USOC happy with responses to bid letter

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U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said he’s pretty happy with the responses they’ve received in the two-plus weeks since he and his crew sent letters to 35 mayors to gauge their interest in hosting the 2024 Olympic Games.

“We’ve gotten a handful of really positive responses and a handful of ‘Gee, thanks for asking, but this really isn’t the right fit for us,'” Blackmun said during a conference call Friday.

“We don’t want to get into any specific responses, but it’s really going well… We also want to respect the cities who want to gauge in this process quietly if that’s what they elect to do.”

Los Angeles, which hosted in 1932 and 1984, has been the most vocal about its desire for the Games to return to the city. San Francisco, Boston, and Dallas have also formed exploratory committees, Tulsa and Orlando seem to have backing from citizens, and Chicago and Detroit have bowed out.

No word yet on Phoenix. Lame. Blackmun estimated that operating costs would exceed $3 billion, not including venue and infrastructure construction. The bidding process alone is likely to cost $10 million.

“Our hope is we can reduce some of the cost that the domestic process has in the past,” Blackmun said. “It’s going to be streamlined and based on more streamlined discussions.”

The USOC still has a couple years before they decide which city they’ll back for the bid, if any. There’s also the possibility it would forgo the 2024 bid and aim for the Winter Games in 2026, in which Denver, Reno/Tahoe, and Salt Lake City have all expressed interest.

American Krupp, Canadian Macek fully committed to Germany

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Bjorn Krupp’s journey started at the Duluth IceForum in suburban Atlanta.

Brooks Macek piled up the points in Bantam hockey in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the Notre Dame Hounds.

Men’s Gold Medal Final: OAR vs. CZE, Stream LIVE HERE 11:10p.m. EST / 8:10p.m. PST

Now they’re in the Olympic gold-medal game for Germany, having advanced further than the teams from their home countries. The U.S.-born Krupp and Canadian-born Macek have German fathers and now call Germany home with no apologies for beating or scoring against the countries of their birth.

When Macek scored a go-ahead power-play goal in what turned out to be a remarkable upset semifinal win against Canada, he pumped his fist and never felt conflicted about beating a team with the Maple Leafs on its jerseys.

Click here to read the rest of the story and watch highlights from the men’s hockey competition

Continuity carries Germany, Russians into Olympic final

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — They forged bonds from Riga to Cologne and in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

It’s all led Germany and the Russians to a David versus Goliath Olympic gold-medal game Sunday. Even though the Russians were favorites all along and expected to win gold in a tournament without NHL stars and Germany was a longshot to even reach the semifinals after not qualifying in Sochi, these two teams are more similar than they are different.

NBCOlympics.com: OAR to face surprising Germany in final

Their familiarity and continuity is the biggest reason they’re facing off in the final.

Germany’s core group has been together through the Olympic qualification tournament and world championships and has played the same system for the past three years under coach Marco Sturm. The Russians’ 25-man roster is made up of 15 players from SKA St. Petersburg and eight from CSKA Moscow, the two best teams in the Kontinental Hockey League.

“That’s a big key to our success,” Germany defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said Saturday. “We were very familiar with each other. … (The Russians also) should be really familiar because almost everybody plays on the same teams in Russia.”

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