DC 2024

Washington, D.C., group wants to bid for 2024 Summer Olympics

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The U.S. is in the middle of its longest break between hosting Olympics in more than 50 years. The nation’s capital could end that drought.

A non-profit organization called DC 2024 announced its intention to enter the bidding for the 2024 Olympics on Tuesday morning. The bid would include not only D.C., but also areas in Virginia and Maryland. D.C. has never hosted an Olympics.

The United States Olympic Committee sent letters to more than 30 U.S. cities earlier this year to gauge interest in a potential 2024 Olympic bid. It hasn’t announced if it will definitely bid for 2024, and it might not decide for another year. The U.S. wouldn’t have to submit a bid until 2015. The host city for the 2024 Games will be chosen in 2017.

“With more state-of-the-art sports infrastructure in a 40-mile radius than any other U.S. city, thousands of hotels and lodging options, and a vast and expanding transportation system, the Greater Washington region is one of the best and most qualified in the world to host an event of this magnitude,” said Bob Sweeney, the president of the group, in a statement. “And, most importantly, we offer all this against America’s most historic backdrop.

The U.S., which hasn’t hosted an Olympics since 2002, last submitted a bid for the 2016 Summer Games. Chicago lost out to Rio in a vote four years ago. In 2012, New York was the U.S. bid that lost to London. Both Chicago and New York finished in fourth place in voting. A D.C./Baltimore group expressed interest in bidding for the 2012 Games, too.

Sweeney said the group has spoken with elected officials and business leaders in the region.

“We are confident that the U.S. Olympic Committee — and the world — will be won over by all that our wonderful region has to offer,” Sweeney said. “DC 2024 promises that Greater Washington can provide a magnificent experience during the games and a sustaining legacy for both residents and visitors long after the closing ceremony.”

Other U.S. cities that have seen organizations express interest in a possible bid include Tulsa, Okla., Los Angeles, Philadelphia and a San Diego-Tijuana, Mexico, joint bid.

Sweeney has said he sees D.C. as the front-runner. He received supportive feedback from Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and the office of Mayor Vincent Gray, according to the Washington Post.

“We look forward to assisting the Washington Olympic Committee in presenting the nation’s capital and fabulous surrounding region to the Olympic sporting world,” Snyder said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have most of the venues needed in an internationally recognized city that is accustomed to staging high-profile events.”

Last year, the organizer for the D.C.-Baltimore failed bid for 2012 said he was expressing interest in a 2024 bid, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Like for the 2012 bid, RFK Stadium could play a key role in a bid, according to the Washington Business Journal. The 2012 proposal included an Olympic village at the University of Maryland, but this bid would put an Olympic village in downtown D.C., according to USA Today.

Sweeney, head of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance, said he hopes to raise $3 million to $5 million by the end of 2014, according to reports, and estimated the cost of hosting the Games would be $4 billion to $6 billion.

Man vs. Bike in 400-meter hurdles race (video)

Russian who beat Simone Biles at 2015 Worlds injured before Olympics

Maria Paseka
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Russian Maria Paseka, who beat Simone Biles on vault at the 2015 World Championships, is not certain to compete in the Olympics due to a back injury, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Biles is considered a clear favorite for four gold medals — not done by a female gymnast since Romanian Ecaterina Szabo in 1984 — and could win five golds — never done by an American woman or a female gymnast.

Biles captured gold medals at the last two World Championships in the team event, all-around, balance beam and floor exercise.

Vault is her fifth and most questionable event. Biles took silver, silver and bronze on vault at the last three world championships.

Paseka is the only returning vault medalist from the 2012 Olympics (she took bronze) in addition to being the reigning world champion.

Regardless of Paseka, Biles’ primary competition in the vault final may be the 2008 Olympic champion, North Korea’s Hong Un-Jong, who could not compete in London due to North Korea’s ban for age falsification.

Like Biles, Hong earned vault medals at the last three world championships, including gold in 2014.

Biles’ vaults at worlds were less difficult than Paseka and Hong, causing her to lose eight tenths in start value. Biles has since upgraded her weaker vault, increasing her start value.

MORE: Rio Olympic schedule highlights, daily events to watch

Vladimir Putin: Olympic medals to have ‘different or no taste’ without Russia

Vladimir Putin
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Russian president Vladimir Putin said Olympic medals won in events lacking Russian contenders will be devalued, speaking to athletes who will be going to Rio at the Kremlin on Wednesday.

Russia is set to send just one track and field athlete, plus fewer athletes in many sports, to Rio amid its doping scandal.

It could significantly alter the Rio Olympic medal standings, as Russia finished third in overall medals at the 2012 London Games with 79 — behind the U.S.’ 103 and China’s 88.

“It is obvious that the absence of Russian athletes, the leaders in many sports events, significantly reduces the intensity of the competition, and hence makes the upcoming events less spectacular” Putin told the Russian team Wednesday, according to Russian news agency TASS. “I think that your colleagues from other world’s leading sports powers also understand that the quality of their medals will be different, because it’s one thing to defeat an equal, strong opponent, and quite another – to compete with obviously weaker opponents. Such victory has a very different taste or maybe bad taste.”

Also at the event, two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva broke down while addressing the Olympic team (video here). Isinbayeva was barred from the Rio Games due to Russia’s track and field ban, though she has never failed a drug test.

MORE: Five Russian track and field stars set to miss Rio