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Olympics set to lose largest sponsor

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Russia’s ‘Friendship Games’ are politically motivated and violate Olympic Charter says IOC

After Paris 2024, the Olympic Games may lose Toyota, one of the Games’ main sponsors. Japan’s Kyodo News report that Toyota will end its sponsorship contract with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after this year’s games in Paris. The report cited unidentified sources close to the matter.

Toyota’s deal, announced in 2015, is believed to be the largest sponsorship agreement ever signed by the IOC. At the time, Japanese media reported that it would be worth $835 million.

According to Kyodo’s report, sources at Toyota were unhappy with how the IOC has used the money. The automaker believes the committee is not doing enough to support the athletes and promote the games.

During the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2021, the IOC was criticized for not doing enough to support the mental health of its competitors.

Toyota sources told Kyodo that the company would like to continue sponsoring the Paralympic games. The IOC, however, requires its partners to support all its events. The main sponsors of the Olympic Games are classified as TOP – The Olympic Partners.

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Toyota is one of just 15 “TOP” sponsors as part of The Olympic Partner program. TOP is the highest level of sponsorship for the games and is limited to one per industry. Other brands include Coca-Cola, Samsung, Intel, Corona Cero, and Procter & Gamble.

Toyota pulled its commercials from the delayed 2021 Olympic games in Tokyo, and executives skipped the opening ceremonies in response to concerns about safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Olympics

Condoms to be shared, but athletes dislike anti-sex beds in Olympic Village

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An Olympic news website, Inside the Games has opened up on decision by Olympic Games’ organisers to use cardboard beds at the Games Village where the Paris 2024 athletes are camping.

It is simply to reduce athletes’ promiscuity. The use of cardboard bed was first implemented at the Tokyo 2020 held in 2021.

 However, it is gathered that the decision had its root in 2016 games in Rio Brazil. Then, there was a sex scandal involving a diver, Ingrid Olivera and rower, Pedro Goncalves.

Oliveira recounted that although news of their encounters leaked and reached the Brazilian Olympic Committee, her impeccable record allowed her to continue competing. However, the situation subjected her to a “painful public scrutiny.”

She was not alone in admitting that sexual relationships are common in the Olympic Village. To justify her actions, she reportedly mentioned the famous sprinter Usain Bolt, who was also involved in similar situations without receiving as much media attention.

“They distributed an impressive number of condoms in the Olympic Village. Were they for making balloons? Bolt brought a girl without credentials to his room, and many used Tinder. But those cases didn’t get leaked,” Oliveira remarked, frustrated by the injustice she experienced and still experiences to a lesser extent today.

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Celine Dion arrival sets tongues wagging at Paris 2024

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The arrival of Celine Dion in Paris has sparked rumours that the Canadian singer who on account of health issues, has not performed for some time could be a surprise actress in Friday’s Opening Ceremony of Paris 2024.

Dion is one of the greatest international artists of recent decades. Her career has reached major milestones. She was already a star when she performed the theme song for the film Titanic, “My heart will go on”.

Following this, she became one of the most famous and world renowned artists.

 But two years ago, she was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS), a rare neurological disease. It was discovered in the middle of the 20th century, but since then, no cure has yet been found. Patients receive palliative treatments, but they are less effective when the disease progresses.

What SPS causes is involuntary muscle spasms. It affects Dion’s walking and singing. She recounted this in a documentary entitled “I am: Celine Dion”, released by Prime Video last June.

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It’s an honour to captain Team Nigeria, says record-making Anu Opeyori

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Anuoluwapo Opeyori whose appointment as the  as the General Team Captain for Nigeria at the Paris 2024 Games sets a record as the first badminton player to lead the country at the Olympic Games continues his record-making spree.

His qualification for Paris 2024 has made him Nigeria’s first back-to-back badminton player at the Olympics. He is one of the 173 badminton players at Paris 2024. He featured at the delayed Tokyo 2020 and will thus made a back-to-back appearance.

Here in France, he told the Sports Village Square that he is elated to be named to captain Nigeria and gave his gratitude to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) for the honour. “I see it as a higher call to service”, remarked the badminton player who is out to make history to become the best ever African badminton player at the Olympics.

Prior to now, he had told BBC that: “my target is to get to the quarter-final because once I’m able to win one game, I believe that will be a big upset for everyone and I should be able to achieve more than that.”

From being out to end Africa’s Olympic badminton jinx comes the additional pressure to meet his aspirations. “No sir”, there is no additional pressure. It is a higher call to service”, he told Sports Village Square.

“I assure you that Team Nigeria shall make great marks at these Games.” He remarked that the captainship has inspired him to be a role model to the athletes and youths of his generation.

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“I am now compelled to be a leader and take care of the athletes’ welfare and lift their spirits. I am out to inspire them with the ‘can do’ spirit.

“We are moving from the realm of just participants to being strong competitors”, said Opeyori.

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