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Fast Break - September 2007

Disputing the Gold; Oscillating Fans

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September 2007
Fast News
Disputing the Gold The United States Olympic Committee will have to drum up $3.3 million for its part in organizing a series of international sports competitions that never took place.

According to Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports, a three-person arbitration panel of legal experts awarded the money to the Seattle Organizing Committee, which was forced to cancel the 2005 Pacific Rim Summit after a series of financial complications. The committee had hoped to repeat the event - which was to last for seven days and feature Olympics-caliber athletes - in subsequent years leading up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The panel's decision - in which the arbitrators outlined a series of failures to meet financial and time obligations on the part of the USOC, which was also backing the project - will allow the SOC's Bob Walsh to pay back about 40 creditors and contractors, the P-I reported.

"The failure of the event to occur lies at USOC's door," the panel wrote.

USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel told the P-I's Greg Johns that the organization willfully entered arbitration, and said, "We will, of course, honor the decision. That said, we strongly disagree with their conclusion."

Oscillating Fans While the gender gap in sports participation has closed, men and women consume sports differently, according to a new study led by University of Michigan sociologist Andrei Markovits.

The study, in which 845 U of M students (398 men and 447 women, 434 university student-athletes and 411 non-athletes) responded, suggests men are still more active viewers of sports than women, though manifestations of sports consumerism may be taking uniquely gendered paths.

For example, men said they spend an average of eight hours a week watching sports-related television programs, compared to 3.2 hours per week for women. In addition, men said they spend more time each week attending live sporting events than women, and said they were more drawn to attend the university because of its strong athletics reputation than women. The surveyed men also were more able to name professional athletes on current and historical rosters than were women.

The study did find some striking similarities between the genders (men and women are similarly far more likely to support their local or regional collegiate and professional teams than support teams in other parts of the country, for example). And in rare instances, the study finds that women are more invested than men in terms of sports culture. They said they were more apt to wear team colors or logos during televised or live sporting events than were men.

Markovits credits Title IX with creating "nearly equal footing," between men and women when it comes to sports participation, but he says female athletes and non-athletes alike have forged new ground when it comes to their fandom. "Women identify with Michigan sports - and Michigan football - just as enthusiastically as men, but this identification has a very different meaning to them when we look at it in the larger context of football in America."

In the Field
Company News
  • The Active Network Inc. announced the acquisition of, an online community for high school and college lacrosse players and fans.
  • Fitness equipment manufacturer Precor expanded its headquarters and principal manufacturing campus in Woodinville, Wash., to include a 95,000-square-foot operations facility, and earned recognition from Washington state for best workplace processes and operating practices.
  • Sportsfield Specialties Inc. established the new PlayersGoal division to provide sales, service and support direct to athletic departments and teams.
  • Nautilus Inc. recognized the passing of Arthur Jones, the inventor of Nautilus training equipment.
  • Clarification: The company that supplied and is providing ongoing service for all exercise equipment and accessories at the University of Nevada Las Vegas' new student recreation and wellness center is Advantage Fitness Products in Los Angeles, not the company of the same name based in Oak Ridge, N.C.

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