South African President Jacob Zuma said his country would be “very happy” to host the first Olympic on the African continent, and believes, after hosting the 2010 World Cup, they now have “sufficient facilities to do so” by 2024.
“If we are given an opportunity in the near future, we’ll certainly welcome that…” Zuma told City Press. “Ever since 1994, we have been part of the world and have hosted a number of important world events… We certainly welcome if the Olympic committee offered us to host.”
Durban, South Africa is seen as the most likely candidate, and actually considered a bid to host the 2020 Games before the government decided in 2011 to use the available money on more pressing national priorities, namely the funding of social services. But a feasibility study was carried out by the government in 2012, and now the Olympics are once again a possibility.
On top of going against fellow African cities like Nairobi, Kenya and Casablanca, Morocco in the 2024 bid, Durban is like to face bids from a strong U.S. contender like Los Angeles or Philadelphia, as well as the 100-year anniversary of the last Paris Games, and cities like Berlin, Rome, Toronto, and Dubai.
Christie Rampone, the 40-year-old captain of the 2015 U.S. Women’s World Cup team, has yet to return to full fitness after December knee surgery and pulled out of a U.S. camp ahead of two pre-Olympic friendlies in June.
Her bid for a fifth Olympics, and to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player of all time, is in danger.
The camp begins Friday. The friendlies against rival Japan (which failed to qualify for Rio) are June 2 and June 5.
“I don’t feel 100 percent healthy enough to train and compete at that level,” Rampone said in a press release Tuesday. “I’ve been able to manage myself and contribute to Sky Blue [her club team] this season, which I will continue to do, but I also have an understanding of the level of fitness and health needed to push for an Olympic roster spot, and I know I’m not there right now. It’s not the right choice for myself or the team to put myself in that environment.”
Rampone, a defender, hasn’t played for the U.S. since her December arthroscopic knee surgery. At the 2015 Women’s World Cup, she played a total of 14 minutes.
The U.S. national team is currently without nine players from the 23-player World Cup team, though some are expected back for the Olympics, but only one of the missing other than Rampone is a defender (the retired Lori Chalupny).
The U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team for London was named in May 2012, but the Rio roster of 18 players is expected to be announced by early July.
VIDEO: Hope Solo ‘begrudgingly’ going to Rio Olympics
NBC Olympics and Fandango partnered for Fandango’s “I Love Movies: Rio Olympic Edition,” featuring swimming gold medalists Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Matt Grevers, among other Olympians and Paralympians.
Leading up to the Rio Games, NBC Olympics and Fandango plan to release episodes with dozens of athletes from gymnastics, track and field, diving, basketball rugby and Paralympic events.
Watch Lochte’s short film above and Franklin and Grevers reveal their favorite movies below.
Lochte, Franklin and Grevers will look to qualify for the Rio Olympics at the Olympic Trials in Omaha from June 26-July 3, with broadcast coverage on NBC Sports.
MORE: Full NBC Olympic trials broadcast schedule