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Thomas Bach calls for “flexibility” in Olympics program

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With the recent recommendation to remove wrestling from the Olympics, and squash and baseball/softball possibly sitting on the sidelines again, IOC Presidential Candidate Thomas Bach is asking for some “flexibility” regarding which sports are included in the Olympics program.

He submitted his official 15-page manifesto, titled “Unity in Diversity,” to IOC members Wednesday. In it, he details a platform that includes the restructuring of the IOC, and a new look at the Olympics program that focuses on disciplines.

“The composition of the Olympic program is like a jigsaw puzzle: You cannot simply replace some pieces with others, because you may destroy the harmony of the whole picture,” Bach wrote in the document obtained by the AP. “We should allow ourselves some flexibility with regard to the program.”

Bach, who won fencing gold at the 1976 Games, also mentions the creation of an Olympic Television Network, a stronger anti-doping policy, and a review of the host city bidding process.

“The IOC president serves this orchestra as a conductor,” Bach added. “I will do my very best to conduct the IOC in this way of participation, dialogue, consensus and motivation.”

Bach is considered the frontrunner for the position, but is up against IOC VP Ng Ser Miang of Singapore, IOC Finance Commission chair Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, AIBA head C.K. Wu of Taiwan, and IOC members Denis Oswald of Switzerland and Sergei Bubka of Ukraine.

Katherine Reutter ends early retirement

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 26:  Katherine Reutter of the United States celebrates the silver medal in the Ladies 1000m Short Track Speed Skating Final on day 15 of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics at Pacific Coliseum on February 26, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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When Katherine Reutter retired in 2013 at the age of 24, she never thought she would return to the ice. Three hip surgeries and two major back injuries left the two-time Olympic short track speed skating medalist in constant pain.

But now Reutter is scheduled to compete this weekend at the U.S. Speedskating Short Track World Cup Qualifier at the Utah Olympic Oval.

“You wouldn’t expect somebody who has been as injured as I have to be back at their best,” Reutter said in a telephone interview from Utah. “I feel like I’m getting close.”

Reutter only started contemplating a comeback last November, after being inspired by attending a World Cup race as a member of the U.S. Speedskating Athlete Advisory Council.

She began a regimen of yoga twice a week and daily 30-minute walks when she returned to Milwaukee, where she was working as a coach for the Academy of Skating Excellence.

“I started off really, really slow,” she said. “I started to work out the amount that a normal person probably should.”

Pain free, Reutter began skating during the practices that she was coaching.

“I noticed the days I came home really happy were the days where I had skated,” she said.

Reutter only started to truly believe that she could return to skating competitively when she clocked times that she described as “pretty darn good” a training camp in Salt Lake City in May and June.

She has learned to listen to her body. After experiencing pain when she scheduled twice-daily workouts six days per week, she scaled back to four or five days per week.

“I don’t really have the option to overtrain like I used to,” she said.

Reutter’s goal this weekend is to earn a placement for the ISU World Cup, which begins Nov. 4-6 in Calgary. Eventually, she would like to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

But Reutter would be happy just being, well, happy.

“I am trying to live life to its happiest every single day,” she said, “and speed skating allows me to do that.”

Reutter recently changed her Twitter bio to say “comeback queen.”

“So far I’m the only one who calls me that,” she said, laughing. “I suppose people could get on board eventually”

MORE: Five athletes to know before the 2018 Winter Olympics

2020 Tokyo Olympics: A look at rising costs

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - SEPTEMBER 07:  International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge pulls out the name of the city of Tokyo elected to host the 2020 Summer Olympics during a session of the IOC in Buenos Aires, on September 7, 2013.   (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini /Pool/Getty Images)
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TOKYO (AP) — An expert panel set up by Tokyo’s newly elected governor says the price tag of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could exceed $30 billion unless drastic cost-cutting measures are taken. That’s more than a four-fold increase from the initial estimate at the time Tokyo was awarded the games in 2013.

Following is a breakdown of the panel’s projected costs by category. Original bid estimates have been included when available.

NATIONAL STADIUM

The building of the new national stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies and track and field, has been plagued by a series of problems. An earlier design by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid had risen to $2.65 billion, more than twice the original forecast. The Japanese government decided to scrap that plan and, on Friday, approved a new stadium project totaling nearly $1.5 billion. Officials say construction will begin in December and be completed by November 2019.

OLYMPIC VILLAGE

Located on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay, the panel estimates the cost at $954 million. The village is being built by a private consortium and will be rented during the games. The plan is to transform the village into a residential area after the games.

TEMPORARY VENUES

Organizers plan to build seven temporary venues for sports such as beach volleyball, triathlon and gymnastics. In July, the organizing committee acknowledged the cost of building those venues had surged to an estimated $2.6 billion, up from an initial estimate of $800 million.

PERMANENT VENUES

Tokyo plans to build seven new permanent venues to go along with 19 existing venues. The panel estimates the cost of the seven new permanent facilities at $2.24 billion. However, it has proposed using existing facilities for three sports – volleyball, swimming, rowing and canoe sprint – instead of building new permanent venues. The canoeing venue could move to Tome City in Miyagi prefecture, about 440 kilometers (270 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

“SOFT” COSTS (security, transportation, operating fees, etc.)

Based on estimates from the 2012 London Olympics, the panel suggests these costs could be as much as $16 billion, including $2 billion for transportation, $3 billion for security, $6 billion for energy and technology, and $5 billion for operating costs.

OTHER

The breakdown does not take into consideration unforeseen costs. The panel said these could arise from earthquake prevention measures and the possibility that additional venues may be moved outside of Tokyo, increasing transportation and security costs. Tokyo organizers are also looking at measures to counter the extreme heat in Tokyo and the panel took those potential costs into consideration when it came up with the estimate of $30 billion.

TOTAL COST:

Bid estimate: $7.3 billion.

Panel estimate: $30 billion.

MORE: Tokyo Olympics costs could top $30 billion, experts warn