LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP): The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has seen “no evidence” so far to support allegations of possible bribery in the bidding for the 2016 and 2020 Games, an IOC spokesman said yesterday. The IOC said it has applied to be a party to the investigation by French authorities into corruption in track and field that could spread to possible bribery in Olympic bidding. The IOC said it was in “close contact” with French prosecutors, who have been investigating bribery and money-laundering involving doping cover-ups at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The Guardian newspaper reported yesterday that the prosecutors have widened the probe to include the bidding for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, which were awarded to Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. “The IOC has been in close contact with the French prosecutors since the beginning of this investigation last year,” the Olympic body said in a statement. “The IOC’s chief ethics and compliance officer had already asked for the IOC to be fully informed in a timely manner of all issues that may refer to Olympic matters and has already applied to become a party to the investigations led by the French judicial authorities.” IOC spokesman Mark Adams, speaking to reporters, said no proof of any Olympic wrongdoing had been uncovered to date. “At the moment, there is no evidence,” he said. “We have the structure in place. We have an independent ethics commission. But so far there is no evidence. When we get evidence, we have shown we will act on it. “It is any easy thing to talk about, but no one has any evidence,” Adams added. “There is nothing that has been put forward to us. At the moment, there is nothing to act on.” The Guardian reported in January that it had seen leaked e-mails linking the son of former IAAF President Lamine Diack to alleged “parcels” to be delivered to six IOC members during the bidding for the 2016 Games. The British newspaper said the e-mails were sent by Papa Massata Diack to a Qatari business executive in May 2008. The Qatari capital, Doha, was bidding for the 2016 Olympics at the time. The Guardian said the email suggested that six people, referred to by their initials which corresponded with six IOC members at the time, requested “to have their parcels delivered through Special Adviser in Monaco”. The paper said the “special adviser” was believed to be Lamine Diack, who was then an IOC member. The Guardian said it wasn’t known whether any “parcels” were sent. In any case, a month after the email was sent, Doha failed to make the list of finalists in the 2016 bidding. Papa Massata Diack was banned for life by the IAAF ethics commission in January for corruption and cover-up allegations linked to Russian doping. He has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Papa Massata Diack is also wanted for questioning by prosecutors in France. Interpol has issued a wanted notice for him to face corruption charges in France. The elder Diack, who headed the IAAF for 16 years until he stepped down in August, is accused by French prosecutors of pocketing more than 1 million euros ($1.1 million) from bribes in exchange for covering up doping cases, mainly involving Russian athletes. Lamine Diack resigned as an honorary IOC member in November, a day after he was provisionally suspended by the IOC executive board. He served as a full IOC member for 15 years until 2014.
VANCOUVER – People with spinal cord injuries now have a set of exercise guidelines for maintaining heart health to match those offered to the general population decades ago.Kathleen Martin Ginis, a researcher at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, led an international committee that recommends 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise, three times a week, for people with spinal cord injuries.That’s compared with 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every week for others, as recommended by the World Health Organization.Martin Ginis said the new guidelines are in addition to recommendations she helped come up with in 2011 for people with spinal cord injuries through her work at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.She will present her latest research on Thursday in Dublin at the annual meeting of the International Spinal Cord Society.Martin Ginis worked with a team that included participants from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy and the United States. Their research will be published this week in the journal Spinal Cord.Besides her own work, the team analyzed 211 studies examining the effects exercise on cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, bone health, body composition and cardiovascular risk factors for people with spinal cord injuries.That population faces significant barriers when it comes to exercise, starting with transportation if they aim to get to a gym, let alone trying to navigate their wheelchairs on sidewalks without ramps, Martin Ginis said in an interview from Dublin.Gyms often exclude people with disabilities, but could accommodate them with adaptable equipment and knowledgeable staff, she said.“If there are ways to get into a facility there are ways to adapt standard exercise equipment for people with spinal cord injuries, at least for strength training,” Martin Ginis said.“We’ve got lots of anecdotal accounts of people with spinal cord injuries being turned away because the people at the gyms or the recreation centres don’t know what to do with them.”People with disabilities often have to pay extra if they come with an assistant to help them with equipment, she said.Martin Ginis called the Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ont., the “gold standard” of gyms because of its inclusive programming that includes arm ergometers, or so-called arm bikes, included in spin classes.“It means they don’t have to request for someone to pull an arm ergometer in and make a big fuss out of it. The aerobics classes are integrated classes so people with all abilities will take an exercise class together with the same instructor,” she said.The centre was a special project of former Conservative finance minister Jim Flaherty, whose son John had health challenges after contracting encephalitis as an infant.Martin Ginis said about six gyms in Canada are dedicated to people with spinal cord injuries, in cities including Vancouver, Calgary, Hamilton and St. Catharines, Ont., and that most are affiliated with universities.Brad Skeats, 43, works out at the Physical Activity Research Centre gym, a Vancouver facility led by researchers at the International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries, or ICORD.His spinal cord was injured 20 years ago when he worked in a sporting goods store and a co-worker ran up from behind and tried to piggy back himself for fun.“It was a pretty crazy, flukey accident. He landed on me the wrong way and that snapped my neck.”Skeats, who went on to compete in wheelchair racing from 2000 to 2010, has a personal trainer and works out three times a week at the dedicated gym that was built in 2012.Finding accessible space was a big challenge before that, even for someone with a sports background, he said.Jasmin Ma, who collects data at the ICORD gym as a PhD student and is a personal trainer for people with spinal cord injuries, said some of her clients are surprised to hear they would be able to do aerobic exercise.“There are a lot of fabulous ways you can do an exercise. It’s just a matter of finding out how you can do it for your specific situation.”She said people who may not have grip strength, for example, could use grip-resistant gloves or “active hands.”— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.