#ICYMI: Lillehammer Legacy; FIFA Gender Inequality; New USA Gymnastics CEO

(ATR) Here are our staff picks for articles this week they really want you to know about.

(ATR) #ICYMI -- In Case You Missed It ... Sometimes the best stories don't get the attention we think they deserve. Here are our staff picks for articles this week they really want you to know about.

Lillehammer: Olympic Style Without Equal

(ATR) I have never been so cold in my life as I was at the opening ceremony of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

As the sun set over the ski jump stadium, I found my seat in the press section. Just like every other one of the 40,000 places, it was formed out of stone and covered by a hard dome of ice. For me - a novice at this spectacle - adrenaline and curiosity offset most of the outrageous agony of subzero weather for the next five hours.

For someone who never felt the sting of Arctic air, this was a baptism by ice. Quite a contrast to my Summer Olympic christening two years before in balmy Barcelona.

As I would discover in winter Olympics to follow, Lillehammer marked a special moment on the timeline of the Games. The 1994 Winter Olympics combined the elements that comprise this event in a manner that may be impossible to achieve again.

Start with the weather. Ever since 1994, in one way or another, every host city has been bugged by warm weather. Three years ago they delivered again on a smaller scale with the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games. Lillehammer wasn’t as crowded as it was in ’94, but the deep-freeze was still the rule for thermometers. The Norwegians seem to have the help of the gods for reliable Winter Olympic weather.

Then there was the atmosphere generated by the Olympic crowds. The now fabled Storgata was a river of parkas all day long. At night the restaurants and bars were packed. Pin traders set up tables along the pedestrian way. A town of just over 20,000, Lillehammer was a charmer compared to subsequent host cities with more than a million residents.

For Norway in winter sport, Lillehammer marked the start of a Winter Olympic juggernaut. Finishing with 26 medals in 1994 put them at second behind the U.S. But since then, Norway has remained near the top of the medals table. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Norway was in first place with 39 medals.

Twenty-five years ago, the competition was fantastic. Speedskater Johann Koss thrilled the hometown crowds with three gold medals. The figure skating drama between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan dominated headlines.

Lillehammer are the first Olympics I remember with a distinct tilt toward legacy. The main press center where I worked out of the cold was destined to become university space. Other venues, such as the Viking Ship venue for speedskating or Hakons Hall, thesite for hockey, are still in use today. Cabins used for media housing in the woods outside town were sold and moved to new locations around the country.

Click here to read the rest of Ed Hula's reflections of his first Winter Games.

No Open Vote for FIFA Women's World Cup Host

FIFA will decide on the host country for the 2023 Women’s World Cup behind closed doors.

Football’s world governing body says that the 37-member FIFA Council will select the host in secret rather than having the FIFA Congress decide in a public vote, as was done last year for the 2026 men’s World Cup.

The Congress chose the joint bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada over Morocco.

FIFA had taken the duty of choosing the men’s host away from its ruling committee and given it to all 211 member associations in the wake of corruption investigations into the vote for the men’s hosts for 2018 and 2022.

While FIFA launchedits first-ever global strategy for women’s football in Octoberto develop and grow the women’s game from the grassroots, thedecision to keep the bid process different for the men’s and women’s tournaments is the latest evidence of gender inequality when it comes to the federation’s showpiece events.

Former England women’s forward Sue Smith, speaking on Sky Sports in the UK, summed up the frustration felt by many in the women’s game.

"It just doesn’t seem right, does it?" she said. "We’re craving for things to be treated the same way so it’s the same process and yet it’s not."

Click here to read the rest of this story.

NBA Exec New USA Gymnastics CEO

The new CEO for USA Gymnastics says she will keep the governing body from crashing under the weight of a massive sex abuse scandal.

Li Li Leung will take over March 8 as president and CEO, the fourth person to hold that title in the past two years.

"We now have an opportunity to look forward and move forward," Leung said at the open of a teleconference with reporters just hours after she was named to what she admits will be a challenging assignment.

The organization filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2018, allowing USA Gymnastics to come to terms over the lawsuits it faces from the victims. With $75 million already on the books to cover settling the lawsuits, that bill still could more than double say some observers.

Leung, currently a vice president with the NBA, comes aboard as the national governing body deals with the aftermath of the abuse carried out against hundreds of athletes over the years he served as the doctor for the U.S. team. Nassar is in prison on an array of charges that will keep him locked up for the rest of his life.

In her youth Leung was a competitive gymnast, including a spot on the junior U.S. Pan-American team in 1988. She says that background led her to USA Gymnastics.

"This is much more than a job to me. It’s a personal calling. Gymnastics has been a part of my life since I was a young child and I am deeply committed to the sport. I have the experience, passion, determination and perspective to do what it takes to rebuild the organization," Leung said.

Click here for the rest of the story.

For general comments or questions,click here.

25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.