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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.

Elana Meyers Taylor crashes, brakewoman ejected (video)

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Two-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor‘s start to the World Cup bobsled season was both record-breaking and painful.

Meyers Taylor and brakewoman Kehri Jones had the fastest women’s start time ever recorded on the 2010 Olympic track in Whistler, B.C., on Saturday.

But only one of them made it to the finish.

Meyers Taylor crashed the sled during their first run, with the impact causing Jones to eject out the back and slide along the chute before coming to a stop.

Both athletes were able to walk off the track, according to U.S. Bobsled.

Meyers Taylor missed four races last season while receiving treatment for long-term effects from a January 2015 concussion. She returned to win at the last two stops.

MORE: Why Steven Holcomb mulled retirement

Diver Sammy Lee, first Asian-American male gold medalist, dies at 96

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18:  1948 and 1952 Olympic platform diving gold medalist Dr. Sammy Lee and Olympic diving hopeful Brittany Viola of the United States attend the Team USA Road to London 100 Days Out Celebration in Times Square on April 18, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for USOC)
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Dr. Sammy Lee, the first Asian-American man to win an Olympic gold medal and first male diver to repeat as Olympic champion, died of pneumonia at age 96 on Friday, according to the University of Southern California.

Lee was born in Fresno, Calif., of Korean parents.

He unretired from a medical career to compete in his first Olympics in London in 1948, after the Games took a 12-year break due to World War II.

Lee earned platform gold and springboard bronze in 1948 and then retired, unretired and defended his platform title in 1952. Lee and another Asian-American, Victoria Manolo-Draves, who had a Filipino father and English mother, both won diving titles in 1948, with Draves’ springboard gold coming first.

Lee also served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Korean War.

He succeeded despite facing racial discrimination. From TeamUSA.org:

When Sammy was growing up, non-whites could use the pool where he practiced one day a week, on Wednesdays only. And then, as he has told it, the pool would be emptied after the non-whites used it, and fresh water was brought in the next day.

When the pool was off-limits, Sammy practiced by jumping into a sand pile.

Lee went on to coach divers, including Greg Louganis, after his competitive career, and continued his medical work. He graduated from USC’s medical school in 1947.

He is a member of the U.S. Olympic and International Swimming Halls of Fame.

*Correction: An earlier version of this post erroneously reported Lee was the first Asian-American Olympic champion. He was the second.