Tag Archives: athletes

Game on: Milwaukee launching Midnight Basketball League

Milwaukee Public Schools, along with the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, Milwaukee Bucks and Running Rebels, will launch a Midnight Basketball League Feb. 7 at Bradley Technology and Trade High School.
The Midnight Basketball League is part of the new MPS C.A.R.E.S. (Community and Recreation Engaging Students) initiative, which was announced in October.
Milwaukee Public Schools will host three 10-week Midnight Leagues at Bradley Tech.
The first league will start March 1 and each league will serve 80 to 100 players.
MPS has worked with partners in planning the league as a way to engage and support young men and connect them to community resources in Milwaukee.
“This is about more than just basketball,” said Darienne Driver, superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools. “We want our community and young people to know that we have our doors open for them and that we are here to help support them.”
MPS is working with Running Rebels to bring community-based organizations and resources to participants during the league so young men can access a variety of programs including employment services, driver’s license recovery, child support services and other options.
In addition to resources, the league also supports positive police and community relations. The Milwaukee Police Department will provide mentoring opportunities for young men during the leagues.
The Milwaukee Bucks have played a role in the formation of the MidnightBasketball League and will continue to support the league tips off in the coming weeks.
Bucks forward John Henson said in a news release, “I am honored to be part of this important initiative.”
“Creating meaningful improvement in the relationship between the youth and young adults of Milwaukee and the local police is significant. It is our hope that the city’s MidnightBasketball League will be an avenue for all of us to learn from each other, gain insight from different perspectives and help build a level of trust and respect.”

On the Web

Visit mpsmke.com/cares to learn more about the Midnight Basketball League and the MPS C.A.R.E.S. initiative.

Think you knew sports in 2016? So why is Putin pictured?

The Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years and LeBron James brought an NBA title to long suffering Cleveland. You know that, but how much do you really know about the year in sports? Here’s a quiz to find out:

Who was happiest that the Cubs broke their 108-year drought and won the World Series?

A. Steve Bartman, who can finally show his face in the windy city.

B. Co-workers of Cubs fans, who no longer have to listen to their long suffering tales of woe.

C. Owner Tom Ricketts, who celebrated by raising ticket prices by almost 20 percent.

How did the Russians get the idea to switch doping samples in the Sochi Olympics?

A. Got tired of seeing Norwegians win all the medals.

B. Figured hacking urine bottles was just as easy as hacking emails.

C. Vladimir Putin knew someone in doping control.

Why did Ryan Lochte appear on Dancing with the Stars.

A. Thought a win would get him the respectability his Olympic gold medals didn’t.

B. Heard the show was big in Rio.

C. Knew that dancing around the cameras was easier than dancing around the truth.

What did they do with the golf course built for the Olympics in Rio?

A. Now the home of the swankiest favela in the city.

B. New practice ground for the Brazilian polo team.

C. Home course for the annual Brazil/Ecuador matches.

Why was the NFL so eager to get a team back in Los Angeles?

A . Jack Nicholson needed something to do after finally giving up on the Lakers.

B. Thought the nation’s second largest metropolitan area deserved the NFL’s second worst team.

C. Roger Goodell thought it might help him break into acting.

Why did Peyton Manning retire?

A. Said Omaha so many times he decided to move there.

B. Decided future better served by singing annoying jingles in TV commercials.

C. Knew he would never again be able to throw for 141 yards in a Super Bowl.

Penn State and Michigan were left out of college football playoffs, causing much consternation among their fans. Why?

A. School administrators mistakenly thought graduation rates were the main criteria for deciding who plays.

B. The Magic 8 ball came up “No” when playoff committee members asked about including them.

C. Both schools wanted their students out partying New Year’s Eve instead of watching football games.

Why do Oakland fans secretly want the Raiders to move to Las Vegas?

A. Because the losses that happen there will stay there.

B. They won’t feel out of place walking around Vegas dressed in studded leather and masks.

C. Heard Siegfried and Roy could come up with some magic for the team.

What did Ronda Rousey do after her shocking knockout loss?

A. Threatened to beat up any reporter who asked her a question.

B. Became co-host of the Ellen Show.

What did Tiger Woods bring as an assistant captain to the winning U.S. Ryder Cup team?

A. Excellent cart driving skills.

B. Great tales to tell about the old days when he actually played in the event.

C. His Gulfstream jet to get out of town quickly.

What did Joey “Jaws” Chestnut do after regaining his title by eating 70 hot dogs and buns in the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest?

A. Took a victory lap around Coney Island in the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.

B. Put some mustard on a hot dog.

C. Quickly excused himself.

Las Vegas got a new hockey team, the city’s first pro franchise. Why did they name it the Vegas Golden Knights instead of the Las Vegas Golden Knights?

A. Afraid city’s image of being full of drunken carousers would offend NHL fans.

B. Didn’t want Canadians to be confused and travel to Las Vegas, New Mexico, to watch their teams play.

C. Actually thought locals called it Vegas.

Why did Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey decide not to play in the Sun Bowl

A. Needed the extra time to bone up for the NFL’s Wonderlic test.

B. Thought team should have been picked for TaxSlayer Bowl instead.

C. Was upset that player’s gift bag didn’t include the souvenir game ball given out by the Dollar General Bowl.

Big changes in baseball since Cubs last World Series

One way to realize just how long it’s been since the Chicago Cubs last reached the World Series is to look at how much the game has changed since then, on and off the field.

The Cubs are making their first appearance since 1945 and chasing their first title since 1908.

Some of the ways the game has changed since the Cubs lost Game 7 to the Detroit Tigers some 71 years ago:

INTEGRATION: Jackie Robinson became the first black player to reach the major leagues in 1947, two years after the Cubs’ last World Series appearance. Baseball has turned into a virtual melting pot in the seven decades since. The Cubs’ roster includes players from Cuba (reliever Aroldis Chapman and outfielder Jorge Soler), along with Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, as well as the continental United States.

EXPANSION: There were 16 teams in the majors in 1945, including two in St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago, and three in New York. The total is up to 30 now.

GO WEST: There were no major league franchises west of St. Louis in 1945. The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and the New York Giants headed to San Francisco in 1958. In 1969, the Seattle Pilots showed up — they went 64-98 in their first year, then became the Milwaukee Brewers.

DIVISIONAL PLAY: There were no divisions in 1945, just eight teams in both the American League and National League. They split into East and West divisions in 1969. Then a Central was created in 1994, with the Cubs shifting from the NL East to the NL Central.

PLAYOFFS PLUS: Extra teams and divisions resulted in expanded playoffs. The League Championship Series began in 1969, the Division Series started in 1995 and a one-game wild-card playoff came in 2012. A longer postseason pushed the World Series deep into October and beyond. If the Cubs and Cleveland go the distance this year, Game 7 would be on Nov. 2.

FREE AGENCY: When Phil Cavarretta and Peanuts Lowrey helped lead the Cubs to the 1945 Series, they were bound to the team until they were traded or released. Curt Flood tested baseball’s reserve clause in the early 1970s and took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, helping pave the way for players to move around as free agents. Jon Lester, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist are among the players the Cubs acquired this way.

DESIGNATED HITTER: The designated hitter joined the American League lineup in 1973. The DH debate is still hot, with the leagues playing by different rules. When this year’s World Series opens at the AL park, both teams will use the DH; when the Cubs host, the pitchers will hit.

LIGHTS AT WRIGLEY: The Cubs were the last team in the majors to play only day games. That changed when lights were installed at Wrigley Field in 1988. The games there have always been played outdoors on green grass, never under a dome or on artificial turf, trends that became popular starting with the Astrodome in the mid-1960s.

CEO quits after sexist comments about women tennis pros

The tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open who said women’s pro tennis players “ride on the coattails of the men” resigned on March 21, ending his 29-year association with the event.

Tournament owner Larry Ellison said in a statement that Raymond Moore was quitting as chief executive officer and tournament director of the $7 million event featuring men’s and women’s players in the California desert. Moore informed Ellison of his decision when they spoke earlier in the day.

“Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and tournament director effective immediately,” Ellison said. “I fully understand his decision.”

A tournament spokesman could offer no further details on Moore’s resignation, citing only Ellison’s statement.

CEO apologizes

Moore apologized after he was roundly criticized by executives from the women’s and men’s pro tours, players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka and on social media for his comments Sunday.

The 69-year-old former touring pro from South Africa had been CEO of the tournament since 2012. He was involved with the event for 29 years as a former owner and managing partner before assuming his most recent post. He oversaw the operations of the tournament and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which Ellison also owns. Years ago, Moore and fellow ex-player Charlie Pasarell started PM Sports Management, which oversaw the tournament as it expanded.

“In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky,” Moore said. “If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport.”

He also referred to women’s players as “physically attractive and competitively attractive.” Moore later apologized, calling his comments “in extremely poor taste and erroneous.”

“I am truly sorry for those remarks, and apologize to all the players and WTA as a whole,” the statement said. “We had a women’s final today that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena and Victoria, and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks.”

Moore clearly had no intention to leave his post based on comments he made to reporters Sunday on the last day of the two-week tournament. Before the backlash over his controversial comments began, he was asked how long he planned to remain in charge.

“Firstly, I love what I’m doing. I’m passionate about it. I enjoy it,” Moore said. “Who knows who the face of the tournament will be down the road. But I don’t think that, oh, I’m going to stop next year or three years.”

Ellison, a billionaire and co-founder of Oracle Corp., credited Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Serena and Venus Williams, as well as other female athletes, for their leadership in treating women and men equally in sports.

“I’m proud to say that it is now a decade-long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men,” Ellison said in his statement.

Ellison thanked the “great women athletes” who fought so hard in pursuit of equal prize money in pro tennis.

“All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody,” he said.

Statement from the tennis tournament

“Earlier today I had the opportunity to speak with Raymond Moore,” said BNP Paribas Open Owner, Larry Ellison. “Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and Tournament Director effective immediately. I fully understand his decision.”

“Nearly half a century ago, Billie Jean King began her historic campaign for the equal treatment of women in tennis. What followed is an ongoing, multi-generational, progressive movement to treat women and men in sports equally. Thanks to the leadership of Billie Jean, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and so many other great women athletes, an important measure of success has already been achieved. I’m proud to say that it is now a decade long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men.”

“I would like to personally thank all the great women athletes who fought so hard for so many years in the pursuit of equal prize money in professional tennis. And I’d like to congratulate them on their success. All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody,” concluded Ellison.

News guide: A look at the protests at the University of Missouri

Racially charged incidents at the University of Missouri led to numerous protests, a hunger strike by a graduate student and at least 30 black football players announcing they were on strike. Many students called for the president of the four-campus system to be removed, and he stepped down Monday. Here’s a look at the situation:

WHAT’S NEW

University of Missouri system President Tim Wolfe and Columbia campus Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced Monday that they are resigning after months of student anger over the university’s handling of racial issues. A black student’s hunger strike and the weekend announcement by 30 black football players that they wouldn’t be participating in team activities until the Wolfe was removed helped bring the issue to a head.

At a special meeting of the system’s governing board, Wolfe said he takes “full responsibility for the frustration” students had expressed regarding racial issues and that he hopes the school community uses his resignation “to heal and start talking again to make the changes necessary.”

Wolfe’s resignation is effective immediately.

After Wolfe’s announcement, Jonathan Butler, a black graduate student who went on a hunger strike on Nov. 2 and vowed to not eat until Wolfe was gone, tweeted that his strike was over.

Loftin said he’s stepping down at the end of the year and will shift to leading research efforts.

THE BACKGROUND

The treatment of minorities has been the focus at the state system’s flagship campus in Columbia, and campus groups, including one called Concerned Student 1950, that have been protesting the way Wolfe has handled matters of race and discrimination. The 35,000-student population is overwhelmingly white.

The football players issued a statement aligning themselves with campus groups, and on Sunday, coach Gary Pinkel expressed solidarity on Twitter by posting a picture of the team and coaches locking arms. His tweet read: “The Mizzou Family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players.”

Wolfe responded to the criticism Sunday, saying that it “is clear to all of us that change is needed” and adding that his administration has been “meeting around the clock” to address the issue. The statement, however, made no mention of Wolfe resigning.

The protests began early in the semester after Missouri’s student government president, who is black, said he was called a racial slur by the occupant of a passing pickup truck while walking on campus. Days before the Oct. 10 homecoming parade, members of the Legions of Black Collegians said racial slurs were directed at them by an unidentified person walking by. And a swastika drawn in feces was found recently in a dormitory bathroom.

THE MAJOR PLAYERS

Wolfe, a former software company executive and 1980 Missouri graduate, began leading the four-campus system in February 2012.

Loftin, former president of Texas A&M University, started as chancellor at the Columbia campus in February 2014.

Concerned Student 1950 draws its name from the year the university accepted its first black student, and has demanded, among other things, that Wolfe “acknowledge his white male privilege” and be removed immediately, and that the school adopt a mandatory racial-awareness program and hire more black faculty and staff members.

WHAT’S NEXT

The University of Missouri system’s governing body plans to begin several initiatives in the next 90 days aimed at improving the racial atmosphere on the system’s four campuses.

The Board of Curators will appoint the system’s first chief of diversity, inclusion and equity officer. Each campus also will have its own such officer.

The board also promised a full review of all policies related to staff and student conduct, more support for those on campus who have experienced discrimination and the hiring of a more diverse faculty and staff.

Changes planned specifically on the Columbia campus include mandatory diversity, inclusion and equity training for all faculty, staff and future students, as well as a review of student mental health services.

California to big-league ballplayers: Stop chewing tobacco

California lawmakers have taken the first step toward accomplishing something Major League Baseball could never do: Stop players from stuffing those big wads of chewing tobacco into their mouths during games.

With Gov. Jerry Brown signing a bill banning the use of smokeless tobacco in all California ballparks, a practice dating to the days of Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb now seems headed toward the sport’s endangered species list.

Although California is only one state, it is home to five of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams and team owners themselves have been pressing for a ban for years. Last May they got one in San Francisco, home of the reigning World Series champion Giants. In August they got another in Boston, site of fabled Fenway Park, and when Brown signed Assembly Bill 768 one was already in the works for Los Angeles.

“Major League Baseball has long supported a ban of smokeless tobacco at the Major League level and the Los Angeles Dodgers fully support the Los Angeles City Tobacco ordinance and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,” the Dodgers said in a statement last month.

Major League Baseball still needs buy-in from the players, however, because the statewide ban that takes effect before next season has no provision for enforcement.

“The question we’ve been asked is are we going to have police officers walking around checking lips, and no, that’s not the case,” said  Opio Dupree, chief of staff to Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, who introduced the bill. “It’s going to be left to the team and the league.”

Interviews with players in recent years indicate that many are ready to quit — if they could.

“I grew up with it,” pitcher Jake Peavy told the Boston Globe last year when the newspaper polled 58 players the Boston Red Sox had invited to spring training and found 21 were users.

“It was big with my family,” said Peavy who is now with the San Francisco Giants. “Next thing you know, you’re buying cans and you’re addicted to nicotine.”

He added he would like to quit to set a better example for his sons.

Last year’s World Series MVP, San Francisco Giant’s pitching ace Madison Bumgarner, also chews tobacco but told The Associated Press earlier this year he planned to quit after San Francisco became the first city in the nation to adopt a ban. That one, like the statewide provision, also takes effect next year.

“I’ll be all right. I can quit,” Bumgarner said in August. “I quit every once in a while for a little while to make sure I can do it.”

All the players should, said Christian Zwicky, a former Southern California Babe Ruth League most valuable player who grew up watching the Los Angeles Dodgers play and says he never cared for seeing all that tobacco chewing and the spitting of tobacco juice that follows.

It didn’t influence him to take up the practice, the 22-year-old college student says, but he can see how it might have affected others.

“I understand the sentiment there,” said Zwicky who adds he’s not a big fan of government regulation but supports this law. “You don’t want these people that kids look up to using these products that could influence children in a negative way.”

Moves to adopt a comprehensive ban have been gaining support in recent years, fueled by such things as last year’s death of popular Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres, who blamed his fatal mouth cancer on years of chewing tobacco. Former pitcher Curt Schilling, a cancer survivor, has also taken up the cause.

Use of smokeless tobacco has been banned in the minor leagues for more than 20 years, but Major League Baseball and its players union haven’t been able to reach agreement on a similar restriction. Players and coaches are prohibited from chewing tobacco during television interviews and can’t been seen carrying tobacco products when fans are in the ballparks. But the chewing during the game continues.

“It’s a tough deal for some of these players who have grown up playing with it and there are so many triggers in the game,” San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the AP earlier this year.

“I certainly don’t endorse it,” said Bochy, an on-and-off-again user for decades. “With my two sons, the one thing I asked them is don’t ever start dipping.”

Women’s World Cup final draws record U.S. TV audience

The Women’s World Cup final between the United States and Japan attracted a record U.S. television soccer audience, while Japanese viewing figures were higher than when they won the tournament in 2011.

The July 5 game, which capped a month-long tournament played in six Canadian cities, was the most watched soccer match of all time in the United States as 25.4 million Americans tuned in to watch their team’s 5-2 triumph, FIFA said in a statement.

The American audience for the game was 39 percent higher than the previous high set in 2014 when 18.2 million tuned in for the group stage match between the U.S. men’s team and Portugal at the World Cup in Brazil.

It was also 41 percent higher than the previous record for a women’s soccer match, which was set in 2011 when the United States lost to Japan on penalties in that year’s World Cup final.

FIFA also said an average audience of 11.6 million in Japan tuned in for the match, an 18 percent increase on the figures achieved during the 2011 final.

It was also higher than for any match that did not involve Japan at the 2014 World Cup.

The United States cruised to victory over rivals Japan at Vancouver’s BC Place where a sensational hat-trick by Carli Lloyd in the game’s first 16 minutes sent the Americans on their way to a first World Cup title since 1999.

Kenosha team lauded after standing up for bullied cheerleader

Kenosha’s Common Council on March 16 honored several middle-school basketball players for coming to the defense of a cheerleader who has Down syndrome during a game at Lincoln Middle School.

After hearing mean-spirited comments directed at cheerleader Desiree Andrews coming from the stands, three players confronted the opposing team’s fans. Seventh-graders Chase Vazquez, Scooter Terrien and Miles Rodriguez approached the bullies and warned them to stop ridiculing Desiree, whose nickname is “D.” The entire team stood behind them.

News media around the globe reported the incident, which provided a welcome contrast to the tragic endings that too often accompany bullying stories. Desiree’s father Cliff Andrews told the Kenosha News that his phone rang “nonstop” after the story went viral, with calls from individuals, as well as from talk shows and news outlets. He said Desiree was “on cloud nine” from all the attention, but he added that the story is really about the boys taking a stand against bullying.

Lincoln Middle School principal Star Daley said that people had been calling the school and sending letters of congratulations.

The Kenosha Common Council publicly thanked the basketball team and presented a special video message to Desiree and the team from the actress who plays Becky, a cheerleader with Down syndrome, on the TV show Glee. Desiree told WiG that she got the idea of becoming a cheerleader from the show.

Team members described the incident as a spontaneous effort to protect someone they care about.

“We just jumped in right away,” said Miles Rodriguez. “We didn’t have time to ask what was happening.”

“It was spontaneous and I don’t know how to explain it … it just happened,” agreed team member Austin Carrana. 

“We felt like we had to stand up for somebody like her,” said Martin Lopez. “We were just saying it wasn’t cool what they were doing and they needed to stop.”

The young men said they’re happy about the way the world responded to what they did and proud they could show their city in a positive light.

“To do this for Desiree shows that this town has some character and young gentleman who are nice and polite,” said Scooter Terrien. “You see a lot of stories about crime, but not stories like this coming from a small town. “

Team member Harrice Hodges said he believes Lincoln’s anti-bullying program deserves credit for making students more sensitive about the feelings of others. He said it seemed as if bullying at the school has gone down “a whole bunch” since the program began.

Daley said she’d like to think the program, which began last year, had something to do with the basketball team’s actions. The program helps students develop positive character traits, including “caring about self and others,” she said.

Kenosha has adopted a districtwide campaign, dubbed “Stand Up, Kenosha,” Daley added.

Since the bullying incident, the gym at Lincoln Middle School has been named “D’s House,” in Desiree’s honor.

Baraboo School Board approves transgender athletic participation policy

Baraboo School Board in Baraboo, Wisconsin, has voted 4-3 to approve a transgender participation policy, according to the LGBT advocacy group GSAFE.

The policy was based on a model measure introduced by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association in 2013.

GSAFE, in a statement, said about 100 people attended the school board meeting held on Dec. 15 and that board members heard public comments for nearly two hours before voting.

Baraboo is one of the first Wisconsin school districts to modernize its athletic policy with clear guidelines around privacy, safety and accessibility for transgender athletes, according to GSAFE, which offered congratulations to the board and the district.

Dozens spoke for the policy and dozens more spoke against the measure. But GSAFE said, “There was a clear demonstration of support from community members for current and future transgender students. Throughout the night numerous students, parents, educators, faith leaders, health professionals, business owners, elected officials, and others spoke with heart and pragmatism in support of this policy and transgender students.”

One of the speakers was Baraboo High School Gay-Straight Alliance president Catherine Hartup, who told the board members, “When this district and this board say they’re here to back all students, I expect that to mean all students. If this policy isn’t passed, then we have instead chosen to dig ourselves a hole, a hole where we can only care about some, not all, of our students here at Baraboo High School.”

GSAFE said school board member Doug Mering championed the policy, with support from school board members Sean McNevin, Mo Reilly, and Peter Vedro. 

GSAFE became involved in the effort after the board came under fire by the right-wing Wisconsin Family Action, the nonprofit that also campaigned against same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships in the state, and other groups.

“We were pleased by the positive response from people connected to the Baraboo community as well as other supporters who reached out to school board members to thank the board for their leadership and to encourage them to vote to support all students,” GSAFE said.

Editor’s note: This story will be updated.

Olympic committee to require host cities to forbid discrimination

The International Olympic Committee will require future Olympic host cities to abide by rules that forbid any kind of discrimination, a move prompted by the outcry caused by Russia’s adoption of a law banning so-called gay “propaganda” before the Sochi Winter Games.

The International Olympic Committee sent a letter to the three candidates for the 2022 Winter Games specifying that the host city contract will include new wording on non-discrimination.

The language, based on Principle 6 in the Olympic Charter, also includes a specific reference to discrimination based on gender.

The new clause — seen by The Associated Press — requires the host city and national Olympic committee to “conduct all activities in a manner which promotes and enhances the fundamental principles and values of Olympism, in particular the prohibition of any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise, as well as the development of the Olympic Movement.”

The inclusion of the new language follows the global controversy that surrounded the buildup to the Sochi Games after Russia passed a law prohibiting gay “propaganda” to minors. The law was passed in the year before the games and led to international protests by gay and human rights groups.

International gay rights groups All Out and Athlete Ally were among those pushing the IOC to add the language to the host contract.

“This … sends a clear message to future host cities that human rights violations, including those against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, will not be tolerated,” said Andre Banks, co-founder and executive director of All Out. “We will continue working to make sure this change is powerfully enforced. These new rules must prevent a replay of Sochi.”

All Out is also urging the IOC to amend Principle 6 to specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.

The three finalists in the bidding for the 2022 Games are Almaty, Kazakhstan; Beijing, and Oslo, Norway. The Oslo bid, facing significant political and public opposition in Norway, remains in limbo and could still drop out. The IOC will select the host city on July 31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The IOC move was also welcomed by Human Rights Watch, which urged FIFA and other sports bodies to enact a similar clause as a requirement for organizers of major events such as the World Cup.

“This should be the first of many steps toward ensuring that future host cities fully respect human dignity, as the Olympic Charter requires,” said Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch.

The organization said more pressure should be put on Saudi Arabia, which sent a male-only team to the ongoing Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

In the letter to the bid cities, the IOC also states that it will make no unilateral changes to the sports program after the host city has been chosen. In the past, the IOC has sometimes added sports, disciplines or events three years before a games, bringing extra costs and other logistical challenges for host cities.

The new contract states that any changes made after the host city selection that create “material adverse effects” can be applied only in “mutual agreement” between the IOC and the city.

The moves reflect a pattern of change under IOC President Thomas Bach, who was elected just over a year ago. He is pushing a series of reforms – called “Olympic Agenda 2020” – that will be voted on by IOC members at a special session in Monaco in December.

Cutting the cost of hosting the Olympics is one of Bach’s goals. Several cities pulled out of the 2022 bidding because they were scared off by the $51 billion price tag associated with the Sochi Games, although much of the money was for long-term infrastructure projects rather than Olympic operational costs.