Trey Hardee

USA Track and Field bids for 2016 World Indoor Championships

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The World Track and Field Championships — either indoor and outdoor — have been going for 30 years. The U.S. has hosted once, but it would like to again in three years.

USA Track and Field made it official Monday, submitting a bid for Portland, Ore., to host the 2016 World Indoor Championships. The Telegraph in Great Britain first reported the bid last month.

Portland is about a two-hour drive north from Eugene, which has hosted the last two U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials and will host the 2014 World Junior Championships and the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Eugene’s TrackTown USA, Inc., would serve as the local organizing committee.

“As a member of the IAAF family, USATF considers it an honor as well as a duty to try to bring a world championship event back to U.S. soil,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said, according to a press release. “Having hosted two very successful Olympic Trials in 2008 and 2012, TrackTown USA has shown itself to be the premier host of world-class track events in this country. We look forward to presenting the bid and continuing to elevate the off-track profile of the United States in the international sports world.”

The Telegraph reported that Birmingham, England, was the lone city to submit a bid to host the event by a Sept. 15 deadline but that the IAAF, track and field’s governing body, extended the deadline for the Portland bid.

Both cities will present bids Nov. 15 in Monaco before a vote is taken.

The Telegraph reported that Portland planned to hold the event at the Portland Trail Blazers’ Moda Center, but USATF announced it would be held at the Oregon Convention Center. The convention center is one million square feet, which is more than the Moda Center.

The U.S. hosted the World Indoor Championships once, in Indianapolis in 1987. The event has been once every two years since its debut in 1985. Spain has hosted three times and France and Hungary twice each.

The U.S. has never hosted the World Outdoor Championships, which have been held 14 times since 1983.

If Portland hosts the 2016 World Indoor Championships, it could lead to a greater goal — Eugene hosting the World Outdoor Championships.

“It’s a tall order, the World Championships,” TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna said, according to the Eugene Register-Guard. “This is just another step in bringing us closer to actually demonstrating to the rest of the world that we are very serious and passionate about the sport of track and field.”

Olympic decathlon champion eyes golf at 2020 Olympics

Kelly Slater, Bethany Hamilton on new movies, Olympic surfing hopes

Kelly Slater, Bethany Hamilton
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NEW YORK — On consecutive days, the most well-known surfers in the U.S. appeared at the Tribeca Film Festival to promote documentaries of a sport that makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

Whether either Kelly Slater or Bethany Hamilton plans to compete at the Games is in question.

“I’m 50-50,” the 46-year-old Slater said Saturday at the premiere of “Momentum Generation,” a film about a band of teen surfers whose bonds brought the sport to new heights in the 1990s. “If I make the team, I’ll compete.”

That’s the hard part. The Olympic qualifying procedures, published last month, limit the U.S. to no more than three surfers per gender in the Olympic fields of 20 men and 20 women.

The top two Americans per gender from the 2019 World Surf League standings would be guaranteed spots. If the world’s dominant surf nations take up the top 34 spots in either 2019 standings, the third-ranked U.S. surfer could get in if the U.S. wins the 2020 World Surfing Games.

Slater was hopeful for more athletes from the world’s top surfing nations. Australia, Brazil, and the U.S. dominate the World Surf League standings.

“They’re going to have to change that a little bit, I think,” Slater said of the quota maximum (It’s too late to change this for 2020, and surfing is not guaranteed in the Olympics for 2024 and beyond.). “It’s hard to look past Brazil, Australia and America for talent in surfing.”

Slater, an 11-time world champion, dropped to the third-ranked American in 2016 and missed four of 11 events last season after breaking his foot. His best finish in the other seven events was a fifth. He hopes to return to competition in July, about a year since suffering the injury that required two surgeries.

The U.S. boasts the two-time reigning world champion — 25-year-old John John Florence of Hawaii — but no other men from last season’s top six or this season’s (early) top seven.

Slater said he hopes that Olympic surfing organizers would adopt his company’s wave-pool technology for the Games rather than holding it on the Pacific Coast. It was previously announced by the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 that the Olympic competition will be held at Tsurigasaki Beach rather than a wave pool.

“It’s almost a test sport for the first year when you get into the Olympics,” Slater said. “I think it will obviously broaden the audience that watches us. There’s a lot of potential things that can happen with that.”

Slater was one of several surfing icons featured in “Momentum Generation,” along with Rob MachadoShane Dorian and others.

“[It’s about] the convergence of all our friendships coming together,” said Slater, before he watched the film for the first time at the premiere. “Everyone’s got these kinds of stories in their lives that are interesting. Somebody found ours interesting enough to cover it, dig in and spend a lot of time on it.”

The night before, Hamilton walked the red carpet for her biopic, “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable.” The Hawaiian’s left arm was bitten off in a 2003 shark attack when she was a promising 13-year-old surfer. She came back and continued winning contests.

“We started making a smaller, action sports compilation of my surfing,” five years ago, Hamilton said. “It grew into a more story/documentary.”

Hamilton, now 28 and a mother of two, last competed in the top-level World Surf League last May before she became pregnant with her second child, son Wesley, who was born six weeks ago.

She, too, was undecided about ramping up her schedule next year for an Olympic bid.

“I don’t know if I could qualify, but I’m not really competing enough to be the top-two pick of the USA team,” she said, adding that the type of wave at the Olympics plays a role in her interest.

Hamilton, between those two pregnancies, competed four times total on tour in the last four seasons with a best finish of third. Last season, four U.S. women were in the top eight of the World Surf League standings. Hamilton was tied for 20th with one start in 11 events.

Hamilton said she hopes to compete at least twice later this year, including at a Slater wave-pool event.

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MORE: World’s top surfer: World title bigger than Olympics

NBC Sports to be home of U.S. Figure Skating, ISU events through 2026

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NBC Sports will air 80-plus hours of figure skating events yearly through 2026 in an agreement with U.S. Figure Skating announced Monday.

More here from NBC Sports PR.

NBC Sports has exclusive media rights to premier domestic and international figure skating events for the next eight years, including the U.S. Championships, world championships and the Grand Prix series.

The breakdown: At least 30 hours on NBC per year and at least 50 hours on NBCSN per year. Additional programming will air on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.

The U.S. Championships’ weekend free skates and free dance will continue to air live on NBC, including three hours in primetime.

As part of the agreement, NBCSN will also air four hours of world championships in short track and long-track speed skating.

MORE: U.S. champion, Skate America winner retires

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