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.

Ex-Canadian Olympic Committee president sorry for behavior, quits law firm

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MONTREAL (AP) — Former Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut has apologized for his behavior amid allegations he sexually harassed several women.

He said in a statement Friday he has been “living in turmoil,” offering “unreserved apologies” from the “bottom of my heart” to all who have been hurt by his conduct. The 67-year-old Aubut adds he is leaving his BCF law firm and seeking counseling.

Aubut resigned as Canadian Olympic Committee president last weekend after women accused him of sexual comments and unwanted touching. Interim president Tricia Smith has said the organization’s board was not aware of “any specific interactions that would be construed as harassment.”

Aubut was CEO of the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques until the team moved to Colorado in 1995. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

MORE: Canada sets Rio 2016 medals goal

Magnificent Seven reunion in the works

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Magnificent Seven teammates had a message for team captain Amanda Borden after they won gold at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.

“You have to get us back together,” Borden remembered in a phone interview Friday.

Reunions have been rare in the last 15 years, but Borden said she’s been in contact with all of her teammates to arrange at least one get-together in 2016 to mark the 20-year anniversary of their Olympic triumph.

“It’s easier said than done,” said Borden, who owns two Phoenix-area gyms with her husband and has three children. “I know every one of us really wants to make it happen. We are definitely doing it. It’s just a matter of if all of us can be there.”

It may happen in Atlanta. It may be at a USA Gymnastics event, such as the Olympic trials in San Jose, Calif., in July. It may be somewhere less visible, such as a warm beach.

It probably won’t happen in Rio de Janeiro, because it’s hard to coordinate the schedules of all seven women for an event abroad, even though some will be at the Olympics anyway.

Borden and Kerri Strug said they don’t remember all seven members of the team being together since 2008, the year the Magnificent Seven shared a stage for a U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame induction (photo here).

“[Borden] has put out the feelers; it seems like we’re on board,” Strug said while in New York last month for an Epson “Swimming in Ink” event with U.S. synchronized swimmers. “Do we want to do a cruise or take a vacation?”

The other Magnificent Seven team members were Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Shannon MillerDominique Moceanu and Jaycie Phelps.

MORE GYMNASTICS: Shannon Miller recalls 1996 Olympic podium thoughts in book excerpt