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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

Yulia Efimova wags finger as Lilly King rivalry heats up (video)

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The Lilly KingYulia Efimova rivalry is back on, but this time the Russian is wagging her finger.

Efimova missed the 100m breaststroke world record by .01 in the semifinals at the world swimming championships in Budapest on Monday.

Efimova celebrated her time by finger wagging, an homage to King’s famous move in the ready room at the Rio Olympics.  She and King will go head to head in the final as the top two seeds on Tuesday after King won her later semifinal in a personal-best time .17 slower than Efimova.

“I’m always looking at the results from the heat before,” King told media in Budapest, adding that she wasn’t shaved for Monday’s semifinals. “I saw a little finger wag. I saw it. It’s just motivating me more, so that’s OK.”

King, who criticized Efimova’s presence in Rio after serving a doping ban, beat the Russian in the Olympic 100m breaststroke final last year.

Efimova served a 16-month ban for testing positive for the banned steroid DHEA in 2013. She again tested positive in February 2016 for meldonium, though she said she stopped taking it before it became a banned substance Jan. 1 and was absolved along with other athletes.

“You’ve been caught for drug cheating, I’m just not a fan,” King memorably said in Rio, adding last fall, “[Doping] was on all of our minds. We had team meetings talking about what it was going to be like. We were going to be racing dopers, and we all knew it.”

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Katinka Hosszu wins 200m IM as swimmer leaves pool mid-race (video)

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Hungarian Katinka Hosszu delivered the gold-medal performance a raucous Budapest crowd hoped for at the world swimming championships.

Canadian Sydney Pickrem, a medal favorite, appeared to get out of the pool after 50 meters. Swimming Canada later said she “took on water” approaching the first wall.

“Unfortunately it inhibited her to the point where she wasn’t able to continue in the race,” a press release said.

Hosszu won her third straight world title in the 200m individual medley, clocking 2:07.00 at the frenzied Danube Arena. The Olympic champion and world-record holder was followed by Japan’s Yui Ohashi (2:07.91) and American Madisyn Cox (2:09.71).

“Just another stepping stone,” said Cox, who finished her University of Texas career this year and made her major international debut in Budapest. “Of course, I want to be better. That time will come.”

Hosszu was the overwhelming favorite, given she held the three fastest times in the world this year going into Monday’s final. The “Iron Lady” became the first woman to win 10 individual world championships medals, a mark that Sarah SjostromKatie Ledecky and Yulia Efimova can surpass later in the meet. Retired Australian Leisel Jones won nine, all in breaststroke.

Hosszu scratched her other event Monday night, the 100m backstroke, one of three events she won at the Rio Olympics. Hosszu could earn medals in the 200m backstroke and 400m individual medley later this week.

Pickrem ranked No. 3 in the world this year and had the third-fastest time in the semifinals behind Hosszu and American Melanie Margalis, who finished fourth.

Women’s 200m Individual Medley Results
Gold: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) — 2:07.00
Silver: Yui Ohashi (JPN) — 2:07.91
Bronze: Madisyn Cox (USA) — 2:09.71
4. Melanie Margalis (USA) — 2:09.82
5. Runa Imai (JPN) — 2:09.99
6. Kim Seoyeong (KOR) — 2:10.40
7. Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (GBR) — 2:10.41
DQ. Sydney Pickrem (CAN)

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