Commonwealth Games Open, IOC Reveals 2026 Bidders - Monday Memo

(ATR) An anti-doping investigation is threatening to overshadow the start of Gold Coast 2018.

(ATR) An anti-doping investigation is dominating the final days before the XXI Commonwealth Games, which begin on Wednesday, April 4, in Gold Coast, Australia.

The Commonwealth Games Federation launched the investigation over the weekend after revealing needles had been found by a cleaner in the athletes village.

CGF chief executive David Grevemberg told reporters on Saturday that he couldn't reveal any details, including which nation was involved and the location and timing of the discovery of the needles.

The CGF’s anti-doping policy includes a "no-needles" rule for athletes at the village, though with some exemptions including for conditions such as diabetes.

With the Games' set to open in a matter of hours, time is of the essence for the investigation.

"We're going to work as expediently as possible, within the rights of our standard," Grevemberg said, according to the AAP.

"We don't want athletes that are cheating on the field of play, or in the Games, and let's just make that very clear."

Gold Coast 2018 will feature 6,600 athletes from 71 countries competing in 23 sports, including the debuts of women's rugby sevens and beach volleyball. This will be the first time in the history of a major multi-sport Games that there will be an equal number of medal events for men and women.

The event will conclude on April 15.

2026 Winter Olympic Bids

The IOC will announce on Tuesday, April 3, the list of those National Olympic Committees that have expressed official interest in joining the dialogue stage of the candidature process for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.

The deadline to get in was March 31.

While not confirmed by the IOC yet, there are seven NOCs that say they are part of the process.

The NOCs of Austria, Italy and Turkey waited until late last week to send their letter of intent to the IOC. Austria (Graz-Schladming) and Italy (Milan-Turin) are proposing joint bids while Turkey’s bid is centered in Erzurum.

Canada (Calgary), Japan (Sapporo), Sweden (Stockholm) and Switzerland (Sion) have been a part of the process for months, including sending Observer Teams to the PyeongChang Winter Games in February.

After the IOC announcement, Christophe Dubi, the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, will be briefing the media on the process moving forward.

First Post-Payne Masters

When The Masters tees off on April 5 at Augusta National Gold Club, it will be the first time since 2007 that Billy Payne won't be serving as chairman.

Held annually in Augusta, Georgia, the tournament is the first of the year's golfing "majors". The others include the the United States Open, the Open Championship (British Open), and the PGA Championship.

Payne, known for his stewardship of the Atlanta 1996 Organizing Committee, stepped down as chairman of Augusta National last year. Former co-chairman of the International Golf Federation, Fred Ridley, was named as Payne's successor.

Interest in the tournament has been even higher than normal due to the recent resurgence of Tiger Woods, who is playing well after a long injury layoff.

Woods, along with top golfers Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Thomas are all co-favorites to win the prestigous tournament. Woods is a four-time Masters champion, with his last victory coming in 2005. He has not won a major tournament since winning the U.S. Open in 2008.

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