IOC announces 3 finalists to host 2022 Winter Olympics

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The IOC announced Almaty, Kazakhstan; Beijing, and Oslo as the three finalists for the 2022 Winter Games Monday.

The decision was made at the IOC’s executive board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. The move was widely expected, according to the AP, after three other cities – Krakow, Poland; Liviv, Ukraine, and Stockholm had previously withdrawn from contention.

Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Games, and would become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics. It has proposed hosting Alpine events at a location 120 miles outside the Chinese capital. With the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2020 Summer Games to be held in Tokyo, it is reportedly unlikely the IOC would select an East Asian nation as a host city three times in a row.

Oslo hosted the 1952 Winter Games, but the Norwegian government has still not fully committed to hosting the Games, according to the AP. If awarded the 2022 Games, Oslo would become the fourth city to host two Winter Olympics, following in the footsteps of Lake Placid, N.Y., in 1932 and 1980; St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 1928 and 1948; and Innsbruck, Austria, in 1964 and again in 1976 (a late switch to Innusbruck was made for the 1976 Games after Denver was awarded, then withdrew from hosting those Games).

Almaty, also known as Alma-Ata, was the capital of Soviet Kazakhstan as well as independent Kazakhstan from 1991 to 1997. It would be the first Central Asian nation to host an Olympics.

The IOC’s evaluation commission will visit each city next year, with the final decision scheduled to be announced on July 31, 2015.

Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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Maggie Nichols wins NCAA all-around title with perfect 10

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Even after a perfect 10 in the last rotation, Maggie Nichols didn’t know that she had won the NCAA all-around title. Her coach at Oklahoma, K.J. Kindler, had to tell her.

The reaction?

“Excitement,” Nichols said Friday night on ESPNU. “I just wanted to go out there and feel out the equipment, staying calm and doing my routines that I have been doing in training.”

Nichols, a 2015 World team champion who retired from elite gymnastics after missing the 2016 Olympic team (set back by a torn meniscus that year), became the first Sooner to win the NCAA all-around in 30 years.

The sophomore tallied 39.8125 points and topped Olympic alternate MyKayla Skinner of Utah by .0875 for the title in St. Louis. It came one year after Nichols was 29th in the all-around with a balance beam fall.

Oklahoma and Utah will be joined in Saturday night’s Super Six team finals by UCLA, LSU, Florida and Nebraska. The Sooners eye their third straight national title.

Nichols capped her night with one of two perfect scores between the two semifinal sessions, matching 2012 Olympic alternate Elizabeth Price‘s 10 on uneven bars. It gave Nichols a second career gym slam, a perfect score on every apparatus for the season.

On Jan. 9, Nichols came forward as “Athlete A,” who first reported to USA Gymnastics that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar in summer 2015.

“She has had a really unique year probably like no one else, and her strength showed through,” Kindler said Friday, according to the University of Oklahoma. “It was tough, and to come out on this side this year is really special.”

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