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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.”

Report: Six-time Olympic champion swimmer hospitalized

Lindsey Vonn gets bad luck, Mikaela Shiffrin misses gate in super-G

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Neither Lindsey Vonn nor Mikaela Shiffrin made the podium, but Swiss Lara Gut notched her first victory Sunday since a major knee injury.

Gut, the 2016 World Cup overall champion who tore an ACL in February, topped a World Cup super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, by .14 over Italian Johanna Schnarf.

Austrian Nicole Schmidhofer was third. Full results are here.

Vonn dropped to sixth, .37 behind, dropped a couple of expletives in the finish corral and posted on social media afterward that she caught her strongest wind gust in more than 400 career starts.

“I’m not mad; I’m just a little bit frustrated,” Vonn said. “Sometimes this happens in ski racing where the races aren’t really fair. The wind comes. The light comes. The clouds come. But I tried my best. I’m happy with my skiing. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t very lucky today. Hopefully I can get some of this luck and take it with me to February [and the Olympics] and get some better conditions.”

Vonn placed second and first in downhills in Cortina on Friday and Saturday, confirming she’s a favorite to become the oldest female Olympic Alpine medalist next month.

Shiffrin was off her line early in Sunday’s run and eventually missed a gate, screaming out of frustration.

She is still cutting her teeth in the speed events of downhill and super-G and was third and seventh in the previous two races.

“The problem was with my [pre-race course] inspection, and I’m not exactly sure what we can do for me to be better prepared for super-Gs,” Shiffrin said, according to The Associated Press. “One of my biggest issues right now is still switching from the timing of downhill turns to super-G turns.”

Laurenne Ross became the sixth U.S. female Alpine skier to qualify for the Olympic team thanks to a previous top-10. Ross, the second-best U.S. speed racer behind Vonn last season, came back from blowing out her right knee in a March 27 crash.

The World Cup moves to Kronplatz, Italy, on Tuesday for a giant slalom, where Shiffrin will be favored (full Alpine season broadcast schedule here).

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2018 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team General Manager Jim Johannson dies at 53

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Jim Johannson, the general manager of the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team, has died on the eve of the Pyeongchang Games. He was 53.

Johannson passed away in his sleep Sunday morning, according to USA Hockey. Executive director Pat Kelleher said the organization is “beyond shocked and profoundly saddened” by the loss of the Rochester, Minnesota native.

“As accomplished as Jim was in hockey, he was the absolute best, most humble, kind and caring person you could ever hope to meet,” Kelleher said in a release. “His impact on our sport and more importantly the people and players in our sport have been immeasurable. Our condolences go out to his entire family, but especially to his loving wife Abby and their young daughter Ellie.”

Johannson’s role in selecting this year’s Olympic team was his most high-profile job in a career spent in hockey. He also played for the U.S. in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.

The United States faces Slovenia in its Pyeongchang opener on Feb. 14.

“There are few like Jimmy,” said Ron DeGregorio, chairman of the board of USA Hockey. “Our sport was so lucky to have him. He was as good of a person you’ll meet and he played such a significant role in helping move our sport forward. Today is a tough day for everyone.”

Johannson began working for USA Hockey in 2000 after spending five years as the general manager of the Twin Cities Vulcans in the United States Hockey League. He was promoted to assistant executive director of hockey operations in 2007, overseeing the organization’s efforts in fielding teams for international competition.

He played college hockey at Wisconsin and helped the Badgers win the NCAA championship as a freshman. He was selected by Hartford in the seventh round of the 1982 draft, but never played in the NHL.

“When we heard of JJ’s passing, we are reminded of what an enjoyable person he was to be around, and also what he meant to USA Hockey and hockey worldwide,” Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, who have a strong connection to USA Hockey, said in a release.

“We should all strive to do our jobs and treat people as JJ did. Jim Johannson, you have moved on, but you will not be forgotten. We will miss you.”

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