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Olympic voters weigh Donald Trump effect on Los Angeles 2024 bid

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Donald Trump‘s election as U.S. president has the potential to influence Los Angeles’ chances of hosting the 2024 Olympics. For better or worse.

Some International Olympic Committee members — who will choose between Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest, Hungary, in a vote next September — cited possible pros and cons on Wednesday of Trump’s role in the American bid.

As a polarizing presidential candidate, Trump’s words on Muslims, Mexicans and other issues could have offended some of the 98 IOC members from around the world who will select the host city.

“It may have,” the IOC’s longest-serving member, Dick Pound of Canada, told The Associated Press.

At the same time, Pound did not rule out the possibility that Trump could help win votes if he travels to Lima, Peru, in September to pitch the Los Angeles bid in person to the IOC ahead of the secret ballot.

“If he is there, and evidently he is someone who feeds off his audience, there is no reason to think he can’t work this audience as well,” Pound said.

South African IOC member Sam Ramsamy, whose country has been described by Trump as a “very dangerous mess,” dismissed any lingering effect with 10 months left before the 2024 Olympic vote.

“He has been rude to everybody,” Ramsamy told the AP. “I don’t believe it will affect bidding in any way.”

In a statement Wednesday congratulating Trump, the Los Angeles 2024 bid committee said the Olympics can “transcend politics and can help unify our diverse communities and our world.”

IOC President Thomas Bach offered a brief statement to the AP on Trump’s election.

“Let me congratulate President-elect Trump on his victory and wish him all the best for his term in office for all the people of the United States and of the world,” he said.

Swiss IOC member Rene Fasel suggested that if Trump spoke offensively during the presidential race, it was a tactic to woo voters that worked.

“You saw his speech today, and it’s already a different man,” Fasel said, citing Trump’s first public address as president-elect which sought to be more inclusive.

While Trump has little track record with the Olympic movement, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, was a supporter of New York’s failed bid for the 2012 Games and has attended several Olympics. She was First Lady when the U.S. last hosted the Summer Games — in Atlanta in 1996.

President Barack Obama went to the IOC vote in Copenhagen in 2009 to support Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics. Chicago was still eliminated in the first round, with the games awarded to Rio de Janeiro.

Clinton’s presidential campaign has some close ties to Los Angeles bid leaders. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is a Democrat who spoke at the Democratic Party convention in July which formally nominated Clinton. Bid chairman Casey Wasserman was also a prominent Clinton backer.

Garcetti acknowledged in an AP interview in August during the Rio de Janeiro Olympics that some IOC members could be turned off by a Trump victory.

“I think for some of the IOC members they would say, ‘Wait a second, can we go to a country like that, where we’ve heard things that we take offense to?” Garcetti said then.

Garcetti remains more important to the bid than Trump, according to American IOC executive board member Anita DeFrantz.

“It’s the city that hosts the games, and it’s the mayor that signs the documents. It is not the president,” DeFrantz told The AP in Lausanne on Wednesday.

Pound believes Los Angeles leaders will urgently want to meet with Trump to see if he is “an enthusiastic supporter of this venture or not.”

“Your most important campaign is at home,” Pound said, suggesting that IOC voters and Olympic sports leaders can be swayed closer to election day. “The roadshow only happens in the last few months.”

Before that final stretch of campaigning, the city’s biggest rival — Paris — could have its own domestic politics to explain.

In May, France elects a president in a contest many predict will include far-right candidate Marine Le Pen among the two candidates in a second round of voting.

MORE: LA 2024 comments on Trump election

Diana Taurasi opens door for 2020 Olympics

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Diana Taurasi may not be done with the U.S. national team after all.

The four-time Olympic champion “hopes to play through the 2020 Summer Games,” according to ESPN.com.

Taurasi, 34, said playing at Tokyo 2020 “would be incredible” after speaking with U.S. women’s national team director Carol Callan about her Team USA future earlier this month, according to the Arizona Republic. Taurasi recently signed a multiyear extension with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, though the exact contract length wasn’t disclosed.

“It would be probably the biggest accomplishment if I can make it to five Olympics, but that’s so far down the road,” Taurasi said, according to the newspaper. “I’ve always said I’m really worried about these next couple of months with Phoenix then I’ll regroup and talk to USA Basketball again.

“There’s so many great young player that if it’s time to move on and go that direction, that’s great. If they want me to around to help and win another gold medal, I’ll do anything they want me to do.”

New U.S. coach Dawn Staley, an Olympic teammate of Taurasi’s in 2004, said in March that her gut feeling was that Taurasi would return for Tokyo 2020.

Taurasi said in August, right after the Rio final, that she had likely played her last Olympic game, ending her career 32-0 at the Olympics.

“This was probably my last one,” Taurasi said on NBCSN. “I’ll have a talk about it with coach, but, for right now, I’m settled with four, and I feel good about it.”

If Taurasi plays at Tokyo 2020, she can match Teresa Edwards‘ American record of playing in five Olympic basketball tournaments. (So can Sue Bird, who is two years older than Taurasi but hasn’t committed to a 2020 run.)

Taurasi can also take aim at the U.S. Olympic basketball scoring record of 488 points held by Lisa Leslie. Taurasi is in second place with 379 points after Rio. She would need to average 13.7 points per game to surpass Leslie in Tokyo, assuming the U.S. plays its usual eight games. Taurasi averaged a career-high 15.6 in Rio.

Taurasi will be 38 years old in 2020. The oldest U.S. Olympic basketball player of all time was Tamika Catchings, who turned 37 two weeks before the Rio Games. Catchings has retired.

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MORE: Dawn Staley to coach U.S. women at Tokyo 2020

Julia Mancuso pushes past hip injury for final Olympic run

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When Julia Mancuso was 18 years old, a doctor told the ski racer that she needed to make a choice.

Continue competing (Mancuso had already been to an Olympics at age 17) or live a healthy life.

Mancuso was born with hip displaysia, a misalignment of hip bones that causes the joint to deteriorate faster than normal. The doctor told Mancuso she needed reconstructive surgery.

“I left crying and never went back to that doctor,” she said.

Mancuso went to the slopes instead.

In 15 years since that doctor’s visit, she put together one of the greatest Alpine careers in U.S. history — four Olympic medals (most by a U.S. female skier), five world championships medals and 36 World Cup podiums.

The right hip problems persisted. Mancuso did undergo hip surgery after her breakthrough Olympic giant slalom title in 2006.

The pain returned and, by 2015, became unbearable.

She underwent another hip surgery, this one much more complicated. The operation fixed cartilage damage, cleaned up bone spurs and put more anchors in her labrum because of a slight tear with doctors warning that her hip would probably be 90 percent of what it was, according to The Associated Press.

Mancuso spent six months on crutches. When she returns to the World Cup circuit this fall, Mancuso will have gone more than two and a half years between races.

“It’s really hard for me to walk normally,” Mancuso said last month. “A lot of people ask me why I’m doing it [skiing], because I can’t even walk. Why would I ski? The truth is, skiing is way easier. Skiing is fun because it is easy, and my body loves it. My body loves to ski, and my body needs to ski. … It improves my quality of life.”

Because of her hip, Mancuso said PyeongChang will be her fifth and final Olympics, should she make it there. She might not compete beyond next season.

The U.S. women’s speed team is deep — Lindsey Vonn, World Cup podium finishers Laurenne Ross, Jackie Wiles and Stacey Cook, the young Breezy Johnson. Even Mikaela Shiffrin dabbles. A maximum of four women per nation can start an Olympic race.

The super combined, where Mancuso earned silver and bronze medals at the last two Olympics, appears to be her best shot.

Mancuso is nothing if not dedicated, evidenced by Instagram Stories workout diaries. This complements her laid-back lifestyle, spending half her time in Fiji with her husband of five months and much of the other half in Maui.

She already has post-PyeongChang plans, to honeymoon in Tonga and dive with whales.

Before that, Mancuso hopes to have one more surprise Olympic season.

In 2006, she made her first World Cup podium two weeks before the Torino Winter Games, then won the giant slalom in Torino.

In 2010, she took silver in the Vancouver downhill and super combined despite making zero World Cup podiums in the previous two years.

In 2014, Mancuso snagged combined bronze thanks to the fastest downhill run in Sochi. That came during a season where her best World Cup finish was seventh.

Just making the Olympic team would mean history. No U.S. woman has competed in five Winter Games. Mancuso, halfpipe snowboarder Kelly Clark and cross-country skier Kikkan Randall can become the first.

Mancuso could also become the oldest female Olympic Alpine medalist.

“I’m excited to put my biggest and last effort into these next Olympics,” Mancuso said, “and then see what happens.”

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