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.”

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North Korean member of IOC expects team at PyeongChang Olympics

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 12:  Song Chol Ri of North Korea carries the national flag during the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics at BC Place on February 12, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
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The North Korean member of the International Olympic Committee believes a North Korean delegation will be at the PyeongChang Olympics, according to Kyodo News.

“There is no reason why we won’t come and no reason why we can’t,” IOC member Chang Ung said last week at the Asian Winter Games in Japan, according to the news agency. “We will proceed according to the Olympic Charter.”

An IOC spokesman previously said that the first step toward possible North Korean participation in the PyeongChang Olympics would be the North Korean Olympic Committee’s response to its invitation to the Winter Games sent out two weeks ago.

The IOC sends invitations to National Olympic Committees around the world coinciding with one year out to an Olympics.

However, it’s not a certainty that North Korea will qualify any athletes for the Winter Games. Despite winning at least four medals at every Summer Games since boycotting Seoul 1988, it didn’t have any athletes at the Sochi Olympics and just two at Vancouver 2010.

North Korea has zero top performing international winter sports athletes and few who even appear at major competitions.

North Korean short track speed skater Choe Un Song ranks No. 123 in the world after appearing in one World Cup this season in Beijing. A pairs figure skating team is ranked No. 54. A different North Korean pairs team missed a Sochi berth by 1.5 points at the last qualifying competition.

Nations without qualified athletes are still able to enter one man and one woman in the Summer Olympics in swimming and track and field. But no such exception applies in the Winter Games.

The IOC has given no indication that an exception could be made to invite a non-qualified North Korean athlete to PyeongChang.

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MORE: PyeongChang 2018 daily schedule highlights

Chad le Clos still has nightmares of losing to Michael Phelps in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09:  Michael Phelps (L) of the United States leads Chad le Clos of South Africa in the Men's 200m Butterfly Final on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
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Chad le Clos reportedly said he still has nightmares about losing to Michael Phelps in their much-anticipated rematch in the Rio Olympic 200m butterfly.

“I wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat over that race,” le Clos said, according to Independent Online in South Africa.

In Rio, le Clos finished fourth in the 200m butterfly final (video here), seven tenths of a second behind Phelps after famously turning his head to look at Phelps in the final 50 meters of the race.

In 2012, le Clos beat Phelps for Olympic gold by .05.

When Phelps unretired in 2014, he said he would never race the 200m butterfly again. But he picked it up a year later, in part because times around the world were not that fast and in part because of his desire to exact revenge on le Clos in Rio.

Now, it’s le Clos who wants a rematch.

“I want it that bad,” le Clos said, according to the report. “I just want Phelps to come back.”

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MORE: PyeongChang 2018 daily schedule highlights