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IOC: Tokyo Olympics’ huge cost could give wrong message

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TOKYO (AP) — A top IOC official renewed his demand Thursday that Japanese organizers further reduce their $18 billion budget ceiling for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, saying the figure could scare off cities considering bids for future Games.

IOC vice president John Coates, who heads the coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, was referring to the announcement by local organizers this week of a 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) cap on the overall cost.

Coates told the coordination meeting in Tokyo on Thursday that the International Olympic Committee has not accepted the figure. He said all cities seeking to host future Games are watching Tokyo and officials should avoid making a “wrong impression” about what it costs to host the Olympics, according to Kyodo News.

Coates said he expected “significant further savings” to be made.

Japanese organizers have yet to compile a total cost estimate, though their first official budget is expected by the end of the year.

Tokyo’s Olympic costs have soared amid Japan’s reconstruction from the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the year Tokyo launched its bid for the Games. The city secured the Games in 2013.

A Tokyo government panel has also accused local organizers of allowing big public works spending for the Olympics without a long-term vision for legacy use. The panel has said the cost of the Olympics could exceed $30 billion — four times the initial estimate — unless drastic cuts are made.

The IOC also has come under pressure to reduce costs in order to lure cities to bid for future Games. The $51 billion price tag associated with the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi led numerous cities to drop out of bidding for the 2022 and 2024 Olympics. The IOC is now encouraging cities to make maximum use of existing and temporary facilities.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike has spearheaded the cost-cutting effort, proposing a review of the three costly venues.

Koike agreed Tuesday to keep the rowing, canoe sprint and swimming venues at their planned sites in Tokyo, rather than moving them to existing venues outside the capital, while securing commitments for substantial cost reductions.

A decision on a possible switch of the volleyball venue was delayed until late December.

Yoshiro Mori, head of Tokyo’s Olympic organizing committee, said he wanted to see volleyball held in Tokyo’s Ariake Arena as planned, instead of Yokohama — considered as an alternate option — so the venue can serve as a long-term legacy.

MORE: Tokyo 2020: A look at the rising costs

MLB Players Association head says ‘continuing dialogue’ about 2020 Olympics

Jake Arrieta
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SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The head of the Major League Baseball Players Association says it will be difficult for big leaguers to participate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Baseball returns to Olympics after a 12-year absence for the Tokyo Games, which are scheduled for July 24-Aug. 9 — in the middle of baseball’s season.

“There are challenges with the schedule, and there are challenges with major leaguers being involved,” Tony Clark said Thursday at the Baltimore Orioles’ spring training camp.

In 2008, players on major league 25-man rosters and disabled lists on June 26 were ineligible to play. The U.S. roster included 17 players from Triple-A, seven from Double-A and college pitcher Stephen Strasburg, now with the Washington Nationals.

“It doesn’t mean that we are not continuing to have dialogue. We have going back. We will going forward. Where we land, I don’t know,” Clark said. “One of the things we were able to discuss during this round of bargaining were some additional flexibility in the schedule moving forward. Maybe there are some opportunities for a broader discussion than there have been a year ago. We’ll have to wait and see. We haven’t had that kind of substantive sit down yet.”

Many players are preparing for the fourth edition of World Baseball Classic, an international tournament launched in 2006 that is co-owned by Major League Baseball and the union. Clark hopes to see a fifth edition in 2021.

“I see no reason at this point why it wouldn’t,” he said. “I’m hopeful it continues, understanding that the world we live in four years from now may be different from the one we’re in now.”

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Lance Armstrong’s $100 million trial set for November

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 20:  Lance Armstrong (C) heads out with cyclists on December 20, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The disgraced Tour de France rider is in New Zealand to film a commercial, and put out a call on social media for local riders to join him on a ride along the Auckland Waterfront.  (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong‘s $100 million legal fight with the federal government has been set for a November trial.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper on Thursday set a Nov. 6 trial start in Washington. Armstrong’s legal team had asked to postpone trial until 2018 because of a potential scheduling conflict.

The government wants Armstrong to pay back the $32 million the U.S. Postal Service paid his team for sponsorship, plus triple damages.

Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis initially filed the whistle-blower case in 2010, accusing him of violating the sponsorship contract by taking performance-enhancing drugs. The government joined the case in 2013 after Armstrong admitted cheating and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and 2000 Olympic bronze medal.

Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for cheating, could collect up to 25 percent of damages awarded.

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