Anchorage exploring 2026 Olympics bid

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A 23-member exploratory committee met in Anchorage, Alaska Tuesday to discuss the logistics of hosting the 2026 Winter Games and debate whether the city would be willing and able to put in a bid with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

“We still feel, in fact more confidently than ever, that Anchorage has the capability, the facilities and, most of all, the spirit and the willingness to be the host city,” Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan said.

“When you host these kinds of national events, it really just increases our resume, our capacity to put in this bid for the 2026 Olympics.”

But the biggest question on the table was, as always, how do you pay for the venues and other city improvements, and what do you do with them when the Games are over? Alaska has been struggling through the same economic issues as most other cities, and Olympic officials would need to build a new just-about-everything to accommodate the thousands of international spectators flooding to the city.

Sullivan suggests that the costs could ideally be covered by TV revenues, merchandising, and private contributions from corporations, and that spearheading a bid this early could help to alleviate the pressure.

Beyond those all important questions, Sullivan believes his city is otherwise well-equipped, with enough lodging and accommodations already, and the perfect location for prime-time TV audiences worldwide. Now he intends to spend the next eight months detailing everything from finances to venues and transportation so they have a clear plan to present to the USOC when initial bidding starts in 2015.

“I think we’re back on the right track,” he explained. “And you’re talking about Games in 2026, so it’s 13 years from now. You’d like to think we’ll be even better positioned than we are today.”

Anchorage has actually been a finalist to host the Olympics twice, finishing sixth in voting for the 1992 Games that went to Albertville, France, and third for the 1994 Games that ended up in Lillehammer, Norway.

Aliya Mustafina off Russia’s World Gymnastics Championships team

Aliya Mustafina
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Top Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina withdrew from the World Gymnastics Championships after being set back by injuries this summer, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

Mustafina’s place on the Russian team wavered in September as she tried to overcome health issues, most notably a back injury.

She was included on an original team of seven athletes — of which one would have to be an alternate — on Sept. 23 after being quoted by Russian media earlier in the month saying she would miss the World Championships in Glasgow in the last week of October.

Mustafina, 21, won all-around medals at the 2010 World Championships (gold), 2012 Olympics (bronze) and 2013 World Championships (bronze) and was fourth in 2014 while dealing with health problems.

Mustafina has been a stalwart in the Russian program. With her, the Russian team took silver behind the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics and bronze at the 2014 World Championships.

The seven-woman Russian team for Worlds includes Viktoria KomovaMaria Paseka and Ksenia Afanasyeva, 2012 Olympians who missed the 2013 and 2014 Worlds. Komova took all-around silver at the 2011 Worlds (behind Jordyn Wieber) and the 2012 Olympics (behind Gabby Douglas)

The new Russian star may be Daria Spiridonova, who won the Russian Cup all-around earlier this month and was also put on the seven-woman team for Glasgow.

MORE GYMNASTICS: Fierce Five member to miss World Championships

Usain Bolt beaten in race by boy YouTube sensation on Ellen

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Usain Bolt wasn’t dressed to race, but he took up a challenge from an unlikely opponent at The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday.

The six-time Olympic champion went on the show as part of a Los Angeles visit, three days after he partied at Oktoberfest in Munich for a third straight year. Also Tuesday, Bolt met with USC sprinter Andre De Grasse, who shared bronze in the World Championships 100m behind the gold medalist Bolt in Beijing on Aug. 23.

On Ellen, Demarjay Smith, an 8-year-old YouTube sensation for his videos as a personal trainer, said he could beat Bolt in a race. Watch the segment here.

“100 percent,” the Bronx boy said. “Trust me.”

Then Ellen brought Bolt out from off stage, all three of them did push-ups together and then headed to a parking lot for a race.

“Come on, Usain, don’t be scared of me,” the kid said.

Bolt, wearing jeans, did not back down, even though the starting blocks were positioned backwards. Smith clearly false-started, but Bolt didn’t call it back.

They sprinted for about 15 seconds, with Bolt unable to catch Smith and pulling up before the finish line, holding the back of his right leg.

“I got cramps,” Bolt said. “You got lucky, man. I want a rematch, though.”

Also on Ellen, Bolt talked about training for his last Olympics and that he’s considered moving into acting after his planned 2017 retirement. Watch part of that interview here.

MORE BOLT: Bolt receives gift from Segway cameraman

Big deal business.. Check me out tomorrow on @theellenshow

A photo posted by Usain St.Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) on