Ana Botella

Madrid should not bid for 2024 Olympics, mayor says

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If it’s up to Madrid mayor Ana Botella, the Spanish capital will not submit a fourth straight bid to host the Olympics in 2024.

Madrid was eliminated in the first round of voting for the 2020 Olympics on Saturday. It tied Istanbul for second place behind Tokyo, and then it lost a tiebreaking vote. Tokyo went on to beat Istanbul in the final vote for the right to host.

“I think that for the moment the Olympic race has given us all the benefits we can expect from it in the next few years,” Botella reportedly said at a breakfast forum with business and political leaders in Madrid on Thursday. “I believe, therefore, that Madrid should not seek to host the 2024 Games.”

Madrid placed second in the 2016 voting, losing in the final round to Rio de Janeiro. It was third in 2012, actually winning the second round of voting but being eliminated in the third round as London eventually won.

Spain has not hosted the Olympics since the praised Barcelona Games of 1992. Its drawbacks this year were its poor economy and doping problems in sports.

One day after Madrid lost to Tokyo, Barcelona mayor Xavier Trias announced his city’s plans to submit a 2022 Winter Olympic bid. Barcelona’s latitude is 41 degrees north. The lowest-latitude Winter Games staged were in Nagano, Japan, in 1998, where it was 36 degrees north.

“We have the dossier ready,” Trias told Spanish TV Sunday, according to The Associated Press. “We need to speak with the Spanish Olympic Committee to see if they are ready to go forward with this venture.”

How Tokyo’s 2020 win played out on Twitter

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
AP
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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