filipinos’ passion for the spot – just like how her love affair with cycling began when her father would bring her along in group rides as a kid. “When I was 10, I already loved the thrill of speed. Then, I was doing group rides with my parents and their friends,” she shared. Indeed, it was riding their bikes together that was the origins of what is now a successful career for Rivera. “We rode regularly on the tandem (bike) before. Then on our group rides during weekends, she was always drafting on us,” father Wally said. He then continued, “She fell down many times, but she got up many times and just kept following us.” From there, it was clear that cycling was going to be a big part of Coryn’s life. So much so that the five-foot-three American cyclist with Filipino blood has her sights set on the biggest competition of them all. As she put it, “Definitely, my eyes are on the Tokyo 2020 (Olympics).” Together with that high hope, Rivera said she will also make it a point to help her kababayans share her passion for the sport. Asked if she’s planning to visit the Philippines more frequently, she answered, “For sure, especially after seeing how many cyclists there are here. It’s just really exciting to see that.” She then continued, “That’s why I want to continue inspiring people to ride more. The weather here is so nice so it’s a great place to ride.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2018

North Korea to send team to Winter Games

SEOUL — North Korea said during rare talks with the South on Tuesday it would send a delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea next month and Seoul said it was prepared to lift some sanctions temporarily so the visit could take place. At the first formal talks with South Korea in more […] The post North Korea to send team to Winter Games appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJan 9th, 2018

Seoul: North Korea to send delegation to Olympics in South

By Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea agreed Tuesday to send a delegation to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, Seoul officials said, as the bitter rivals sat for rare talks at the border to discuss how to cooperate in the Olympics and improve their long-strained ties. The Koreas' first talks in two years were arranged after North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un recently made an abrupt push for improved ties with South Korea after a year of elevated tensions with the outside world over his expanding nuclear and missile programs. Critics say Kim may be trying to divide Seoul and Washington in a bid to weaken international pressure and sanctions on the North. During the talks, the North Korean delegation said it would send an Olympic delegation, which includes officials, athletes, cheerleaders, journalists and others, South Korea's Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung told reporters, according to media footage from the border village of Panmunjom, the venue for the talks. The South Korean delegation, for its part, proposed North Korea send a big delegation and conduct a joint march during the Feb. 9-25 Game's opening and closing ceremonies, Chun, one of the five South Korean negotiators, said. He said South Korea also suggested resuming temporary reunions of families separated by war and offering military talks designed to reduce animosities in frontline areas. South Korea also stressed the need to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Chun said. North Korea responded by saying the two Koreas must try to promote peace and reconciliation through dialogue, he said. The two sides were to continue their negotiations later Tuesday at Panmunjom, the only place on the tense border where North and South Korean soldiers are just feet away from each other. A North Korean soldier late last year defected to the South across Panmunjom amid a hail of bullets fired by his comrades. He was hit five times but survived. The meeting began with an amicable atmosphere Tuesday morning, with chief North Korean delegate Ri Son Gwon saying he hopes the talks would give "a New Year's first gift — precious results (of the talks) to the Korean nation." Ri's South Korean counterpart, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, said he also hopes they would come up with a "good gift" for people in both Koreas. The overall prospect for the negotiations was still unclear. The two Koreas have a long history of ending key talks without any agreement and failing to follow through with rapprochement accords. An agreement on the North's Olympic participation had been widely expected before the talks began, but the Koreas remain sharply at odds over how to improve their overall ties. North Korea is expected to demand rewards in return for South Korea's offer for family reunions and military talks, like Seoul halting propaganda broadcasts and scaling back or halting military drills with the U.S., observers say. Suspension of the military drills would be unacceptable for Seoul because that would seriously undermine the alliance with its chief ally the United States, which wants to put more pressures on Pyongyang. The North views the drills as a rehearsal for a northward invasion. President Donald Trump on Saturday expressed hope for some progress from the talks and said he was open to talking with Kim himself. But U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley later said the U.S. administration isn't changing its conditions regarding talks with North Korea, saying Kim would first need to stop weapons testing for a "significant amount of time." In his New Year's Day address, Kim said there is an urgent need to improve inter-Korean ties and that he is willing to send a delegation to the Pyeongchang Games. He urged Seoul to halt the military drills with the U.S. and said he has a "nuclear button" to launch missiles at any target in the United States. South Korean liberal President Moon Jae-in, who favors dialogue as a way to defuse the North Korean nuclear standoff, welcomed Kim's outreach and proposed talks at Panmunjom. Kim quickly accepted. "As President Moon has said, the improvement of relations between North and South Korea cannot advance separately from resolving North Korea's nuclear program," Brian Hook, a chief adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, told reporters in a conference call late Monday Washington time. "And so, we remain focused on our global pressure campaign. That campaign is designed to bring Kim Jong Un to the table for meaningful negations." The Trump administration agreed last week to delay springtime military drills with South Korea until after the Games. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis insisted the delay was a practical necessity to accommodate the Olympics, not a political gesture. Trump and Kim traded bellicose warlike rhetoric and even crude insults last year, as the North conducted it sixth and most powerful nuclear detonation and three tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The International Olympic Committee said Monday it has "kept the door open" for North Korea to take part in the Games. IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the registration deadline has been extended and that the Switzerland-based committee supports North Korean athletes in the qualification process, while respecting U.N. sanctions against North Korea......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2018

Bradie Tennell wins US figure skating title with near-flawless performance

LOS ANGELES, USA - Bradie Tennell won her first US ladies' figure skating title on Friday, January 5 (Saturday Manila time) with a near-flawless performance that is all but sure to earn her a trip to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next month. Tennell, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 6th, 2018