Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Baseball hopes WBC success will help Olympic bid

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While wrestling fans are new to wondering how and why their sport was unceremoniously ousted from the Olympics, the feeling is old hat for baseball and softball aficionados, who saw their sports voted out in a similar fashion back in 2005.

But with all three sports vying to reenter the Games through upcoming IOC votes, baseball and softball officials think the success of the recent World Baseball Classic has boosted their chances of regaining Olympic status for the 2020 Games.

Apparently the global ticket sales and broadcast numbers exceeded expectations, which WBSF co-president Riccardo Fraccari said “clearly indicate that our sport could help further drive the Olympic brand in key and lucrative regions.”

The other WBSF co-president, Don Porter, echoed the sentiment, saying he believes baseball and softball can be the “next global game.” No doubt that wrestlers have a different opinion.

Elana Meyers Taylor drives to second world bobsled title

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KOENIGSSEE, Germany (AP) — Elana Meyers Taylor of the United States edged Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries of Canada for her second world championship gold in women’s bobsled on Saturday.

Meyers, who won her first in 2015, and brakewoman Kehri Jones edged Humphries and Melissa Lotholz by 0.03 seconds after four runs.

“Kaillie gave me a run for the money from top to the finish. So I knew I had to put it together. And today we did,” said Meyers, who held a 0.02-second lead after Friday’s first two runs.

Jamie Greubel Poser of the U.S. was third, 0.23 seconds back with brakewoman Aja Evans, for her first world championship medal.

European champion Mariama Jamanka and her brakewoman Annika Drazek of Germany were fourth, followed by Christina Hengster/Jennifer Onasanya of Austria and Alysia Rissling/Cynthia Appiah of Canada.

Japan’s Maria Oshigiri and Arisa Kimishima celebrated their debut by placing seventh.

Earlier, Germany’s Francesco Friedrich was fastest in both runs to lead Justin Kripps of Canada at the halfway stage in two-man bobsled.

Defending champion Friedrich and his brakeman Thorsten Margis were 0.52 seconds ahead of Kripps and Jesse Lumsden.

Johannes Lochner of Germany was 0.63 back in third with Joshua Bluhm, then Nick Poloniato and Neville Wright of Canada.

American pilot Steven Holcomb was seventh, 0.87 off the pace.

Friedrich is bidding for his fourth successive gold. The title will be decided on Sunday.

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IOC boss welcomes talk of awarding 2024, 2028 Olympics together

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 16: IOC President Thomas Bach closing remarks during the fourth day of the 21st ANOC General Assembly at the Sheraton Grand Hotel on November 16, 2016 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images for ANOC)
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ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach welcomes talk that two Summer Games hosts could be picked at the same time in September.

“I like it that people are talking in this way about the Olympic candidature procedure,” Bach told The Associated Press on Saturday, amid speculation Los Angeles and Paris could both get hosting rights for either the 2024 or 2028 Olympics.

“It shows that people are caring. This we appreciate very much.”

Bach fueled the dual award debate in December, when he suggested the current bidding process “produces too many losers.”

Persistent ongoing speculation about rewarding two 2024 bidders “may give us some ideas,” the IOC president said during a visit to the ski world championships.

The IOC has not formally begun any 2028 bid process, and it is also unclear if cities which are targeting that contest would have grounds for complaint about a dual award in September.

Los Angeles and Paris are in the 2024 Olympics bid contest with Budapest, Hungary.

Budapest is seen as the outsider, and could even withdraw next week under pressure from an opposition political group to force a referendum

The city’s mayor, Istvan Tarlos, said on Friday he discussed the bid’s status with Prime Minister Viktor Orban. More meetings were planned on Wednesday.

Bach was asked by the AP on Saturday if the IOC could arrive in Lima, Peru, for the Sept. 13 hosting vote with two candidates and two winners.

“Let us discuss. This is a discussion,” the president said. “It also depends on the timing. This is, you know, why I appreciate also the public discussion.

“There are many options.”

Los Angeles and Paris are viewed as high-quality options for the IOC, and it is unclear if either would bid again in a new 2028 process if they failed to win the 2024 hosting rights.

Bach made creating a more flexible and cost-effective Summer and Winter Games hosting process central to his presidency in a reform program called Olympic Agenda 2020.

The German official acknowledged in December that some challenges remained.

“This procedure as it is … in our political environment in such a fragile world just produces too many losers,” Bach said on Saturday.

He also suggested that Olympic unrest in Budapest was down to a new political group that “wanted to make a name.”

“The referendum is obviously considered by them to be a good tool to put themselves on the map of the political landscape in Hungary,” Bach said.

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