Qatar still aiming to host Olympics

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You just can’t keep a good country down. Qatar Olympic officials, who failed to secure Olympic bids in 2016 and 2020, said they won’t give up in their pursuit of hosting the first Middle East Games.

General secretary Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said at the Aspire4Sport business conference that he believes the next bid will be even stronger because of what they’ve learned from past hosts.

“We have watched countries build large venues and struggle later with what to do with them,” al-Thani said. “Our team has worked backwards, thinking first about how these venues can be of use in the future before planning their use during major events.”

The real problem: Doha has average summer temperatures north of 105 degrees and doesn’t start to cool off until November, meaning they might need to hold the event as close as possible to winter.

Not unprecedented, since the Sydney and Seoul Games were moved to late September, but going all the way into the fall could pose rating problems with the Olympics going up against the NFL, NBA, and NHL.

Doha, which is roughly the size of Connecticut and has only 1.7 million people, has already secured the 2022 World Cup, so they’ll be able to prove to the world they can run a major sporting event in due time. But they’d like to secure the Games sooner than later as it aims to be the Middle Eastern sports hub.

Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar. Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February.

The Rostelecom Cup free dance and pairs and women’s free skates are later Saturday.

A full Rostelecom Cup broadcast schedule is here.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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