Los Angeles 2024
LA 2024

LA 2024 Olympic bid update on baseball/softball; basketball, soccer venues

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The Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid committee hasn’t disclosed if it hopes for baseball and softball to be part of the Games, it said Friday.

Baseball and softball were added to the 2020 Olympic program in August, but are not yet on Olympic programs beyond that.

The International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020 allows local organizing committees to propose adding sports for their Games, which is what Tokyo 2020 did to get baseball, softball, skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing and karate onto its program.

In a 2015 bid book from LA 2024, Dodger Stadium was listed as a baseball and softball venue if the sports were part of the 2024 Olympic program. More recent LA 2024 bid books have not mentioned baseball or softball venues.

Los Angeles is bidding against Budapest and Paris for the 2024 Olympics. IOC members will vote to choose the host city in September.

Also Friday, LA 2024 said there won’t be any basketball venues outside of Los Angeles. Currently, Staples Center is the only proposed basketball venue, though five of the last six Olympic basketball tournaments have been split between two venues.

Last year, bid chairman Casey Wasserman said other cities in California could potentially host 2024 Olympic basketball games.

One sport that’s expected to be held at venues outside of Los Angeles — and outside California — is soccer.

Preliminary matches are slated to be “across America,” and while LA 2024 said Friday it has letters of interest from many U.S. soccer stadiums, they have not been chosen yet.

The Rose Bowl in Pasadena is scheduled to host at least some quarterfinals and semifinals and both finals.

In 1984, the soccer venues (men’s only) were the Rose Bowl, the stadiums at Stanford in California and Harvard in Massachusetts as well as in Annapolis, Md.

For Atlanta 1996, the soccer venues (men’s and women’s) were in Athens, Ga.; Birmingham, Ala.; Orlando, Miami and Washington, D.C.

VIDEO: LA 2024 Olympic venue plan

Yuzuru Hanyu opens Olympic season with record score

Yuzuru Hanyu
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A sore knee didn’t hold Yuzuru Hanyu back. A record score to open his Olympic season.

The Olympic and world champion from Japan hit a pair of quadruple jumps in his short program at the Autumn Classic, a lower-level event in Montreal.

He was rewarded with 112.72 points, the highest short program score recorded under the 13-year-old judging system. Video is here.

It looked like a home competition for Hanyu.

Upon finishing, he bowed toward one set of bleachers (maybe a dozen rows) at the Sportsplexe Pierrefonds. More than two dozen Japanese flags made it hard to see most of the faces.

He bettered Javier Fernández, a two-time world champion and training partner, by 11.52 points. Fernández also landed two quadruple jumps to tally 101.2.

Full scores will be here upon the conclusion of the short program. The free skate is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. A live stream is here.

Hanyu now owns the three highest short program scores under the 13-year-old system. The other two were set in the 2015-16 season.

Showdowns like Hanyu-Fernández are usually reserved for, at the earliest, the Grand Prix series in late October and November.

Hanyu and Fernández are very familiar with each other, having shared a coach in Canadian Brian Orser, the 1988 Olympic silver medalist, since 2012. They train in Toronto.

In that time, Hanyu became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic title (and the second teen from any nation to do it). He followed it up with world titles later in 2014 and this year.

Fernández achieved unfathomable success for a Spanish skater — world titles in 2015 and 2016, overtaking Hanyu in the free skate both times.

In PyeongChang, Hanyu can become the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952. Fernández can become the third Spaniard to earn a Winter Olympic medal of any color in any sport, and the first since 1992.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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USOC letter assures Olympians about South Korea security

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The U.S. Olympic Committee’s security chief sent a letter to potential Winter Olympians saying there are no indications that recent developments between the U.S. and North Korea have compromised security in South Korea.

The letter, obtained by The Associated Press shortly after it was sent Friday, makes no suggestion that the U.S. is considering skipping the PyeongChang Winter Games for security reasons.

But Chief Security Officer Nicole Deal does write that provocations that have been volleyed between the United States and North Korea are likely to persist for the foreseeable future, and “should not be dismissed as insignificant nor feared as precursors of an inevitable conflict.”

The letter comes at the end of a week in which France’s sports minister suggested the country’s athletes would stay home if security could not be guaranteed.

The International Olympic Committee, trying to calm concerns, reiterated that in conversations with high-level officials in China and South Korea, none have expressed doubt about the Winter Games proceeding as scheduled, next February.

The USOC also sent out a public statement Friday from CEO Scott Blackmun.

“We will continue to work with our State Department and local organizers to ensure that our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe,” he said.

The letter, sent to athletes, national governing bodies and other Olympic leaders in the United States, said the USOC’s security division is operating as “business as usual for our security planning and preparations.”

Deal writes that the USOC is reviewing crisis management plans that address a range of potential scenarios “to ensure our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe.”

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