IOC Evaluation Commission releases its 2020 Olympics report

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The IOC Evaluation Commission released a 110-page report Tuesday detailing the three potential host cities for the 2020 Olympics – Tokyo, Istanbul, and Madrid – and looking at everything from the city’s vision for the Games, to safety and security, finances, transportation, and media operations.

“The Evaluation Commission made sure to produce a report that we feel is an accurate, objective, and fair assessment of each of the three Candidate Cities,” Commission Chairman Sir Craig Reedie said of the evaluation process.

“We are indeed very pleased with the quality of each bid and it is clear that the IOC members will have a difficult choice to make this September in Buenos Aires.”

The Commission visited the three cities for four days each this past March before writing their up their official report, which the full IOC membership will pore over before the 2020 Candidate Cities Briefing at the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne on July 3 and 4. Then the group will meet again on September 7 in Buenos Aires to hear the cities presentations before a final vote.

And while this process officially started back in May 2011 when the IOC asked for its national organizations to nominate hosts for the Games, for some Olympic officials this process dates all the way back to the late 1980s: this Istanbul’s fifth bid for the Olympics in the last six cycles.

You can read the full report here.

No NHL players means more mistakes and goals at Olympics

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Hockey is a game of mistakes and it’s on display in fine form at the Olympics.

It doesn’t look beautiful, of course, with players all outside the NHL turning the puck over for point-blank scoring chances or leaving opponents wide open in front. The talent level is lower, so the risk factors and the entertainment level are up. Goaltenders have to be on their toes for unexpected, game-saving stops even more than usual.

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“It’s a short tournament: A few mistakes can decide your fate,” Finland goaltender Karri Ramo said Saturday. “You try to create more than carry it out of the zone, so obviously teams are trying to keep the puck and create scoring chances, so those mistakes happen. You’re not going to win if you play safe.”

There’s not a whole lot of safe, low-risk play so far, and scoring has increased as a result. After each team played twice, games were averaging 5.1 goals, up from 4.7 in Sochi with NHL players on the rosters.

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Ligety exits quietly, Hirscher brilliant again

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Marcel Hirscher, the Austrian ski god, is finally having his moment. King of the World Cup tour for the past seven seasons, on Sunday Hirscher won his second Olympic gold, in the giant slalom.

Hirscher had won a grand total of no Olympic medals, nada, zip, zero in two prior Games. Now he might — could, should — win three here at PyeongChang. The slalom, another Hirscher specialty, is due to be run Thursday.

To watch Hirscher ski is to watch one of the great athletes of our — or any — time. Like being courtside in Chicago to see Michael Jordan back in the day. At Wimbledon for a Roger Federer volley. At the Water Cube in Beijing in 2008 when Michael Phelps was swimming the butterfly.

In Sunday’s race, Kristoffersen finished second, 1.27 seconds back of Hirscher. Pinturault finished third, 1.31 behind.

American racer Ted Ligety used to own this event: the Sochi 2014 giant slalom gold medalist, he was world champion in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Pinturault took Sochi 2014 bronze.

Considering his relatively low slalom ranking and the pounding that slalom demands, Sunday’s GS was — just like that, that quickly, that quietly — likely the final race of Ligety’s outstanding Olympic career.

“This is probably it for me at these Games,” he said after run two, adding that he is planning to head back to Europe, to race the remainder of the World Cup season.

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