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IOC “hugely impressed” by Tokyo bid

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The IOC evaluation commission still needs to visit Madrid and Istanbul in the coming weeks, but IOC vice president Craig Reddie is absolutely glowing after his four day inspection of Tokyo’s bid.

“We have been hugely impressed by the quality of bid presentations by the bid committee,” Reddie said at a news conference Thursday. “Across the board, it has been excellent in every way.”

Reddie also said that he was impressed by Japan’s government support, including the presence of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at some of this week’s presentations. Prime Minister Abe also invited the commission to a dinner where they were met by Japan’s medalists from the London Games.

“The best thing about the Games here would be exactly what happened in my own city of London,” Reedie added. “We share enthusiasm, the movement for sport, [and] the development for sport.”

Toyota chairman Fujio Cho almost met with the group and told them that his company, and a number of other large Japanese corporations, are ready to support the Olympics should they come back Tokyo for the first time since 1964. Japanese officials say the Games could have a potential $32 billion impact, as well as show how the country has recovered from the 2011 Tsunami.

Next up, the evaluation commission will visit Madrid starting on March 18.

Once the commission is finished scouting each city’s potential as an Olympics host, they’ll write up reports for the 101 IOC members to read through before a meeting this July at HQ. There they’ll hear the final pitches from all three Olympic committees. The final vote will take place September 7 in Buenos Aires.

U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

Bob Costas’ report 100 days out from Rio (video)

Bob Costas
NBC News
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Bob Costas reported from Rio de Janeiro for NBC News on Wednesday, 100 days out from the Opening Ceremony.

In the clip below, Michael PhelpsSimone Biles and even Brazil soccer legend Pelé comment on preparing for the first Games in South America.

Costas finished the clip with a stand-up from Copacabana Beach, where beach volleyball will take place in August.

VIDEO: Bob Costas picks biggest storyline of Rio Olympics