Russia Banned From Winter Olympics by I.O.C.

The Russian delegation at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Olympic officials ruled on Tuesday that Russia is not allowed to participate, as a country, in the 2018 Winter Games. Credit Adrian Dennis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Russia’s Olympic team has been barred from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound.

Any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals.

That was the punishment issued Tuesday to the proud sports juggernaut that has long used the Olympics as a show of global force but was exposed for systematic doping in previously unfathomable ways. The International Olympic Committee, after completing its own prolonged investigations that reiterated what had been known for more than a year, handed Russia penalties for doping so severe they were without precedent in Olympics history.

The ruling was the final confirmation that the nation was guilty of executing an extensive state-backed doping program. The scheme was rivaled perhaps only by the notorious program conducted by East Germany throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.

Now the sports world will wait to see how Russia responds. Some Russian officials had threatened to boycott if the I.O.C. delivered such a severe punishment.

President Vladimir V. Putin seemed to predict a boycott of the Pyeongchang Games with a defiant dismissal of the doping scandal and a foreign policy in recent years that has centered on the premise that he has rescued Russia from the humiliation inflicted on it by the West after the collapse of the Soviet Union. His spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said no boycott was under discussion before the announcement, however, and the news broke late in the evening in Moscow when an immediate official reaction was unlikely.

In barring Russia’s team, Olympic officials left the door open for some Russian athletes. Those with histories of rigorous drug testing may petition for permission to compete in neutral uniforms. A panel appointed by the International Olympic Committee will rule on each athlete’s eligibility.

Although it is unknown exactly how many will clear that bar, it is certain that the contingent from Russia will be depleted significantly. Entire sports — such as biathlon and cross-country skiing, in which Russia has excelled and in which its drug violations have been many — could be wiped out completely.

Olympic officials made two seemingly significant concessions to Russia:

Any of its athletes competing under a neutral flag will be referred to as Olympic Athletes from Russia. That is a departure from how the I.O.C. has handled neutral athletes in the past. For example, athletes from Kuwait, which was barred from the 2016 Summer Games, were identified as Independent Olympic Athletes last year in Rio de Janeiro.

Olympics officials said they might lift the ban on Russia in time for the closing ceremony, suggesting the nation’s flag could make a symbolic appearance in the final hours of the Pyeongchang Games.

Thomas Bach, president of I.O.C., has said he was perturbed not only by Russia’s widespread cheating but by how it had been accomplished: by corrupting the Olympic laboratory that handled drug testing at the Games, and on orders from Russia’s own Olympic officials.

“This decision should draw a line under this damaging episode,” Mr. Bach said at a news conference, noting that Alexander Zhukov, the president of Russia’s Olympic Committee whom the I.O.C. suspended from its membership Tuesday, had issued an apology — something global regulators have long requested from the nation.

In an elaborate overnight operation at the 2014 Sochi Games, a team assembled by Russia’s sports ministry tampered with more than 100 urine samples to conceal evidence of top athletes’ steroid use throughout the course of competition. More than two dozen Russian athletes have been disqualified from the Sochi standings as a result, and Olympic officials are still sorting through the tainted results and rescinding medals.

At the coming Games, Mr. Bach said Tuesday, a special medal ceremony will reassign medals to retroactive winners from Sochi. But, in light of legal appeals from many of the Russian athletes who have been disqualified by the I.O.C., it is uncertain if all results from Sochi will be finalized in time.

The Russian Olympic Committee was also fined $15 million on Tuesday, money that global officials said will be put toward drug-testing international athletes.

[Read The Times’s report that first laid out the details of Russia’s doping scheme, and the exclusive story of a whistle-blower’s personal diaries that were shared with investigators.]

The punishment announced Tuesday resembles what antidoping regulators had lobbied forleading up to the 2016 Summer Games, where Russia was allowed to participate but in restricted numbers. It is likely to face a legal appeal from Russia’s Olympic Committee.

The decision was announced after top International Olympic Committee officials had met privately with Mr. Zhukov; Vitaly Smirnov, Russia’s former sports minister who was last year appointed Mr. Putin to lead a national antidoping commission to redeem Russia’s standing in global sports; and Evgenia Medvedeva, a two-time world skating champion.

“Everyone is talking about how to punish Russia, but no one is talking about how to help Russia,” Mr. Smirnov said, sipping a hot beverage in the lobby of the Lausanne Palace Hotel before delivering his final appeal to officials. “Of course we want our athletes there, and we want the Russian flag and anthem,” he said.

That appeal was rejected in light of the conclusions of Samuel Schmid, a former president of Switzerland whom the Olympic committee appointed last year to review the findings of a scathing investigation commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

“The analysis is clear and water-tight,” Mr. Schmid said Tuesday. In a 30-page report, he affirmed the credibility of whistle-blowers and investigators who had followed their leads and evidence.

Tuesday’s penalty was in line with what had been advocated by two key whistle-blowers whose accounts upended Russia’s standing in global sports over the last several years and were cited in Mr. Schmid’s report: Grigory Rodchenkov, the chemist who spent 10 years as Russia’s antidoping lab chief and was key to carrying out the cheating schemes in Sochi; and Vitaly Stepanov, a former employee of Russia’s antidoping agency who married a runner for Russia’s national team and was the first to speak publicly about the nation’s institutionalized cheating.

“The world knows that hundreds of Olympic dreams have been stolen by the doping system in the country where I was born,” Mr. Stepanov wrote in an affidavit submitted to the International Olympic Committee this fall. He had suggested banning Russia’s Olympic Committee for two years, or until the nation’s antidoping operations are recertified by regulators. Russia and its individual athletes are all but certain to miss the 2018 Paralympics given regulators’ refusal to recertify the nation last month.

“The evidence is clear, that the doping system in Russia has not yet been truly reformed,” Mr. Stepanov wrote.

Dr. Rodchenkov is living in an undisclosed location in the United States under protection of federal authorities. In August, “Icarus,” a film detailing Dr. Rodchenkov’s move to the United States and tell-all account, was released. In addition to sworn testimony and forensic evidence, Mr. Schmid cited the film as further evidence in his report.

“Russia’s consistent denials lack any credibility, and its failure to produce all evidence in its possession only further confirms its high-level complicity,” Jim Walden, a lawyer for Dr. Rodchenkov, said Tuesday. The Russian sports ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tuesday’s decision could have consequences for another major sports event scheduled to be held in Russia, next year’s $11 billion soccer World Cup. The nation’s deputy prime minister, Vitaly Mutko, was Russia’s top sports official during the 2014 Sochi Games and was directly implicated by Dr. Rodchenkov. As part of Tuesday’s ruling, Mr. Mutko was barred for life from the Olympics.

Mr. Mutko is also the chairman of the local organizing committee for the World Cup, but FIFA said in a statement Tuesday that the I.O.C.’s punishments for Olympic doping would have “no impact” on its preparations for the tournament, which begins in June.

Posted in Sales / Marketing Stories by kelly simmons. No Comments

You Need to Give Up These Toxic Habits if You Want to Be Wealthy and Successful

by Elle Kaplan

In order to take flight and become ultra-successful, you need to assess your extra baggage.

When it comes to our wealth and success, we tend to fixate on the things we need to acquire in the future to make those visions come alive. However there are also certain ingrained habits that might be dragging you down right now.

Because habits are so ingrained into our daily routines, it’s very likely that harmful ones are sneaking in and detracting from our success. That’s why the exceptionally successful know that what you don’t do is just as important as your actions.

The good news is that your toxic routines and mindsets can be kicked to the curb, starting today.

So start on your new journey today by giving up these seven things:

Impulsive emotional decisions

As the saying goes, “Don’t make a permanent decision out of a temporary emotion.”

In my many years in finance, I’ve seen people throw decades of financial planning out the window because of their feelings. And it’s very easy to do that in a stressful workplace, too.

When successful people find themselves in situations where they’re extremely angry, sad or frustrated, they let themselves ride out those emotions without acting on them. The simple act of waiting to make a decision until you’ve returned to a levelheaded state can play a huge role in the success you achieve.

Reliance on praise

Steve Jobs once said that “Self-confidence must come from within. Outside reinforcement and strokes can help, but you have to build your own confidence.”

Remember, no one can advocate for you or make it happen like you can. You have to be your own best cheerleader. You must believe in your own success, and this means that if the right opportunity doesn’t present itself, you should create your own opportunity.

Giving up

JK Rowling, who became a billionaire after brushing off hundreds of publisher rejections, once said, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.”

Ultra-successful people don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Instead, they find new ways to turn rejections into milestones. Do not be afraid to go for it!

Keep in mind that failure is a breeding ground for success and don’t give up. Be persistent and resilient enough to bounce back and try again. Each time you brush the dirt off your shoulders and try again, you’ll benefit from more experience.

Frivolous Consumerism

study conducted among consumers who make over $100,000 a year reveals that, surprisingly, majority of them do not own luxury cars, and they shop at mainstream stores like Target and Walmart.

The reason being is that they recognize the value that long-term investing can have over frivolous spending. The one thing that virtually every millionaire and billionaire has in common is that they set aside wealth for an investment account. Quite simply, they value their long-term dreams and goals over a luxury watch.

If you’re struggling to give up overspending, consider the 20–30–50 Plan: spend 20 percent of your paycheck on investing (or paying off debt), 30 percent on fun and the other half on necessities (like rent).


A study out of the University of California, Berkeley, found that, on average, office workers go only 11 minutes between interruptions, while it can take up to 25 minutes to get into a state of productivity called flow.

That’s why giving up multitasking, and focusing all your energy on the important things, is vital for wealth creation. Valuing your time by thinking of it as money will motivate you to work diligently for what you are aiming for.

Dump the toxic waste

As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”

Do you have a co-worker who makes your blood pressure rise? Stop thinking about them. Instead, think about the family and friends that you are grateful for and that bring you happiness instead — these are the people who are worth your time, energy, and brain space.

It’s tough to reevaluate your own situation; to look at your harmful characteristics takes a great deal of effort and courage. But everyone is human. See this as a chance to improve and create a better you, rather than being negative.


“I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.” –Warren Buffett

You are unconsciously sabotaging your progress when you indulge in negativity. Your journey to success starts the moment you condition your brain to believe this is where you want to go. If you continue to believe otherwise, then you shouldn’t expect success to follow through.

By ditching these habits and replacing them with positive ones, you’ll be on the path towards exceptional success.

Posted in Sales / Marketing Stories by kelly simmons. No Comments

Deer Valley owner taking hands-off approach to brands

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times

November 27, 2017

Aspen Skiing Co. employees Ben Cook, front, and Pete Falk walk down to the Gondola Plaza at Aspen Mountain Wednesday afternoon after skinning up to ski down. They said they “had to test out Aspen Mountain” and reported conditions weren’t too bad for mostly manmade snow.

ASPEN, Colo. – Aspen Skiing Co.’s new sister ski conglomerate will soon announce its name and, probably more importantly to skiers and snowboarders, unveil some new pass options later in the season for 2018-19.

David Perry, president and chief operating officer for the new firm, said this week his team has selected a name and will release it before the holidays.

However, the name won’t be prominently used in marketing the resorts under its umbrella, Perry said. The emphasis will be on keeping the strong individual identity of each of the resorts, which include Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado, Deer Valley in Utah and Mammoth and Squaw Valley in California.

“It’s not going to be a public-facing brand,” Perry said of the new name. “You’re not going to pull into Steamboat and see a sign that says, ‘Welcome to Steamboat, part of the XYZ Company.'”

The resorts will collaborate on a ski pass or passes that will be marketed through a shared name.

“I don’t think there’s any secret we will have a pass product on the market next year,” Perry said.

How Aspen Skiing Co.’s four ski areas fit into the ski pass plan remains a secret.

Skico currently offers a pass that is good at Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk. It’s also a participant in the Mountain Collective Pass, which was created to help independent operators compete against Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass.

The Epic Pass was created in 2008. Aspen and other independent resorts responded with the Mountain Collective Pass, good for two days of skiing at each of the participating resorts, in 2012.

“There’s no plans to decommission the Mountain Collective,” said Christian Knapp, chief marketing officer for Aspen Skiing Co. and a creator of the pass. He said it has been particularly popular with urban millenials.

Perry said two of the new ski company’s resorts, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows and Mammoth, are members of the Mountain Collective and will continue to participate.

Whatever pass the new company offers will be able to “work alongside” the Mountain Collective, he said.

Knapp, like Perry, wouldn’t hint at how Aspen Skiing Co.’s resorts will be marketed with the new company’s resorts, if at all.

“Clearly there’s a new collection of resorts coming together” that have overlapping ownership, he said.

Skico President and CEO Mike Kaplan said during a recent public meeting that the top question about the resort-buying binge is whether a joint ski pass will be offered.

“We’ll be working something out,” he said.

Henry Crown and Co., owners of Aspen Skiing Co., teamed with KSL Capital Partners of Denver last winter to form a new affiliate to dive into the ski industry. They made their first splash in April with the purchase of Intrawest Resorts Inc. and its six resorts. They later added four ski areas held by Mammoth Resorts. KSL already owned Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows and brought them into the mix of the new company.

The buying binge was topped off with the purchase of Deer Valley in August.

Aspen Skiing Co. remains “fiercely independent” and owned separately by the Crowns, Kaplan said. The bonds are tight. Perry was a top executive at Skico for 15 years and Kaplan’s right-hand man. Both men have said Aspen Skiing Co. and the unnamed firm will look for opportunities to share resources.

It’s a safe bet that Perry and Kaplan and their teams are working on plans to get skiers at Mammoth, Deer Valley and Steamboat interested in trying out Aspen-Snowmass, and vice versa.

While waiting for the new ski company to step out of the shadows, some in the ski industry have dubbed it Newco.

Gregory Wagner, teaching associate professor in the University of Denver Department of Marketing and a former advertising industry executive, said it was smart of the new company to take its time and conduct thorough research before selecting a name.

The company doesn’t want to come across as big brother for fear of alienating customers at the individual resorts, he said. It had to determine its mission statement and its objectives at each of the 13 resorts before coming up with a moniker.

“Once you have all the input, it’s so much easier to come up with the name,” Wagner said. “It avoids false starts. You can’t just say, ‘Hey, give me a name.’

“It’s a big deal to get it right,” he added.

Posted in Sales / Marketing Stories by kelly simmons. No Comments

Burton’s astronaut-inspired 2018 Olympic snowboarding uniforms make space the final fashion frontier

By Adam Tschorn

November 14, 2017

At left, pieces from the official U.S. snowboard team competition uniform for the 2018 Winter Games. At center, a space-suit-inspired one-piece. At right, pieces from the off-slope village collection. (Burton Snowboards)

Burton Snowboards recently took the wraps off the uniforms that will be worn by U.S. snowboarders at the upcoming Winter Olympics, a range of retro-futuristic cold-weather gear that takes inspiration from the space program of the 1960s and ’70s.

The company, based in Burlington, Vt., unveiled the collection at its New York City flagship on Nov. 1, the 100-day-out mark from the start of the global gathering. The most visible pieces of the collection — at least to those watching at home — are the competition jacket and pants that have an iridescent silver shine courtesy of a lightweight aluminum-coated fabric (typically used in audio equipment, according to Burton’s press release) that provides insulation from the elements and reflects light at the same time (as well as sound, the announcement points out, though we’re not entirely sure what the competitive advantage of that would be).

The left sleeve of the jacket is emblazoned with the American flag and the Burton name in a Space Age font evocative of the NASA logo, and a single horizontal stripe of red accents each upper arm of the jacket and each ankle on the pants. (There’s also a fun, hidden detail you probably wouldn’t notice unless you were wearing the jacket: Sewn into the lining is artwork that includes Korean translations of phrases like “Wish me luck!” and “Do you speak English?”)

Layered under those pieces will be Polartec fleece jackets and pants (in navy blue), a quilted lightweight insulator jacket and wool base-layer pieces in a color described as “international orange” (apparently, the same shade used for similar garments in the American space program). Accessories include white leather mitts, fleece gloves with USA patches in the in the aforementioned Space Age font and a long-sleeve T-shirt. Another patch, reminiscent of NASA’s round, blue “meatball” logo but with the Burton name instead, appears on several pieces in the range.

There’s also a fun, spacesuit-inspired, down-insulated one-piece (pictured above center) with a hard-wearing Dyneema fabric exterior that athletes can choose as an alternative competition uniform.

Versions of some of Burton’s 2018 Olympic uniform pieces are available to consumers starting this month. (Burton Snowboards)

Burton has also designed a separate look for members of the U.S. snowboard team to wear off-slope (you know, for kicking around the Olympic Village) that riffs on the same theme and is anchored by a quilted down jacket with a Dyneema fabric exterior.

This is the fourth time Burton has designed the Olympic uniforms for the U.S. snowboard team, although the uncluttered retro-futuristic aesthetic manages to be a marked departure from the mad-for-plaid look of 2010 and heirloom hippy vibe of 2014 while holding to the through-line of nostalgic Americana that began in 2006 with the company’s baseball uniform-inspired pinstriped outfits for the athletes.

Given the made-in-America controversy that’s followed outfitters of Team USA over the last several Olympics (most memorably Ralph Lauren’s Chinese-made opening ceremony uniforms from the 2012 London Olympics), Burton is up-front about the fact that while its 2018 uniforms were designed here, they were manufactured by its “best, long-standing and most trusted technical partners around the world.” (The company’s announcement doesn’t specify where, exactly, noting only that the fabric for the competition pants and jacket were woven “on a vintage loom in Italy.”

While the uniforms have been chosen, the athletes who will be wearing them have not. The members of the U.S. Olympic snowboard team will be nominated based on a series of qualifier events that are scheduled into late January.

The 2018 Winter Olympics are set to run Feb. 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Posted in Sales / Marketing Stories by kelly simmons. No Comments

IMBA Changes Policy to Support E-Bikes on Non-Motorized Trails

By Steve Casimiro

November 17, 2017

Few topics are more controversial than the use of electric bicycles on non-motorized trails—perhaps only the idea of bikes in wilderness is more fractious—and the International Mountain Bicycling Association has waded into the fray by changing its policy to support Class 1 e-bikes on non-motorized trails.

Class 1 bikes are pedal-assisted—the motor is only activated by spinning the cranks, and there’s no throttle. The boost on e-MTBs cuts out at 20 mph.

IMBA’s statement says, “IMBA is supportive of Class 1 e-MTB access to non-motorized trails when the responsible land management agency, in consultation with local mountain bikers, deem such eMTB access is appropriate and will not cause any loss of access to non-motorized bikes. IMBA recognizes that changes in design, technology and the numbers of eMTB users is evolving, and believes these bikes can be managed in a sustainable way for both the environment and other trail users.

As mechanical devices, bikes are banned from wilderness, and because they have motors, federal regulations bar e-bikes from non-motorized trails. Most state lands follow those rules, but there are exceptions.

Jeff Barber of Singletracks points out that in 2015, IMBA lumped e-bikes in with motorized vehicles and therefore didn’t support their use on non-motorized trails. Now that land managers–though not federal ones—are loosening their policies, IMBA is also loosening its stance.

“This new policy doesn’t go so far as to say IMBA will advocate for electric mountain bike access–the use of the word supportive seems to merely indicate they won’t oppose e-bike access in situations where land managers and local riders are already on board,” he wrote. “Essentially, it’s up to those land managers and local mountain bikers to decide whether e-bike access is appropriate.

“IMBA also makes it clear they will only be supportive of electric bikes on non-motorized trails if there are assurances this access won’t reduce access for traditional mountain bikes. This last bit addresses one of the strongest arguments most mountain bikers have against e-bikes, namely that they will cause us to lose access to existing trails.”

Initial resistance to e-MTBs has been high, but may be eroding. Last year, Singletracks polled its readers and 82 percent were against e-bikes on non-motorized trails. This year, the figure is 77 percent.

But the resistance is vocal. Dave Roll of Drunk Cyclist posted an open letter to IMBA on the site’s Facebook page, saying, “I will not be renewing my membership with you, ever. Your softening stance on Electronic Motorized Bicycles is not acceptable….By supporting motorized bicycles you are putting all cyclists into the same kettle and it will now be easier to push us off land. You are short sighted and not thinking long term.

“As electronic motorized bicycles grow in popularity, the moto crowd will take note and start levering that access for their own access. This puts the land owner in a precarious scenario. They have 3 options: One, allow more motorized trail access (puts us in danger). Two, not allow motorized trail access, and now they have to patrol trails and check bikes. Three, finally ban all wheel access. It is easier to ban a large swath in lieu of dealing with pressure. I have been told this by many land owners in reference to horses and bike disputes.”

IMBA responded, “We support local control and we advocate for non-motorized MTB access. That’s clear. We also recommend that eMTBs get their own (new) classification in the land management recreation spectrum. We are saying eMTBs are NOT mountain bikes. We can’t tell land managers what to do, but we’ve spent 3 decades educating them on the benefits of mountain biking and working with them to like us and allow us. That work isn’t going to stop.”

For an overview on federal land policies toward e-MTBs, go here.

For state-by-state policies, go here. Wyoming said, “We don’t see a need for a policy since we don’t think eMTBS are well suited to our trails. They are too “pedaly”.

For a good hard rant on the pros and cons of e-MTBs, go here.

Photo by Giuseppe Repetto/Ciclismo Italia

Posted in Sales / Marketing Stories by kelly simmons. No Comments