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President Donald Trump issues first public support of LA 2024 Olympic bid

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President Donald Trump believes the International Olympic Committee was “very happy” when it spoke with him about Los Angeles’ 2024 Olympic bid.

“They wanted to have an endorsement from me, and I gave it to them very loud and clear,” Trump said in his first public comments about LA 2024 in a Westwood One radio interview that aired Sunday. “I would love to see the Olympics go to Los Angeles. I think that it’ll be terrific. The United States committee’s members have asked me to speak up about it, and I have, and I think I’ve helped them, and let’s see what happens. But I’d be very happy and honored if they would choose Los Angeles, and we’d stand behind it.”

Los Angeles is vying with Budapest and Paris for the 2024 Olympics. IOC members will vote to choose the host city in September. The U.S. is in the midst of its longest stretch between hosting Olympics (Summer or Winter) since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

In November, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Trump talked about immigration, infrastructure and the Olympics in their first phone call after the election.

Trump and IOC president Thomas Bach then spoke by phone about the bid, when Trump “expressed his strong support” for LA 2024, according to LA 2024.

Trump also said in Sunday’s radio interview that he doesn’t know if his immigration policy and recent executive order will hurt the Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid in the eyes of International Olympic Committee voters.

“Well, I don’t know, but we have to have, regardless, we have to have security in our country,” Trump said. “We have to know who’s coming into our country.”

Trump’s executive order banning refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries was blocked by a federal judge. NBC News has the latest information on where things stand.

The IOC does not comment on the politics of sovereign countries, while the U.S. Olympic Committee issued a statement after the executive order.

“Like the United States, the Olympic Movement was founded based upon principles of diversity and inclusion, of opportunity and overcoming adversity,” the USOC said. “As the steward of the Olympic Movement in the United States, we embrace those values. We also acknowledge the difficult task of providing for the safety and security of a nation. It is our sincere hope that the executive order as implemented will appropriately recognize the values on which our nation, as well as the Olympic Movement, were founded.”

LA 2024 bid chairman Casey Wasserman said last week that the bid wants “to be judged on the merits of the bid, not politics.” The LA 2024 Olympic bid has promoted diversity from its beginning.

MORE: LA 2024 Olympic bid projected ticket prices, venue map in bid book

What to watch at Drake Relays, Penn Relays

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Olympic gold medalists ramp up their track and field seasons at the Penn Relays and Drake Relays, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.

Athletes are working toward the U.S. Championships in June and the world championships in August.

First, the historic Penn Relays will air on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Friday (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-3 p.m. ET).

USA vs. The World in men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays will air live on Saturday from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. A full schedule is here.

The U.S. teams are led by Olympic relay champions English Gardner and Natasha Hastings. The full roster is here.

Rio Olympic rematches highlight the individual-event fields at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 3-5 p.m ET on Saturday. A full schedule is here.

Perhaps no field is deeper than the 100m hurdles. World-record holder Keni Harrison takes on Rio silver and bronze medalists Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, plus 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.

The 110m hurdles contingent is strong as well. It features the last two Olympic champions, Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt, plus 2013 World champion David Oliver.

Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, who earned silver and bronze in Rio, go head-to-head again in the 400m at Drake.

The men’s 1500m is headlined by Rio Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and London Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano.

Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson races individually for the first time this year in the women’s 1500m.

That field also includes New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, who gained fame of her own in Rio. Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino fell in an Olympic 5000m heat and helped each other make it to the finish line. Both were praised for their sportsmanship.

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IOC president unsure whether esports should be considered sport

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Esports are gaining momentum in the international sports movement, but they are not close to becoming an Olympic sport.

“We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” IOC president Thomas Bach said Tuesday, according to insidethegames. “We do not see an organization or a structure that will give us confidence, or guarantee, that in this area the Olympic rules and values of sport are respected and in place, and that the implementation of these rules are monitored and secured.”

The first clear step (of many) to become an Olympic sport is for the IOC to recognize the sport’s international governing body.

Esports will be added as a medal sport to the Asian Games in 2022, and has been praised by LA 2024 Olympic bid chairman Casey Wasserman, but it is not yet IOC recognized.

“We are watching it, we see the differences, we see the lack of organisation,” Bach said, according to the report. “But we also see the high engagement of youth in esports. Therefore, we have to carefully consider how this could be consolidated.”

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