Zero Medals Raises Questions in Israel; World Cup Will Pave Way for Games, Says Minister

(ATR) IOC member in Israel says more government involvement not the answer ... Brazil’s deputy sports minister says timeline will benefit Rio 2016 ... London torch, auto racing plaque from Paris 1900 up for auction ... More inside this Olympic Newsdesk ...

Inter Milan's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) heads and scores as he is flanked by Fiorentina's Danish defender Per Billeskov Kroldrup (C) and Fiorentina's French goalkeeper Sebastien Frey (R) during their Serie A football match at San Siro Stadium in Milan on March 15, 2009. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)
Inter Milan's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) heads and scores as he is flanked by Fiorentina's Danish defender Per Billeskov Kroldrup (C) and Fiorentina's French goalkeeper Sebastien Frey (R) during their Serie A football match at San Siro Stadium in Milan on March 15, 2009. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Zero Medals Raises Questions in Israel

The IOC member in Israel says more involvement by the government is not the answer to the country’s failure to medal at the 2012 Olympics.

The medals duck in London is the first for Israel since 1988. The Israeli team for London numbered 38.

Sports minister Limor Livnat is calling for more government control of Israeli sport – as well as the formation of a panel of experts to provide recommendations.

IOC member Alex Gilady tells Around the Rings that he opposes Livnat’s initiative.

"She should look at the most successful team in London, the United States, which has no sports minister," says Gilady. He notes other top teams in London also come from countries without sports ministers, such as Germany and Italy.

Gilady went public with his opposition to the Livnat proposal Sunday at a reception at the Israeli NOC headquarters for members of the Olympic team.

He and Livnat have crossed swords before. Gilady opposes efforts to hold a minute of silence at the Olympic Games for the victims of the 1972 attack at the Munich Olympics. Livnat has attacked the IOC for its refusal to do so.

Gilday tells ATR he is concerned that the Israeli NOC may face inquiries from the IOC about the autonomy of sport if Livnat is successful in her efforts to involve government in sport.

World Cup Will Pave Way for Successful Rio Olympics, Says Minister

Brazil’s deputy sports minister Luis Fernandes says hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup two years before the Olympics will benefit the staging of the Games.

"Many of the initiatives will cross over such as transportation and security," he said in an interview with Reuters.

"We had problems with the Pan American Games where city governments were put in control and they didn’t deliver, then the federal government had to provide emergency investment late in the day. We have learned from that and have a matrix of responsibility in place."

Fernandes said he expected public support for Brazil’s series of mega sporting events to rise from the 2013 Confederations Cup through the World Cup and into Rio 2016.

"Hosting these events is a spur to nationalist pride. We will build a Games in the Brazilian fashion with a Brazilian flavour. We are very festive, a very strong culture, it’s a party atmosphere," Fernandes added.

"I think the enthusiasm we are seeing now will be sustainable."

For additional coverage, including the status of Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians, visit World Football INSIDER.

2012 Torch, Auto Racing Plaque at Auction

With the London Olympics out of the way, Ingrid O’Neil’s 69th mail bid auction features an official torch – complete with protective cover – estimated at $7,000.

A gold winner’s plaque from the automobile race at Paris 1900 ($35,000) as well as a gold medal awarded to founding IOC member and Stockholm 1912 organizing committee president Victor G. Balck (part of a collection pegged at $55,000) also highlight the 661-lot mail bid auction, which closes Saturday.

As usual, O’Neil also has a plethora of torches, badges, medals, pins, tickets, programs, official reports and decorative items.

Olympic Fever

Watch for some big names to show up for the 31st Olympin Collectors Club Memorabilia Festival from Sept. 28 to 30 in Atlanta.

The city is home to a large number of Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Their alumnae organization has been working with Olympin and will have a reunion in conjunction with the show. That means there will be 15 or more Olympians and Paralympians attending the show at various times. At least 10 will attend the Friday dinner, with more involved on Saturday. Several are planning to have tables on Saturday where they will have memorabilia for show and / or sale. Most will be available for autographs and pictures, including special guest Pat McCormick, the only double and back-to-back gold medalist in women’s diving.

Other confirmedOlympians and Paralympians attending the show include Dennis Berkholtz (handball, 1972 and 1976);Bob Pickens (wrestling, 1964);Mel Pender (athletics, 1968) andTommie Smith (athletics, 1968).

The event is set for the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown. Tables are still available for vendors; a banquet, reception and auction are on the schedule. Admission is free.

To book a table or to check updates, visithttp://www.olympinclub.com/benefits_fair.html.

Written by Ed Hula, Mark Bisson and Hannah Reid

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