Tulsa 2024

Tulsa sports official, mayor say city isn’t seeking Olympic bid

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Tulsa received plenty of attention after a New York Times story published Sunday detailed one businessman’s plan to seek a 2024 Olympic bid for the city of 400,000 people.

Two of those people — two very important people — called a news conference Tuesday to clarify the city’s stance. Tulsa Sports Commission Senior Vice President Ray Hoyt stood with city mayor Dewey Bartlett over his shoulder and delivered a clear message, according to the Tulsa Word.

“We are not actively seeking an Olympic bid,” Hoyt said. “Or supporting it.”

The Times article titled, “London. Tokyo. Athens. Tulsa? A Heartland Olympic Dream,” tells the story of electrical engineer Neil Mavis, who has been working on a Tulsa 2024 bid for five years.

“We have all the resources,” Mavis said in the article. “We just need the spark.”

Hoyt disagreed and said the Olympics may prevent the city from attracting less grand goals like Big XII championships or the NCAA tournament.

“We have to protect our credibility,” Hoyt said, according to the Tulsa World. “We don’t want to approach people about events that they know we can’t accommodate.”

Bartlett agreed.

Tulsa simply doesn’t have the population, budget or infrastructure to host the Olympics – or even to make a serious bid, he said.

“We don’t want to apologize for or throw water on Mr. Mavis’ desire to represent his city,” Bartlett said. “But we certainly don’t want it to get out of hand.”

An official bid would have to come from the host city’s mayor, according to the rules of the International Olympic Committee. So, without Bartlett’s support, the effort would seem to be at a standstill.

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

Laurie Hernandez eyes return to competition in 2018

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NEW YORK – Laurie Hernandez hardly considers her 14 months away from competitive gymnastics a break.

Since earning Olympic team gold and balance beam silver in Rio, the 17-year-old won “Dancing with the Stars,” authored a book and even enrolled in ballet lessons.

But her most rewarding experience has been speaking at schools. Students have asked her seemingly every question, from when she started taking gymnastics classes (age 5) to whether she climbed trees when she was younger (yes, all the time).

Seeing how many children were inspired by her Rio performance motivated Hernandez as she prepares to return to the sport.

“I didn’t realize at the Olympics how many people were truly watching,” Hernandez said Wednesday night at the annual Women’s Sports Foundation Salute to Women in Sports. “Now I’m excited to get back into the gym.”

Hernandez recently added handstand holds, back tucks and front flips to her conditioning program, in addition to continuing to run and lift weights.

“It’s a little difficult, but it’s fine,” she said. “I’ll push it a little more after the holidays.”

She has her eye on returning to competition in 2018.

“That’s definitely the hope,” Hernandez said. “I’m not going to rush anything, but I would love to compete in 2018.”

Hernandez, who said her next goal in gymnastics is to compete at the world championships for the first time and hopefully the 2020 Olympics, has not yet identified her comeback meet.

She noted that Aly Raisman took more than two years off after the London Olympics.

“I know every athlete is different,” Hernandez said. “But I wouldn’t mind following in her footsteps.”

Simone Biles, who has not competed since winning four gold medals in Rio, recently announced that she plans on returning to full-time training Nov. 1 and competition next summer.

“I look up to her, even though we are teammates,” Hernandez said. “I can’t wait to see her out there, but hopefully I’ll be out there with her soon.”

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Olympic cycling champion running for Congress

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Olympic cycling gold medalist Marty Nothstein is the latest to announce he’s running for the eastern Pennsylvania congressional seat being vacated by fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Dent.

Dent, a former state senator, is a centrist Republican who has held the seat since 2005. He’s retiring after his term expires next year.

Nothstein, who won sprint silver in 1996 and gold in 2000, is the only American track cyclist to win an Olympic title at a fully attended Games.

Two Republican state representatives, Ryan Mackenzie and Justin Simmons, previously announced they’re running for Dent’s 15th District seat.

Democrat Bill Leiner, a former Lehigh County commissioner, is also running.

Dent’s district includes Allentown and all of Lehigh County, and parts of four surrounding counties.

Republicans in 2011 stretched the district almost 90 miles to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania to make it more Republican.

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