Tulsa 2024 bid leader: ‘We’re going to stay in the race’

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The New York Times profiled the surprise 2024 Olympic bid from Tulsa, Okla., where bid leader Neil Mavis delivered this money quote:

“We don’t have an answer yet for water polo,” he said. “But one thing we do have is plenty of land out here in Oklahoma.”

The Times reported at least eight of the 35 cities the United States Olympic Committee reached out to in February have expressed a desire to submit a bid for 2024. They include major metros such as Los Angeles and Boston. And then there’s Tulsa, somewhere around the 50th most populous city in the U.S. with about 400,000 residents.

The U.S. hasn’t hosted an Olympics since 2002 (since 1996 for Summer Games) and is in the middle of its longest stretch between hosting Olympics since 1932 to 1960. A revenue-sharing agreement between the USOC and IOC last year will help U.S. bid prospects, but it will not host its next Olympics until at least 2024.

The USOC will decide by the end of 2014 if it will make a bid for 2024, and, if so, which city it will choose. The International Olympic Committee will choose the host of the 2024 Games in 2017.

Some details from the story:

• The Olympic torch would be carried through the Trail of Tears route.

• Mavis, an electrical engineer, bought copies of Atlanta’s 1996 bid on eBay for research.

• The main media center would sit at the feet of Tulsa’s famous “Golden Driller,” with medals hanging from the statue’s neck.

• Tulsa would aim to host the Games before July, earlier than any Olympics since 1924.

“Some people think I’m the village idiot,” Mavis told The Times. “We’re going to stay in the race. There’s no reason to give up.”

Anchorage exploring 2026 Olympic bid

U.S. senators speak up as women’s hockey worlds near with no resolution

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Sixteen U.S. senators wrote a letter to USA Hockey’s executive director Monday over their concerns about the treatment of the women’s national team.

Players have threatened to boycott the upcoming world championships over a wage dispute. The senators, all Democrats, urged David Ogrean to resolve the matter and ensure the team receives “equitable resources.” They cited the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.

USA Hockey’s board of directors meets Monday, and players said Sunday night they hope there’s a deal.

The senators, all Democrats, joined a chorus of support that includes unions representing players from the NHL, NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. Those organizations said over the weekend they stood with the women’s team and criticized USA Hockey for attempting to find replacement players.

Prominent NHL agent Allan Walsh tweeted Sunday, “Word circulating among NHL players that American players will refuse to play in men’s World Championships in solidarity with the women.”

Zach Bogosian, an American-born Buffalo Sabres defenseman, went to high school with U.S. captain Meghan Duggan. He tweeted his support and said he hopes the dispute is resolved.

The U.S. is the defending champion at the International Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, which begins Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

In negotiations over the past 15 months, players have asked for a four-year contract that pays them outside the six-month Olympic period. The senators’ letter notes the $6,000 that players earn around the Olympics and USA Hockey’s $3.5 million annual spending on the men’s national team development program and other discrepancies.

“These elite athletes indeed deserve fairness and respect, and we hope you will be a leader on this issue as women continue to push for equality in athletics,” the senators wrote.

In a statement Sunday night, players said they hoped USA Hockey would approve terms discussed during a meeting last week. They said the agreement has the “potential to be a game changer for everyone.”

The letter was signed by: Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington, Dianne Feinstein of California, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Thomas Carper of Delaware, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Robert Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

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Ugandan Olympian’s body shuts down at World Cross-Country Champs (video)

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Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei went from leading the race to finishing 30th in the final kilometer at the World Cross-Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda, on Sunday.

Cheptegei, a 20-year-old Olympian, saw his body shut down in the last four minutes of his race.

His stride shortened. His pace slowed. Cheptegei appeared on the verge of falling. At one point, a teammate deliberately pushed him from behind to keep going.

Cheptegei led by 12 seconds going into the final two-kilometer lap. He would finish 1 minute, 44 seconds behind Kenyan winner Geoffrey Kamworor, with 28 other runners separating them after the 10km race that took about a half-hour.

Cheptegei’s body movement looked similar to that of British triathlete Jonny Brownlee, who had to be helped to the finish line by brother Alistair Brownlee at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico, in September.

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