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.
Olympic gold medalists ramp up their track and field seasons at the Penn Relays and Drake Relays, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.
Athletes are working toward the U.S. Championships in June and the world championships in August.
First, the historic Penn Relays will air on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Friday (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-3 p.m. ET).
USA vs. The World in men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays will air live on Saturday from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. A full schedule is here.
The U.S. teams are led by Olympic relay champions English Gardner and Natasha Hastings. The full roster is here.
Rio Olympic rematches highlight the individual-event fields at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 3-5 p.m ET on Saturday. A full schedule is here.
Perhaps no field is deeper than the 100m hurdles. World-record holder Keni Harrison takes on Rio silver and bronze medalists Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, plus 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.
The 110m hurdles contingent is strong as well. It features the last two Olympic champions, Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt, plus 2013 World champion David Oliver.
Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, who earned silver and bronze in Rio, go head-to-head again in the 400m at Drake.
The men’s 1500m is headlined by Rio Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and London Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano.
Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson races individually for the first time this year in the women’s 1500m.
That field also includes New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, who gained fame of her own in Rio. Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino fell in an Olympic 5000m heat and helped each other make it to the finish line. Both were praised for their sportsmanship.
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Esports are gaining momentum in the international sports movement, but they are not close to becoming an Olympic sport.
“We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” IOC president Thomas Bach said Tuesday, according to insidethegames. “We do not see an organization or a structure that will give us confidence, or guarantee, that in this area the Olympic rules and values of sport are respected and in place, and that the implementation of these rules are monitored and secured.”
The first clear step (of many) to become an Olympic sport is for the IOC to recognize the sport’s international governing body.
Esports will be added as a medal sport to the Asian Games in 2022, and has been praised by LA 2024 Olympic bid chairman Casey Wasserman, but it is not yet IOC recognized.
“We are watching it, we see the differences, we see the lack of organisation,” Bach said, according to the report. “But we also see the high engagement of youth in esports. Therefore, we have to carefully consider how this could be consolidated.”
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