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Allyson Felix talks Donald Trump election in Los Angeles 2024 bid speech

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Los Angeles sought to allay concerns over Donald Trump‘s election, Paris played up its glamorous venues and Budapest set itself apart as a mid-sized alternative as the three cities made their first public pitches Tuesday in the bid race for the 2024 Olympics.

With 10 months before the vote, the three candidates had a chance to deliver their message in 20-minute presentations to the general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees, a gathering of more than 1,000 delegates from around the world.

The meeting occurred exactly after a week after Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the American presidential election, a result that could have an impact on Los Angeles’ hopes of bringing the Summer Olympics back to the U.S. for the first time since Atlanta hosted in 1996.

Trump’s comments during the divisive campaign about Muslims and Mexicans and some of his foreign policy views may not help the California city’s chances with some of the IOC’s 98 members, who represent a range of nationalities, cultures and religions.

It was American sprinter Allyson Felix, a Los Angeles-born African-American sprinter and six-time Olympic gold medalist, who addressed those concerns during the presentation. Without mentioning Trump by name, her message was clear.

“We just finished our presidential election, and some of you may question America’s commitment to its founding principles,” Felix said. “I have one message for you: Please don’t doubt us. America’s diversity is our greatest strength.”

Felix said America “needs the games to help make our nation better, now more than ever.”

She raised the issue of race and slavery in explaining the history and diversity of the country.

“We’re also a nation with individuals like me, descendants of people who came to America, not of their own free will but against it,” Felix said. “But we’re not a nation that clings to our past, no matter how glorious — or how painful. Americans rush toward the future.”

“I believe L.A. is a perfect choice for the 2024 Games, because the face of our city reflects the face of the Olympic Movement itself,” she said.

IOC vice president John Coates, of Australia, was among the delegates in the audience and said Felix’s words hit the mark.

“I did think Allyson addressed the Trump issue very well,” he told The Associated Press. “I think the question was hanging. I thought it was very, very well-crafted.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat who was a prominent Clinton supporter, also took up the theme of diversity and openness, saying his city can deliver “transformative” games.

“I see an America that remains actively engaged in the world,” he said. “I see an America that is outward-looking, ready to play its role alongside the community of nations to address our world’s most pressing challenges.”

Speaking afterward, Garcetti said an Olympic bid stands on a city’s own merits and does not depend on who is the president of the country.

“Today we just reminded people that any nation is made of its people, not one person,” he said. “We think that is something that, whether it’s Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, transcends all of us as Americans. I don’t think that the Hungarians or the French or the Americans are making their bid plans based on what the national leader says.”

Los Angeles hosted the games in 1932 and 1984. New York and Chicago failed in bids for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, respectively.

“This is our third attempt to host the Olympic Games in the past 10 years and for many reasons … I must say this is the most remarkable U.S. bid I have ever seen,” U.S. Olympic Committee President Larry Probst said. “We have learned many lessons from our previous bids, and failure can be a great teacher.”

Paris, which hosted the games in 1900 and 1924, has been considered in a tight race with Los Angeles. The French team stressed the bid’s compact nature, with 85 percent of athletes housed within 30 minutes of their venues.

“In Paris in 2024, we will swim in the River Seine,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo told the delegates. “We will travel in driverless vehicles. We will celebrate the games on the Champs Elysees, with the Eiffel Tower and all along the Seine from the Grand Palais to Saint Denis.”

The Spanish-born Hidalgo cited her own background as an example of what Paris offers.

“To be an immigrant, to be a woman, to have dual nationality and to be able to be mayor of Paris, this city has brought me opportunity and freedom,” she said. “Paris has an incredible force.”

Budapest, which has never hosted the Olympics and is making its seventh bid, has been seen as the outsider in the race. The Hungarians said they only need to build three new venues and will harness the city center for the games.

Most of all, they said Budapest offers something different.

“A Games for one mid-sized global city is a Games for all mid-sized global cities, across the world,” bid chairman Balazs Furjes said. “A Games in Budapest sends the message that the Olympic Games are not simply for the mega-city, but for mid-size cities, too.”

The Doha audience included 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.

MORE: 2024 Olympic bidding news

Several women’s players spurn worlds inquiry from USA Hockey

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As sports organizations and notable hockey figures express support of the U.S. women’s team, several players say they rejected overtures from USA Hockey to serve as replacements for the upcoming world championships.

Two players told The Associated Press on Friday that USA Hockey reached out to them to gauge their interest for the worlds, which begin next week in Plymouth, Michigan.

Brittany Ott, a goaltender for the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League, and Annie Pankowski, a junior forward at the University of Wisconsin, said the email from USA Hockey was not an invitation but rather an inquiry about their availability.

“I responded to that email and I said I’m not willing,” Pankowski said.

A third player, goalie Lauren Dahm, told the AP on Saturday she also turned down an invitation. Dahm plays for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Boston Blades.

The U.S. team has said it plans to boycott the worlds over a wage dispute with USA Hockey, which confirmed Thursday it would begin reaching out to potential replacement players. Several players posted messages on social media saying they support the national team and would decline or have declined any outreach from USA Hockey.

“From a personal standpoint I have never been invited to a USA Hockey series or camp or anything like that and I would honestly love to be invited to something like that,” Ott said by phone. “However at the current time, this is a fight that I believe in and I’m definitely going to stand up and help fight as much as I can.”

Many players posted a version of a Jerry Rice quote on Twitter on Friday: “Today I will do what others won’t so tomorrow I can do what others can’t. I said no to USAH & will not play in the 2017WC.” Not all players who tweeted that message were asked by USA Hockey if they could play.

On Saturday, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith joined the chorus of support for the players, saying on Twitter the organization stands behind their pursuit of fairness and equality.

“These women understand inequality when they see it and are expressing their right to be treated fairly as athletes and workers,” Smith tweeted. “Of course, they have the NFLPA’s support in daring to withhold their services until a fair agreement is reached.”

Philadelphia Flyers coach Dave Hakstol posted his support on Twitter, calling players competitors and role models.

On Friday, the NHL Players’ Association and Major League Baseball players posted messages of support. The NHLPA posted on Twitter that it supports players and panned USA Hockey’s bid to stock the team with replacements, adding that the decision “would only serve to make relations, now and in the future, much worse.”

The MLBPA encouraged all female hockey players to stand united behind their national team colleagues.

Players are seeking a four-year contract that includes payments outside the six-month Olympic period. The sides met for 10-plus hours Monday, but players have called USA Hockey’s counterproposal “disappointing.”

USA Hockey said Thursday its priority was to have all the players selected for the national team on the ice March 31 when the tournament begins. But the organization added that it informed players’ representatives it would begin reaching out to potential replacements with the tournament coming up.

Star national team forward Hilary Knight said last week she wished USA Hockey luck putting together a suitable team of replacements to defend the gold medal because the player pool was united in the dispute. Ott and Pankowski said they had not heard from any players expressing a willingness to play in worlds.

“It’s a very unified front,” Ott said. “It’s a tight-knit community that we have in women’s hockey here. This is definitely a big opportunity for us to make a big change and have a big impact on our sport and have it grow. We’re all standing together.”

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World Figure Skating Championships pairs preview

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Volosozhar and Trankov couldn’t do it. Neither did Shen and Zhao. Nor Gordeeva and Grinkov.

Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford can win a third straight pairs world title next week, a feat not seen since Irina Rodnina and Alexander Zaitsev of the Soviet Union won six in a row from 1973 through 1978.

But they don’t feel like favorites.

“We’re coming in a little more under the radar,” Radford said.

They lost their two most recent international competitions — third at the Grand Prix Final in December; second at the Four Continents Championships in February.

Duhamel and Radford are seeded fifth by best international scores this season going into the world championships in Helsinki (broadcast schedule here).

“Sometimes it feels like worlds last year was so long ago,” Radford said.

Last year in Boston, Duhamel and Radford had the performance of their seven-year partnership in the world championships free skate. They tallied a personal-best 153.81 points, more than seven points clear of their previous best.

It was easily enough to overtake Chinese short-program leaders Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, who were relegated to silver behind the Canadians for a second straight year.

This season, Duhamel and Radford haven’t come within 13 points of their 2016 World Championships total. Duhamel went through “an unforeseeable circumstance” in her personal life in November that she chooses not to reveal.

They implemented the throw triple Axel, but Duhamel fell three times in a four-event stretch this fall. They lost by nearly 13 points at December’s Grand Prix Final, which ended with a Duhamel backstage meltdown.

“We never fell like that at home [in practice],” Duhamel said on the IceTalk podcast. “It started to shake us up a little bit.”

They replaced the throw triple Axel in their program. Without it in February, both skaters had trouble with jumps at Four Continents at the 2018 Olympic venue and finished nearly 13 points behind Sui and Han.

“We kind of went back to square one, to the drawing board after Four Continents, reassessing what’s gone on this season, why are we underperforming, why are we not succeeding in competition the way we are training,” Duhamel said.

They made program changes, notably on their throw and jump entrances and overhauling the footwork in their short program.

Duhamel adopted a rescue dog from South Korea. Radford, who had surgery over the summer to remove a cyst from his ankle bone, leaned on a sports psychologist.

“I personally feel a lot more relaxed and seemless,” Radford said. “That feeling has come a little bit later this season.”

Five pairs could take gold in Helsinki in perhaps the most wide-open event.

Germans Aliona Savchenko and (French-born) Bruno Massot won both of their fall Grand Prix events but missed the Grand Prix Final after she tore an ankle ligament. They returned to take silver at the European Championships in January with the best score of their two-year partnership.

Young Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov stepped up to win the Grand Prix Final, the second-biggest annual competition, and then the European Championships. But free-skate struggles have dogged them this season.

Another Russian pair, Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, are perhaps the biggest wild card. They missed the fall season due to Stolbova’s left leg injury, but then beat Tarasova and Morozov in their season debut at the Russian Championships. Stolbova fell on their throw triple flip in both programs at the European Championships in January, and they finished fourth.

Then there are Sui and Han, looking to break through for a first senior world title in their sixth try (though Sui is just 21 years old, and Han 24). They missed the fall season after Sui underwent right ankle and left foot surgeries last spring. They returned at Four Continents and posted personal-best free skate and total scores, ranking only behind Tarasova and Morozov for the season.

U.S. pairs Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Christopher Knierim and Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier have both missed significant time due to injury in the last two years. They are behind the top pairs from Canada, China and Russia.

The U.S. hasn’t put a pair in the world championships top five since 2006, and that doesn’t figure to change next week.

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NBC Sports researcher Sarah Hughes contributed to this report.