Getty Images

Olympic voters weigh Donald Trump effect on Los Angeles 2024 bid

Leave a comment

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

Nathan Chen wins world title by nearly 50 points after everyone falls


Nathan Chen has the gold. It just came one month later than he had hoped (and against a much less impressive field).

The 18-year-old won the world championships on Saturday, becoming the first U.S. male singles skater to do so since Evan Lysacek in 2009 and the youngest man from any nation since Yevgeny Plushenko in 2001.

It came one month after Chen entered the Olympics as one of the favorites and finished fifth.

“I felt the pressure, but I used what I learned from the Olympics and tried to bring it here,” Chen said, adding that he wouldn’t trade this title for an Olympic gold.

Chen landed six quadruple jumps in his free skate (five clean), extending a 1.86-point lead from the short program to win by 47.63 points. Chen tallied personal-best free skate and total scores (219.46, 321.40), becoming the second man to break 320 total points after double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu.

It’s the largest margin of victory in any event at an Olympics, worlds or Grand Prix Final under the 14-year-old points system.

Every other medal contender fell multiple times in the free skate. Chen, going last, said he was aware of that. Yet he still went all-out with six quads rather than the five he planned before going to Milan.

“That [the skaters’ falls] actually helped solidify my approach for six quads because it gave me an opportunity to make a mistake,” Chen said.

Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno from Japan took silver despite three falls Saturday, reportedly skating through an ankle injury. Russian Mikhail Kolyada held on for bronze with two falls.

“I was not able to show my best,” Uno said, “but I did not give up until the end.”

American Vincent Zhou, third in the short program, also had three falls and ended up 14th. Jin Boyang, fourth in the short, fell five times and was 19th.

“I can’t even begin to describe how angry I am at myself for letting such an important FS [free skate] get away from me,” was tweeted from Zhou’s account, adding that he injured his back before leaving for Milan. “I’ve trained clean longs with 5 & 6 quads and I am so capable of being among the best.”

Later Saturday, French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron rewrote the record books with the biggest ice dance blowout at an Olympics or worlds since the 6.0 was thrown out. A full recap is here.

WORLDS: Full Scores | Recaps | TV Schedule

Chen ended a season with six wins in seven events. That loss was costly, a fifth-place finish at the Olympics with that disastrous 17th-place short program.

But Chen rebounded not only in the Olympic free skate (highest score by nearly nine points) but also in Milan this week. Chen said he learned from PyeongChang to stop being “hell-bent” focused on gold.

His chances were no doubt boosted this week by the absences of Olympic gold and bronze medalists Hanyu and Javier Fernandez. Many medalists skip the worlds that are held one month after the Olympics due to exhaustion, off-ice opportunities or retirement.

This field lacked any prior Olympic or world champions for the first time since 1985.

Chen said before worlds he plans to continue competing next season, even though he may enroll in college. He will still work under Southern California-based coach Rafael Arutyunyan.

The third American, Max Aaron, finished 11th, landing one quad in his free skate, putting his hand down on a quad Salchow. Aaron, the 2013 U.S. champion, reportedly said it may have been his final competition.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Best figure skating moments from PyeongChang

French ice dancers win third world title; first medal for U.S. champs

Getty Images
Leave a comment

French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron won their third world title, one month after an Olympic silver medal, while U.S. champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue earned their first world medal, a silver in Milan on Saturday.

Papadakis and Cizeron captured their third world title in four years by breaking world records in the short and free dances. The pre-event favorites totaled 207.20 points and prevailed by 10.56 over Hubbell and Donohue. Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje grabbed bronze.

It’s the largest margin of victory in ice dance at an Olympics or worlds since the 6.0 system was thrown out in 2004.

Papadakis and Cizeron’s score would have won the Olympics by 1.13 over Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who skipped worlds and may never compete again. Papadakis’ dress came undone in their short dance in South Korea, exposing her breast, though they were just .14 off their personal-best short dance score at the time.

Hubbell and Donohue became the fourth different American couple to earn an Olympic or world medal in five seasons. It’s been a breakout year for the newest stars in the U.S.’ deepest figure skating discipline.

They won their first national title in January after placing third or fourth the previous six years and were fourth at their first Olympics, giving up a potential bronze with Donohue’s fall in the free dance. Donohue also fell in the 2017 Worlds free dance after they were third in the short.

WORLDS: Full Scores | Recaps | TV Schedule

The world field lacked the Olympic gold and bronze medalists (Virtue and Moir and American siblings Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani). Medalists often skip the post-Olympic world championships due to off-ice opportunities, exhaustion or retirement.

“It was hard for everyone keeping the energy after the Games and keeping ready and prepared,” Papadakis said.

The second U.S. couple in Milan, two-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates, were fifth after placing ninth at the Olympics, where they tangled skates and both fell in the free dance.

The third U.S. couple, 2014 World junior champions Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, improved from 15th after the short dance to finish 10th overall in their senior worlds debut.

The U.S. put three couples in the top 10 at worlds for the seventh time in eight seasons.

The 2018-19 figure skating season starts in earnest in October with Skate America in Everett, Wash.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Best figure skating moments from PyeongChang