LA officially bidding for 2024 Olympics

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Chicago and Detroit have officially bowed out from bidding on the 2024 Olympics, and Boston is probably done as well. But Los Angeles made their desire to host a third Olympics official Thursday, as outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent a passionate letter to USOC chief Scott Blackmun.

“I am pleased to confirm our enthusiastic interest in bidding to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” the letter read. “Our City Council passed a resolution of support for a 2024 bid… We are proud of our city’s sports heritage and tradition, and we stand ready to work with you to bring the Olympic Games back to the United States.”

The council’s resolution and a letter of support signed by notable athletes and celebrities like Magic Johnson, Tom Hanks, Barry Sanders, Janet Evans, Willie Banks, and other was included in the packet.

Last month, 35 American mayors received a letter from the USOC asking if their cities would be interested in submitting a bid for the 2024 Games. The USOC failed to secure bids in New York in 2012 and Chicago in 2016 due to rights disputes with the IOC that have since been negotiated.

The U.S. is considered a strong contender to host, but it will be up against Paris, Rome, Dubai, Doha, and Durban, South Africa. It’s still early in the process, though, since the final IOC vote isn’t until 2017.

Los Angeles hosted America’s most successful Games back in 1984, when the nation earned 83 gold medals amid a boycott from the Soviet Union, Cuba, and East Germany. The city also hosted the 1932 Games, which was similarly skipped by many nations, but only because of the Great Depression.

U.S., Great Britain to hold track and field dual meet

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The U.S. and Great Britain go head-to-head in a track and field meet on July 21 at the London Olympic Stadium.

“The Meet” will include nine running, jumping, hurdles and relay events and last two hours. Specific events and athletes will be announced early next year.

The U.S. topped the overall medal standings at every Olympics and world outdoor championships since 2004.

Great Britain is one of three countries to earn at least five medals at every Olympics and worlds since 2007, joining the U.S. and Kenya.

British athletes made six podiums at the just-completed worlds at the London Olympic Stadium, including in all four relays. The other two medals came from Mo Farah, who is moving to road racing and marathons after this season.

“The Meet” is similar to swimming’s “Duel in the Pool,” a biennial head-to-head competition between the U.S. and rival Australia from 2003 through 2007 and between the U.S. and Europe between 2009 and 2015.

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Maria Sharapova gets U.S. Open wild card

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NEW YORK (AP) — Maria Sharapova was granted a wild-card invitation for the U.S. Open’s main draw on Tuesday and will take part in a Grand Slam event for the first time in more than 1 ½ years.

Sharapova is among eight women given entry into the 128-player field by the U.S. Tennis Association — and by far the most noteworthy.

The former No. 1-ranked player and owner of five major titles, including the 2006 U.S. Open, has not entered a major tournament since the Australian Open in January 2016, when she tested positive for the newly banned drug meldonium.

That led to a 15-month doping ban, which expired in April. She returned to the tour, but her ranking — currently 148th — was too low to allow entry into major tournaments, and the French Open denied her a wild card. Sharapova planned to try to qualify for Wimbledon, but the 30-year-old Russian wound up skipping the grass-court portion of the season because of an injured left thigh.

Sharapova has been participating in tournaments via wild-card invitations, beginning in April on red clay at Stuttgart, Germany. She’s only played nine matches this season.

Sharapova was 19 when she won her U.S. Open trophy. Two years before, at 17, Sharapova won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. She has since completed a career Grand Slam and become one of the most recognizable — and marketable — athletes in the world.

The U.S. Open starts in Flushing Meadows on Aug. 28.

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