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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

Sprinters age 100, 102 break records at USATF Masters Indoors (video)

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100-year-old sprinter Orville Rogers broke five world records in the 100-plus age group at the USATF Masters Indoors Championships over the weekend.

The retired pilot did so in the 60m (19.13 seconds), 200m (1:40.94), 400m (4:16.90), 800m (9:56.44) and 1500m (20:00.91), according to USA Track and Field.

Not to be outdone, 102-year-old Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins broke 100-plus age group records in the 60m and the shot put as the oldest female competitor in meet history.

In the 60m, Hawkins clocked 24.79 seconds, smashing Ida Keeling‘s record of 58.34 from February. Hawkins also threw the shot put 2.77 meters (or 9 feet, 1.25 inches).

Full meet results are here.

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Charles Hamelin finally claims short track world overall title

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Charles Hamelin won Canada’s first overall title at a world short track speed skating championships in 20 years, bagging the biggest missing prize from his extensive collection this past weekend.

The 33-year-old and four-time Olympian won the 1000m and 1500m at worlds in Montreal en route to the overall crown tallying results from those two events, a 500m and a 3000m.

Hamelin came into the meet as the only male skater in history to win individual gold medals at multiple Olympics yet never claim an overall world title. From 2007 through 2016, Hamelin finished second in the overall three times and third another three times at the annual worlds.

“I was missing two medals [before this year]: Olympic champion in the 1000m and first in overall standings at a world championship,” Hamelin said, according to the International Skating Union. “To win it here in Montreal in front of my family and friends, I’m at a loss for words.”

Hamelin was originally going to retire after worlds but decided in the last month — after failing to finish in the top five in any individual race for the first time at an Olympics and announcing a split with fiancée and triple Olympic medalist Marianne St-Gelais — that he would continue at least through the 2018-19 season.

He won the overall at worlds with 81 points, nearly double the points of silver medalist Liu Shaolin Sándor, who was part of Hungary’s Olympic 5000m relay champion team. South Korean Hwang Dae-Heon took overall bronze with 44 points, one point behind Liu.

The last Canadian to win the world overall title was Marc Gagnon in 1998, the last of his four crowns.

On the women’s side, South Korean Choi Min-Jeong won her third world overall title in four years by claiming 500m, 1500m and 3000m wins. Olympic teammate Shim Suk-Hee was second, followed by Chinese Li Jinyu. South Korean won every female gold medal.

The U.S. went medal-less at a fourth straight worlds and didn’t advance any skaters past the semifinals. Its roster included individual Olympic medalists John-Henry Krueger and J.R. Celski and recently crowned world junior 500m champion Maame Biney.

Viktor Ahn, the six-time Olympic champion left off the list of Russians invited to PyeongChang by the International Olympic Committee, failed to advance past any individual semifinals.

Italian Arianna Fontana, the most decorated short track skater in PyeongChang with a medal of every color, competed only in the relay in Montreal due to emotional exhaustion, according to her social media.

Brit Elise Christie, the 2017 World overall champion, missed the championships altogether after suffering ankle ligament damage in a crash at the Olympics.

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