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Los Angeles bid for 2024 Olympics expands to Anaheim, Long Beach

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three existing venues have been added to Los Angeles’ bid for the 2024 Olympics, including Long Beach as one of four main sports clusters.

LA2024 announced the additional venues Thursday, emphasizing its use of existing venues to avoid costly construction and cost overruns that have plagued Olympic host cities in recent years.

Long Beach’s arena, convention center, waterfront and pier would comprise one of four main sports clusters scattered around the Los Angeles area as opposed to having a single Olympic Park. The city joins the other clusters of downtown Los Angeles, the South Bay near Torrance and the San Fernando Valley.

The LA2024 bid committee said each cluster will be located within a secure perimeter where fans can walk between venues with food, music and celebration sites. The clusters are connected to the region’s public transit system.

The venue changes will be included in LA2024’s second bid file that is due to the International Olympic Committee on Oct. 7. The IOC will select the 2024 host city in September 2017. Los Angeles is competing with Paris, Rome and Budapest, Hungary.

Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi on Wednesday rejected her city’s bid, although her motion to withdraw the bid would have to be approved by Rome’s city assembly.

Handball would be held in Long Beach’s 13,500-seat arena, which recently underwent $10 million in upgrades, along with warm-up facilities at the connected convention center. BMX and water polo would be held in temporary facilities along the city’s waterfront, where open-water swimming and triathlon would be held. Sailing would be near the city’s Belmont Pier.

Long Beach’s venues are located 24 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. The athletes’ village would be on the UCLA campus on Los Angeles’ west side.

Honda Center in Anaheim would host indoor volleyball, bringing the Olympics to Orange County, with the 18,000-seat venue that is home to the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks located about 26 miles from Los Angeles. It would be about an hour drive from the athletes’ village.

In LA2024’s original plans, volleyball was to be played at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. Instead, that 13,800-seat basketball arena would host wrestling and judo.

Historic Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles would host men’s and women’s golf. The course has hosted the U.S. Open, two PGA Championships and the annual PGA tournament since it opened in 1929.

Adding sites in Long Beach and Anaheim would bring the Olympics closer to the large populations in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

LA2024 said UCLA’s tennis center and north athletic field have been added to the track and field stadium as part of the training center located at the athletes’ village in an effort to reduce additional travel for competitors.

“We’re very pleased to add more world-class existing venues to our fiscally responsible and innovative Games Plan for 2024,” LA2024 chairman Casey Wasserman said. “By relying on Southern California’s wealth of top sports, housing and transportation infrastructure, LA 2024 will minimize construction risk, operational struggles and costs, and can focus on providing athletes with the perfect stage to perform their best, without distraction.”

MORE: Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi rejects city’s 2024 Olympic bid

Chinese lead, star pairs struggle in world championships short program

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China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong recorded the highest pairs short program score in the world since the 2014 Olympics, topping the world championships field in Helsinki on Wednesday.

Two-time defending world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada and Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov are well behind in seventh and 13th place, respectively.

Sui and Han, in just their second event this season, tallied a personal-best 81.23 points.

They lead by 1.39 over Germans Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot going into the free skate Thursday (1 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov are in third.

The Chinese will go for their first world title after giving up a short-program lead last year and taking silver for a second straight time.

Full worlds short program results are here.

PREVIEWS: Men | Women | Pairs | Dance | TV schedule

Sui and Han missed the fall season after Sui underwent right ankle and left foot surgeries last spring. They returned at the Four Continents Championships in February and posted personal-best free skate and total scores, ranking only behind Tarasova and Morozov for the season.

Duhamel and Radford, looking to become the first pair to three-peat in 40 years, came in slowed by Radford’s hip injury suffered in the last week. Radford was off-balance on his triple toe loop landing Wednesday. Duhamel’s hand touched the ice on her throw triple Lutz landing.

They scored 72.67 points, which is 8.56 behind Sui and Han.

Stolbova and Klimov both suffered falls in their short program and scored 65.59, qualifying for the 16-pair free skate by four points. The Russian champions missed the autumn season due to Stolbova’s left leg injury.

The top U.S. pair was Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Christopher Knierim, who posted a personal-best 72.17 points for eighth place. The husband-and-wife pair are competing for the second time this season after Scimeca Knierim’s serious abdominal injury.

U.S. champions Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier suffered two falls and placed 20th, matching the worst U.S. pairs finish in worlds history. They did not qualify for the 16-pair free skate.

Therefore, the Knierims must finish 10th or better after the free skate to ensure the U.S. earns two pairs places at the 2018 Olympics.

Pairs is the U.S.’ weakest discipline. The last U.S. medal in pairs at worlds came in 2002. The last Olympic medal was in 1988.

North Korean pair Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik placed 14th in the short program, the highest of any pair expected to compete for one of four final Olympic quota spots in September.

North Korea sent no athletes to the Sochi Olympics, and it’s not a guarantee it will qualify any athletes for PyeongChang, or if it will send athletes to South Korea in February. But Ryom and Kim’s personal best by nearly 11 points on Wednesday was very encouraging.

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MORE: U.S. pairs skater back from life-threatening condition

Pairs Short Program
1. Sui Wenjing/Han Cong (CHN) — 81.23
2. Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot (GER) — 79.84
3. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 79.37
8. Alexa Scimeca Knierim/Christopher Knierim (USA) — 72.17
20. Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) — 56.23

Missy Franklin out due to shoulder surgeries

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Missy Franklin is sidelined from swimming competition for an undisclosed period of time to recover from surgeries on both of her shoulders due to bursitis, according to her social media.

“This is what’s best for me to come stronger than ever,” was posted on Franklin’s Instagram. “I’m so far from being done with this sport.”

The five-time Olympic champion was diagnosed in early January following an MRI, underwent surgeries that month and has returned to limited training.

Franklin, who has not raced since the Rio Olympics, will not compete in the next USA Swimming Pro Series meet in Mesa, Ariz., in two weeks.

Her return date is not set.

The U.S. Championships are in June in Indianapolis and serve as a qualifying meet for the world championships in Budapest in July.

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