Fourteen IOC officials are starting their three city tour this week, which will take them from Tokyo to Madrid to Istanbul as they evaluate each city vying to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
The evaluation committee, headed by IOC Vice President Craig Reedie of Britain, will assess each potential host, meet with city and Olympic officials, and inspect possible issues with finances, accommodations, transportation, and security before they create reports they’ll submit to all the IOC members before a vote on September 7.
“The interesting thing about this one is that all three have been candidates before on a number of occasions,” Reedie explained to the AP on Thursday. Istanbul is back for its fifth bid, Madrid is on its third bid in a row, and Tokyo, which hosted in 1964, is bidding for a second consecutive time.
Given the current world economic climate, finances are likely to play a big role in determining which country is best suited to host the Games. Istanbul brings a $19.2 billion budget towards necessary infrastructure, but has a lot to build. While Tokyo has only $4.9 billion budgeted, and Madrid, which is in a deep recession and has a 25 percent unemployment rate, has just $1.9 billion set aside.
Reedie added that the visit by the evaluation committee is often the most important part of the bidding process, and was paramount in the IOC’s decision to award London its third Olympics in 2012.
“It was a seminal moment in terms of encouraging a slightly skeptical British media that this was serious and this was good. If we can do that in Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul, we serve the Olympic movement and the ambitions of these cities.”
In a tearful social media video, Olympic 100m hurdles champion Dawn Harper-Nelson said Thursday that she was “afraid for my life” because she’s not allowed to take prescribed blood-pressure medication that is banned by anti-doping authorities.
“I just want to say that this is not fair, that I’m afraid for my life,” she said. “I’m about to go into urgent care, because my blood pressure’s really high again. And USADA [U.S. Anti-Doping Agency] said I can’t take the medicine the doctors giving me. And they’re giving me a new medicine. This is just not OK. My head’s bothering me, my vision’s kind of blurry, and they said my blood pressure is high. I’m scared. People need to be aware, this is not cool.”
Harper-Nelson is serving a three-month ban after previously taking a prescribed medication and failing to learn that it contained a banned substance. She said she was prescribed the medication after being rushed to an emergency room and diagnosed with high blood pressure. The ban ends March 1.
Athletes can request therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) through USADA if they have an illness or condition that requires the use of medication listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. It’s not clear if Harper-Nelson has requested a TUE for medication containing a banned substance.
Harper-Nelson tested positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, which is on the prohibited list, and related metabolites on Dec. 1, according to USADA:
Harper-Nelson’s explanation that her positive test was caused by a blood pressure medication she was prescribed by a physician to treat hypertension. Harper-Nelson further explained that she made efforts to determine if the medication contained prohibited substances; however, due to using partial search terms, those efforts were unsuccessful.
On Thursday, A USADA official reached out to Harper-Nelson on Twitter. USADA has not commented on the situation.
Harper-Nelson won the 2008 Olympic 100m hurdles title and took silver behind Sally Pearson in 2012. She failed to make the Rio Olympic team, getting eliminated in the Olympic Trials semifinals.
The U.S. trio in Rio swept the medals — Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin.
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A 766-shot table-tennis rally, believed to be the longest ever, was a highlight of a tournament in Qatar this week.
Rio Olympian Li Jie of the Netherlands and Hitomi Sato of Japan played for 10 minutes, 13 seconds, neither wanting to attack, before the point was cut short (mercifully) by another ball bouncing near the table.
An expedite rule, forcing a point to end within 13 shots by the player returning serve, was then enforced to speed up play. Li ended up winning in the maximum seven games.
Li and Sato were playing at the International Table Tennis Federation World Tour’s Qatar Open.
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