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USOC evaluating 35 cities for potential 2024 bid

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The USOC sent letters to 35 mayors Tuesday in order to gauge interest and begin the process of hosting its first Olympics since 2002.

“Our objective in this process is to identify a partner city that can work with us to present a compelling bid to the IOC and that has the right alignment of political, business and community leadership,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in the letter.

“This letter does not guarantee that the USOC will bid for the 2024 Games, but rather is an initial step in evaluating a potential bid.”

The letter detailed the necessary requirements for hosting the Games, including 45,000 hotel rooms, an international airport, public transit, and workforce of more than 200,000 people.

The cities that have already expressed interest include Dallas, Tulsa, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles, which hosted in 1932 and 1984. My vote still goes to Phoenix.

Paris is seen as a favorite to host its third Olympics, but first in a century. Rome, Dubai, Doha, and Durban, South Africa are also strong contenders to host. The final vote won’t take place until 2017.

The USOC failed to secure bids for New York in 2012 and Chicago in 2016, which was blamed on disagreements regarding revenue sharing between the IOC and USOC. Those disagreements have since been patched up through negotiations.

Here’s a full list of the 35 cities that recieved the letter:

Phoenix, Arizona
Los Angeles, California
Sacramento, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
San Jose, California
Denver, Colorado
Washington, D.C.
Jacksonville, Florida
Miami, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Atlanta, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Indianapolis, Indiana
Baltimore, Maryland
Boston, Massachusetts
Detroit, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
St. Louis, Missouri
Las Vegas, Nevada
New York, New York
Rochester, New York
Charlotte, North Carolina
Columbus, Ohio
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Portland, Oregon
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Memphis, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Houston, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Seattle, Washington

Katie Ledecky helps Bryce Harper celebrate NL East title (video)

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, right, and Mark Melancon, left, celebrate after clinching the National League East following a 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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The Washington Nationals won the National League East title last night for the third time in five years.

Reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper donned a Katie Ledecky swim cap during the beer-soaked celebration to protect his hair, which he reportedly spends 30 minutes grooming before games.

Ledecky, a native of Bethesda, Maryland, is a longtime fan of the Nationals. Earlier this year, she had Harper hold her five Olympic medals from Rio while she threw the first pitch at a Nationals game.

Ledecky, who is currently taking classes at Stanford, Tweeted her approval of Harper’s headgear:

MORE: Katie Ledecky declines waffle maker on ‘Ellen’ to stay NCAA eligible

Kenenisa Bekele misses marathon world record by six seconds (video)

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele crosses the finish to win the 43th Berlin Marathon in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
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BERLIN (AP) — Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia pulled away from Wilson Kipsang of Kenya late in the race to win the Berlin Marathon just outside the world record time on Sunday.

Bekele’s winning time of two hours, 3 minutes and 3 seconds was six seconds outside Dennis Kimetto‘s world record, also set in Berlin in 2014 and is the second best time.

“I wanted to set a personal best and it’s a fantastic time, but it’s a little disappointing to miss the world record by so little,” Bekele said after the race.

Bekele and Kipsang opened a considerable lead over the rest of the field and ran shoulder-to-shoulder until Bekele pulled away with about two kilometers to go.

Kipsang finished 10 seconds behind Bekele in 2:03:13, faster than the 2:03:23 he clocked in winning the race in 2013, in what was then a world record.

Evans Chebet of Kenya was third in 2:05:31.

Bekele is considered one of the greatest distance runners of all time. He won three Olympic titles and five world championship golds and is the world record holder over 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

But he had been slow getting into the marathon, with his previous best of 2:05.04 set in his debut in winning the Paris race in 2014. He was third in London in April, after battling an Achilles’ tendon injury.

Bekele broke the Ethiopian record for the marathon, previously held by the great Haile Gebrselassie, who won the Berlin Marathon and set a world record of 2:03.59 in 2008.

Aberu Kebede led an Ethiopian sweep in the women’s race in 2:20:45. Birhane Dibaba was second in 2:23:58 and Ruti Aga third in 2:24:41.

MORE: Usain Bolt says he received offers to play wide receiver in the NFL (video)