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Los Angeles 2024 bid to discuss Donald Trump election at Olympic meeting

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Donald Trump‘s victory in the U.S. presidential election looms over the race for the 2024 Summer Games as the three bid cities prepare to make their first presentations to a key gathering of global Olympic officials.

With 10 months before the vote, bid leaders from Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest, Hungary, have traveled to Doha to pitch their case to the general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees – a meeting attended by more than 1,000 delegates from around the world.

The Los Angeles bid team may have the most at stake in Tuesday’s 20-minute presentations, which will occur exactly a week after Trump’s election victory over Hillary Clinton. Trump’s comments during the campaign about Muslims and Mexicans and his foreign policy plans could hurt the U.S. city’s standing with some of the IOC’s 98 members, who represent a wide range of countries and cultural and religious backgrounds.

Los Angeles bid leader Casey Wasserman, who was a prominent Clinton supporter, said his group has already been in contact with members of Trump’s transition team.

“My personal support of Clinton isn’t an indictment of president-elect Trump’s ability to support our effort,” Wasserman told The Associated Press. “We’re fully confident that he will be an enthusiastic supporter of the Olympics and our bid.”

“Having said that, I think the Olympics are at its best when they rise above politics,” he added. “It has the ability to unite people. Our bid isn’t a political bid. It’s a private bid with political support. We are privately funded and privately operated. We are one step removed from the politics and the ups and downs of politics.”

While details have been kept secret, the Los Angeles presentation – which includes Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat – is likely to deal head-on with the U.S. election result and seek to reassure Olympic officials that the bid represents openness, diversity and inclusiveness.

“We’re not going to pretend like there wasn’t an election but we’re not going to be defensive about it,” Wasserman said. “I think there are some things we’re going to say that will surprise some people.”

Perhaps as a contrast to Trump’s image, the bid team selected sprint star Allyson Felix, a Los Angeles-born African-American athlete who has won six Olympic gold medals and three silvers – as one of its key speakers for the presentation. Felix won two relay gold medals and a silver medal in the 400 meters in Rio de Janeiro in August.

“She’s born, bred, raised and developed in Los Angeles. She’s a hometown girl,” Wasserman said. “I can’t think of anybody better to tell our story.”

The Doha audience will include officials from 205 national Olympic committees, dozens of international sports federations and, most importantly, dozens of members of the International Olympic Committee, which will vote on the host city next September in Lima, Peru.

Under tighter IOC rules, these are the first of only three presentations during the two-year bid race. The second will be at a private technical briefing for IOC members in Switzerland in July, and the third will be the final presentations on the day of the vote in Lima.

Whether Trump will be part of the Los Angeles bid team in Lima remains to be seen.

President Barack Obama went to Copenhagen in 2009 to speak on behalf of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics, but his appearance didn’t help as the city went out in the first round of an election won by Rio de Janeiro.

“We’re getting way ahead of the game,” Wasserman said. “We’re going to make the right judgment at the right time for our bid.”

Paris and Los Angeles, which have each held the Olympics twice, have been viewed as close front-runners in the 2024 race. Paris last held the games in 1924, with Los Angeles hosting in 1984.

Paris bid leaders said they plan to use Tuesday’s presentation – which includes Mayor Anne Hidalgo and two-time Olympic judo champion Teddy Riner – to announce plans for collaboration with national Olympic committees.

“We are feeling the excitement,” Paris bid co-chairman and three-time Olympic canoeing gold medalist Tony Estanguet said Monday. “I feel like an athlete. I feel the adrenaline.”

Like Los Angeles, the Paris bid could be influenced by a presidential election. Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen is among the contenders in next spring’s French presidential race.

Estanguet downplayed any concerns over a potential Le Pen victory, saying the bid has support across the political spectrum in France. He said France was also working hard to guarantee security following a spate of deadly attacks in the country.

“It can happen anywhere in the world, but we have a strong base and lots of experience in security,” he said.

Budapest, meanwhile, is expected to portray itself as the right-sized, affordable alternative from central Europe.

“Holding the Olympic Games in Budapest would help to pave the way for a greater range of mid-sized cities to host the games, in addition to the larger capitals and mega cities that have hosted the games in recent times,” bid chairman Balazs Furjes said.

MORE: Los Angeles 2024 Olympic venue renderings

Alina Zagitova hands Yevgenia Medvedeva first loss in 2 years

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Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva is no longer the clear favorite in the Winter Olympics’ marquee event.

The two-time world champion lost for the first time in more than two years, upset by training partner Alina Zagitova at the European Figure Skating Championships in Moscow.

Italian Carolina Kostner earned bronze.

Zagitova, the 15-year-old world junior champion, set personal bests in the short program and free skate and totaled 238.24 points. She beat Medvedeva by 5.38 points.

Medvedeva, in her first competition since November due to a broken foot, fully rotated all of her jumps Saturday, but Zagitova was cleaner. She also stumbled out of a double Axel in her short program.

“I did not feel the injury,” Medvedeva said after the short program, according to the International Skating Union. “Everything has healed.”

Full results are here. NBCSN will air coverage Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.

Zagitova was born three months after the Salt Lake City Olympics and without a name for her first year. Her parents eventually decided on Alina after watching Olympic rhythmic gymnastics champion Alina Kabayeva on TV.

She had been working to this point in her first senior international season. She swept her two fall Grand Prix starts, then won the Grand Prix Final in December, all without Medvedeva in the field.

On Saturday, she landed all of her jumps (including seven triples) in the second half of her program for 10 percent bonuses. It’s the type of technical content layout ambitious enough to challenge Medvedeva.

“I think that Zhenia [Medvedeva] is her role model in life, in behavior, in her way to work,” shared coach Eteri Tutberidze said last year, according to Goldenskate.com. “Alina absolutely tries to copy her way to work, the amount of work and she doesn’t stop. This helps. I can sometimes show Zhenia and say, ‘Look how Alina is working,’ and I tell Alina, ‘Look how Zhenia is working.’”

Medvedeva, whose last defeat was in November 2015, also won both of her Grand Prix starts, posting the world’s highest scores this season, while dealing with foot pain.

She underwent an MRI that revealed a crack, then withdrew from the Grand Prix Final and the Russian Championships in December. She is still expected to be on the Olympic Athlete from Russia team in PyeongChang.

Kostner, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist who made her Europeans debut in 2003, fell on her opening triple Lutz and landed just three triple jumps Saturday.

She hung on to win a medal at her 11th straight European Championships.

Russian Maria Sotskova, the Grand Prix Final silver medalist, fell on her last triple jump, a Lutz, among other landing troubles. She placed fourth.

Those four skaters are the Olympic medal contenders along with Canadians Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabrielle Daleman and Japanese Satoko Miyahara and Kaori Sakamoto.

U.S. champion Bradie Tennell ranks 14th in the world this season.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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Julia Marino, Hailey Langland qualify for Olympics; U.S. sweeps possible

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The addition of snowboard big air to the Olympics next month means Jamie AndersonJulia Marino and Hailey Langland have two chances for a U.S. podium sweep in PyeongChang.

Marino and Langland qualified for the U.S. big air and slopestyle team Saturday, joining the already qualified Anderson, who won slopestyle’s debut in Sochi.

Anderson, Marino and Langland swept the podium in that order at the last Olympic qualifier in slopestyle in Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

They also made up three of the top four riders at the 2017 X Games big air and slopestyle.

The U.S. has never swept the Winter Olympic medals in a women’s event but could do so in big air, slopestyle and even snowboard halfpipe in PyeongChang.

MORE: U.S. Olympic roster

While Anderson is the veteran, an X Games medalist 11 of the last 12 years, Marino and Langland represent the new wave of U.S. big air and slopestyle riders.

Marino, a 20-year-old from Connecticut who trains in Quebec, earned slopestyle and big air medals at X Games Aspen and Oslo last year in her debuts at those events.

They included slopestyle gold in Aspen over Anderson.

Langland, a 17-year-old from Southern California who plays the ukulele, guitar and piano, won the first X Games women’s big air title last year and took bronze in slopestyle in 2016.

Born in 2000, she is younger than any previous female Olympic snowboarding medalist.

“She reminds me of a younger me,” Anderson said, according to NBC Olympic Research.

The U.S. could add a fourth woman to the big air/slopestyle team, likely either Jessika Jenson or Ty Walker, a pair of 2014 Olympians in slopestyle.

The U.S. men are not as strong internationally in big air and slopestyle, where the Olympic favorites hail from Canada and Norway.

Kyle Mack won the last qualifier Saturday — without the top international riders in the field — to clinch the third and last automatic spot on the men’s big air/slopestyle team.

Chris Corning and Red Gerard previously qualified for PyeongChang. A fourth rider can be added via discretionary selection.

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings
Snowboard Big Air/Slopestyle 
(through five of five events)
Three riders auto qualify per gender; one possible discretionary spot
1. Chris Corning — 2,000* QUALIFIED
1. Red Gerard — 2,000* QUALIFIED
3. Kyle Mack — 1,800* QUALIFIED

4. Chandler Hunt — 1,400* (2nd and 3rd)
5. Ryan Stassel — 1,400 (2nd and 3rd)

1. Jamie Anderson — 2,000* QUALIFIED
2. Julia Marino — 1,800* QUALIFIED
3. Hailey Langland — 1,600* QUALIFIED
4. Jessika Jenson — 1,600 (1st and 3rd)
5. Ty Walker — 1,300 (2nd and 4th)
*Has automatic qualifying minimum of one top-three result against entire field.

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