Boston officials “imagine” Olympics at committee meeting

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Boston’s Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development heard testimony Tuesday from citizens and officials advocating for New England to throw its proverbial hat in the ring as they consider hosting the Games in 2024.

“While security is, and will always be, a major concern in any Olympics, our first responders have proven to be more than up to the task. Our Boston police, fire and EMS have proven to be the most dedicated and prepared in the world,” Boston City Councilor Matthew O’Malley said Tuesday.

“Imagine soccer matches in Foxboro, basketball in Springfield, sailing in Newport, rowing along the Charles, tennis in Lowell, beach volleyball at the National Seashore and running the Olympic Marathon down our route, which begins in Hopkinton and ends on Boylston Street.”

It seems like the idea that was originally called “far-fetched” by mayor Tommy Menino a couple months ago is gaining steam, much to the delight of the Boston Olympic Exploratory group that has spent nearly a year working toward their dream of bringing the world to Boston.

Now the committee is expected to vote on State Senator Eileen Donoghue’s bill, which aims to commission a nine-member team to study the logistics of Boston hosting an Olympics, including examining the infrastructure, transportation, hospitality, venue locations, budgets, and more. If the bill passes commmittee, it will then move on to a vote in the Massachusetts House and Senate.

“It is important to hold this hearing today to discuss the Olympics,” Donoghue said. “And how we can show the world how extraordinary our city, our commonwealth and our people are.”

2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships to be in San Jose

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The 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the final competition to determine the Pyeongchang Olympic team, will be in San Jose, California, at the SAP Center, concluding Jan. 7.

It appears to be the earliest the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will end in an Olympic year in at least 50 years.

The competition will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed live on Icenetwork.com.

San Jose previously hosted the U.S. Championships in 1996 and 2012, but it has never hosted in an Olympic year.

Sochi Olympian Polina Edmunds is from San Jose and figures to receive a boost of crowd support. Edmunds, 18, begins classes at nearby Santa Clara University next month.

The January 2017 U.S. Championships will be in Kansas City. The international figure skating season starts next month, with Skate America kicking off the Grand Prix season in October.

Recent Nationals host cities in Olympic years were Boston in 2014 and Spokane, Washington, in 2010.

MORE: Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold headline Skate America

Fiji Olympic rugby coach given 3 acres of land, special name

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11:  Gold medalists Ro Dakuwaqa of Fiji and Fiji head coach Ben Ryan celebrate after the medal ceremony for the Men's Rugby Sevens on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympics at Deodoro Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
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Olympic coaches don’t receive gold medals. Fiji Olympic men’s rugby coach Ben Ryan may have gotten something better anyway.

Ryan’s reward for guiding Fiji to its first Olympic medal in any sport — gold in rugby sevens’ Olympic debut — included three acres of land in Fiji and a new name, Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara, according to Fijian reports.

Ryan, a London native, is stepping down as coach of the Fijian team. The 44-year-old coached the team for three years after leading the England national sevens team for six years.

MORE: Fiji wins nation’s first Olympic medal