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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

Nick Goepper opens Olympic qualifying on podium; contenders crash out

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BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — U.S. Olympic men’s ski slopestyle qualifying is underway with Sochi bronze medalist Nick Goepper delivering the first blow.

Goepper finished second at Dew Tour Breckenridge, taking the early edge in Olympic qualifying.

With a victory at any of the remaining selection events, Goepper would be looking good for one of up to four spots on the team for PyeongChang.

“I was really hoping to ski my best today, and I think I skied 98 percent,” Goepper said. “The Olympic selection podium is a bonus and eases the pressure a little bit for the next couple, but the pressure wasn’t really there. I’m just thinking of these as individual events [instead of Olympic qualifiers].”

Alex Hall (fifth place) and Sochi silver medalist Gus Kenworthy (sixth place) also got their Olympic qualifying attempts off to a decent start, but in order to be automatically nominated to the Olympic team, skiers need a minimum of two top-three finishes among five selection events.

Goepper was the only U.S. skier able to crack the podium in Breckenridge.

Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut (first place) and Norway’s Oystein Braaten (third place) played the role of spoiler for the rest of the U.S. team. Harlaut and Braaten are both considered medal contenders for PyeongChang.

Crashes took their toll on several U.S. Olympic hopefuls.

McRae Williams, the reigning world champion, was forced to drop out after crashing on his first run. Colby Stevenson and 2014 Olympian Bobby Brown also did not finish the contest after taking spills of their own.

The contest also missed the reigning Olympic gold medalist. Joss Christensen sat out the event as he rehabs from a torn ACL but plans to return in January for the final four selection events.

On the women’s side, Maggie Voisin remains on track for a nomination to the U.S. Olympic team.

She finished fourth, best among Americans, in the Olympic qualifier at Breckenridge on the strength of a run that featured three 900s.

Voisin won the first qualifier for women’s slopestyle, which was held last season.

She still needs one more top-three finish at any of the three remaining selection events to be eligible for an automatic nomination, but she has consistently been the top performer among the U.S. women.

With two-time X Games gold medalist Kelly Sildaru sidelined with a knee injury this season, the field looks wide open for PyeongChang.

Voisin, then 15, was slated to make her Olympic debut in Sochi as the youngest American in any sport but was injured just days before the competition.

As long as she stays healthy, she will be a medal contender in PyeongChang, as will Norway’s Johanne Killi and France’s Tess Ledeux.

Killi narrowly edged out Ledeux, who recently turned 16, for the victory in Breckenridge. Sarah Hoefflin of Switzerland rounded out the podium.

Four U.S. selection events remain for the men, and three events remain for the women. Olympic qualifying resumes in January with a series of contests in Aspen, Colo., and Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings
Ski Slopestyle 
(women through two of five events; men through one of five)
1. Maggie Voisin — 150*
2. Devin Logan — 82
3. Darian Stevens — 81
4. Taylor Lundquist — 52
5. Nadia Gonzales — 28

1. Nick Goepper — 80*
2. Alex Hall — 45
3. Gus Kenworthy — 40
4. Bobby Brown — 32
5. Cody LaPlante — 29

**Has automatic qualifying minimum of two top-three results.
*Has one top-three result.

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MORE: List of athletes qualified for U.S. Olympic team

Maame Biney, J.R. Celski join U.S. Olympic short track team

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Maame Biney will become the second African-born athlete to compete for the U.S. at the Winter Olympics and the first black woman on a speed skating team.

J.R. Celski, a three-time medalist, is going to a third Winter Games.

Biney, Celski and Aaron Tran qualified in short track at the Olympic Trials in Kearns, Utah, after the 500m on Saturday.

The team is now at five skaters — John-Henry Krueger and Lana Gehring qualified on the first night Friday.

Three more skaters will qualify Sunday after 1000m races — two men and one woman.

One of Katherine Reutter-Adamek and Jessica Kooreman, the top U.S. women at the last two Olympics, is guaranteed to miss the PyeongChang team.

Neither could keep up with the 17-year-old Biney, who moved to the D.C. area from Ghana with her father at age 5, on Saturday.

Biney swept the 500m finals, taking leads from the start and holding off more experienced women. She actually fell — while celebrating after crossing the finish line in the last race.

Afterward, NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce told Biney that eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno believes Biney doesn’t know how good she is.

“People have been telling me that forever, and I think right now I’m kind of seeing it, but I feel like I have a long ways to go, but thanks Apolo,” said Biney, who won a junior world championships bronze medal last season.

Celski did not win the men’s 500m, where he is the world-record holder. Krueger did, with Tran in second.

But the fact that Krueger finished in the top two in Friday’s 1500m and the 500m means that Celski gets on the team via his second-place finish in the 1500m.

Celski won two bronze medals at the 2010 Olympics and another relay silver in Sochi.

He took a full season off after Sochi — undergoing hip surgery — and overcame further knee and back injuries the last two years to return to the World Cup podium this season.

Celski is the only American to earn an individual World Cup medal this season (a bronze) in 24 total races.

Celski won’t be able to race the 500m in PyeongChang if Thomas Hong makes the Olympic team on Sunday.

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MORE: U.S. Olympic short track skater gets 4-year doping ban

U.S. Olympic Short Track Trials

Day Time (ET) Events Network
Friday 6:45-8 p.m. 1500m rounds STREAM LINK
8:30-10 p.m. 1500m finals NBCSN | STREAM LINK
Saturday 12-1:45 p.m. 500m rounds STREAM LINK
2:30-4 p.m. 500m finals NBC | STREAM LINK
Sunday 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. 1000m rounds STREAM LINK
1-3 p.m. 1000m finals NBC | STREAM LINK