Australia

Australian Olympic Committee restricts travel for athletes in Sochi

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The Australian Olympic Committee has restricted its 60-member Winter Olympics team to travel on official Olympic transport between the Sochi venues and has advised them not to go outside security perimeters.

Today, team chef de mission Ian Chesterman outlined the new restrictions, which come after the AOC chose to follow advice from the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to exercise caution while in Sochi.

An AOC release says that Australian athletes have been limited to locations within the perimeters of the Olympic Park Precinct (Coastal Cluster), and the villages of Krasnaya Polyana, Esto-Sadok, and Rosa Khutor above the transport filter at Esto-Sadok. They will not be permitted to visit downtown Sochi or Adler.

“We know the International Olympic Committee has great confidence in the procedures and safety processes that have been put in place for these Games and we share that confidence,” Chesterman said in the release. “But we wanted to put some minor, but important, restrictions on our athlete movement during this period of time.”

He also added: “I don’t think it will detract from the experience because the highlights of these Games are the regions they can still go to. It’s where all the action will be.”

The travel restriction is the latest in a series of recent rulings by the AOC that include a partial ban on social media for their athletes in Sochi and the outlawing of intoxicated acts such as “swaying, staggering or falling down.”

The AOC had also set out earlier travel restrictions after a pair of suicide bombings killed 30 people in the Russian city of Volvograd in late December. Those involved making sure all of their athletes would travel to Sochi by air and that they would not train or compete elsewhere in Russia outside of Sochi.

Torah Bright to compete in record 3 snowboard events in Sochi

Photos: Team USA at the White House

Twitter: @TeamUSA
Twitter: @TeamUSA
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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House on Thursday.

Below are some of the best photos of Team USA from inside the White House:

Rome’s city council votes down 2024 Olympics bid

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ROME (AP) — As far as city leaders are concerned, Rome’s bid for the 2024 Olympics is finished.

The city council voted in favor of scrapping the bid on Thursday, a week after Mayor Virginia Raggi rejected the candidacy, citing concerns over costs.

The anti-bid motion passed easily as expected, since Raggi’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement holds a majority on the city council. There were 30 votes in favor of withdrawing the bid, and 12 votes against the motion.

The 5-Star Movement holds 29 of the 48 council places, and all 29 voted in support of the mayor’s rejection. There was also one supporting vote from an opposition party. Six council members were absent.

The rejection leaves only Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest, Hungary, in the running for the 2024 Games. The International Olympic Committee will decide on the host city in September 2017.

However, Rome bid leaders and the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) are hanging onto hope that the bid can somehow be revived — perhaps if Raggi is ousted from office.

IOC President Thomas Bach will be in Rome next Tuesday for a sports and faith conference at the Vatican.

“We’ll decide what to do after meeting Bach on Tuesday,” CONI president Giovanni Malago said.

It’s the second time in four years that a Rome Olympic bid has been rejected. In 2012, then-premier Mario Monti scrapped the city’s bid for the 2020 Olympics because of financial concerns.

Under previous mayor Ignazio Marino, Rome’s 2024 bid was approved by the city assembly last year with 38 votes in favor and only six against. Italian Premier Matteo Renzi was a strong supporter of the bid.

But Raggi, a 38-year-old lawyer who was elected in June as Rome’s first female mayor, cited worries over costs and budget overruns as reasons for rejecting the bid. She called the candidacy “irresponsible” for a city that can barely collect its trash and keep up other basic public services.

The latest rejection is another signal that the IOC still has a lot of work to do to convince cities that hosting the games is a boon and not a burden. Earlier Thursday, a city government panel in Tokyo warned that the cost of the 2020 Olympics could exceed $30 billion — more than four times the initial estimates.

Voters in Hamburg rejected the German city’s 2024 bid in a referendum. Boston also dropped out last year amid a lack of public and political support and was replaced as the U.S. candidate by Los Angeles.

Four cities withdrew during the bidding for the 2022 Winter Games, leaving only two candidates in the field. Beijing, hardly known as a winter sports destination, defeated Almaty, Kazakhstan.

MORE: Tokyo Olympics costs could top $30 billion, experts warn