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USOC set to discuss 2024 Olympic bid Tuesday

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A potential 2024 Olympic bid is on a U.S. Olympic Committee board meeting agenda Tuesday in Boston. The USOC will probably narrow its list of bid candidates to two or three cities, chairman Larry Probst said two weeks ago.

Cities won’t be made public, Probst said then, but news could come out if cities announce they’re out of the running, such as New York and Philadelphia recently.

It has been reported that six cities are top contenders — Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington.

A key in narrowing cities (and ultimately deciding whether to bid and choosing a city) is what is attractive to the International Olympic Committee, whose members will vote to pick the 2024 Olympic host in 2017.

Another factor is Agenda 2020. The IOC is reviewing bidding procedures under Agenda 2020, a blueprint introduced by IOC president Thomas Bach shortly after his election last year.

A finalized Agenda 2020 is expected to go up for IOC approval in December. The USOC has said it hopes to decide if it will bid, and, if it does, which city, by the end of this year.

Robert Livingstone, producer of GamesBids.com, covering Olympic host city bidding, believes Los Angeles is the clear favorite for a 2024 U.S. bid. San Francisco and Boston would be his other finalists.

Los Angeles also hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. The IOC recently awarded the Olympics to London for a third time for 2012 and Tokyo for a second for 2020.

“[Los Angeles] has a great legacy from last time in all areas — venues, capabilities, the people and the culture,” Livingstone said. “It’s less likely they’d have white elephants [large, unused facilities post-Games] with a great plan using what’s already there. They’ve got support, a great climate with the ocean nearby.”

San Francisco has never hosted an Olympics, but it also has Olympic bidding history. The USOC chose New York over San Francisco for its failed bid for 2012.

“An iconic U.S. city that would look well on the international stage,” Livingstone said. “You have some of the natural venues to host the events and a university infrastructure there, a sporting culture, and a lot of the big corporations to support things.”

Boston is the top non-California candidate with a preferable time zone, plenty of sports facilities and a decent amount of public support, Livingstone said.

Dallas and Washington must overcome a lack of appeal from failed runs for 2012 and 2016 U.S. bids (Washington tried in 2012. Dallas didn’t apply, but Texas neighbor Houston was in the running in 2012 and 2016).

Dallas’ geography may be a problem and, as The New York Times wrote, “the romance of Dallas may be a tough sell to IOC members.” Washington, too, has an inherent hurdle.

“From an international perspective, it’s linked too closely with government,” Livingstone said. “There’s no way around that.”

San Diego, which was initially linked to apply with Tijuana, Mexico (but no longer), must overcome being in the shadow of front-runner Los Angeles, Livingstone said.

Globally, potential 2024 bids from Paris, Rome and a South African city have been the most talked about. None are definite, though.

“The only certainty, although they’re not certain at all, is the USOC,” Livingstone said. “They’re probably the most likely to put in a bid at this point.”

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Eliud Kipchoge wins Berlin Marathon; no world record

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Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge won the Berlin Marathon but missed the world record by 35 seconds, slowed by rain and humidity.

The Kenyan clocked 2:03:32, just missing the three-year-old record of 2:02:57. Countryman Dennis Kimetto set that mark at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.

Kipchoge, who has won nine of his 10 career marathons, said Sunday marked the toughest conditions under which he has run 26.2 miles.

“My mind was to run at least a world record,” the 32-year-old said. “Next time. Tomorrow is a [new] day. … I still have a world record in my legs.”

The two other men chasing the record — Kenenisa Bekele and Wilson Kipsang — dropped out after 18 miles.

Instead, the runner-up was surprise Ethiopian Guye Adola, who ran the fastest debut marathon ever on a record-eligible course in an unofficial 2:03:46.

Adola stuck with Kipchoge until the last mile as both men trailed off Kimetto’s world-record pace.

Kenyan Gladys Cherono won the women’s race by 18 seconds in 2:00:23. It’s her second Berlin win in three years.

Many expected to see a men’s world record Sunday. Kipchoge, Bekele and Kipsang had all run within 16 seconds of the mark in the last two years but had never raced together in the German capital.

Berlin is the world’s fastest marathon. The men’s world record has been lowered six times since 2003, each time in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate.

Kipchoge was the pre-race favorite.

On May 6, he ran 2:00:25 in Nike’s staged sub-two-hour marathon attempt on an Italian Formula One track. It was contested under special conditions that made it ineligible for record purposes with pacers entering mid-race.

Kipchoge won Berlin in 2015 in 2:04:00 despite insoles flopping out the back of his shoes the last half of the race.

Bekele and Kipsang teased the world record in a memorable Berlin duel last year, with Bekele winning six seconds shy of it.

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MORE: Top Americans set for major marathon next month

Yuzuru Hanyu falters as Javier Fernández wins opener

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Even Yuzuru Hanyu can struggle in September.

The Olympic and world champion singled his first jump, doubled a few more and fell in the free skate of his opening event of the Olympic season on Saturday. Video is here.

He squandered an 11.52-point lead over two-time world champion Javier Fernández from Friday’s short program at the Autumn Classic in Montreal.

Hanyu ended up 10.83 points behind Fernández overall, even though the Spaniard also fell in his free skate.

Full scores are here.

It’s a familiar feeling for Hanyu, who saw Fernández pass him in the free skate at the 2015 and 2016 Worlds.

The Japanese megastar also been known to have clunker programs at fall events in past seasons. In every one of his senior seasons, Hanyu has been beaten in one of his first two competitions.

Hanyu came to Montreal with a sore knee, which reportedly led him to take the quadruple loop out of his repertoire for one weekend.

Still, Hanyu was marvelous in the short program. His score was the second-highest under the 13-year-old judging system.

Showdowns like Hanyu-Fernández are usually reserved for, at the earliest, the Grand Prix series in late October and November. The Autumn Classic is a lower-level event.

Hanyu, 22, next skates at the Rostelecom Cup in four weeks. He will face 18-year-old U.S. champion Nathan Chen, who beat Hanyu at the Four Continents Championships at the PyeongChang Olympic venue in February.

The figure skating season continues next weekend with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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