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IOC boss welcomes talk of awarding 2024, 2028 Olympics together

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ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach welcomes talk that two Summer Games hosts could be picked at the same time in September.

“I like it that people are talking in this way about the Olympic candidature procedure,” Bach told The Associated Press on Saturday, amid speculation Los Angeles and Paris could both get hosting rights for either the 2024 or 2028 Olympics.

“It shows that people are caring. This we appreciate very much.”

Bach fueled the dual award debate in December, when he suggested the current bidding process “produces too many losers.”

Persistent ongoing speculation about rewarding two 2024 bidders “may give us some ideas,” the IOC president said during a visit to the ski world championships.

The IOC has not formally begun any 2028 bid process, and it is also unclear if cities which are targeting that contest would have grounds for complaint about a dual award in September.

Los Angeles and Paris are in the 2024 Olympics bid contest with Budapest, Hungary.

Budapest is seen as the outsider, and could even withdraw next week under pressure from an opposition political group to force a referendum

The city’s mayor, Istvan Tarlos, said on Friday he discussed the bid’s status with Prime Minister Viktor Orban. More meetings were planned on Wednesday.

Bach was asked by the AP on Saturday if the IOC could arrive in Lima, Peru, for the Sept. 13 hosting vote with two candidates and two winners.

“Let us discuss. This is a discussion,” the president said. “It also depends on the timing. This is, you know, why I appreciate also the public discussion.

“There are many options.”

Los Angeles and Paris are viewed as high-quality options for the IOC, and it is unclear if either would bid again in a new 2028 process if they failed to win the 2024 hosting rights.

Bach made creating a more flexible and cost-effective Summer and Winter Games hosting process central to his presidency in a reform program called Olympic Agenda 2020.

The German official acknowledged in December that some challenges remained.

“This procedure as it is … in our political environment in such a fragile world just produces too many losers,” Bach said on Saturday.

He also suggested that Olympic unrest in Budapest was down to a new political group that “wanted to make a name.”

“The referendum is obviously considered by them to be a good tool to put themselves on the map of the political landscape in Hungary,” Bach said.

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USA Hockey to start reaching out to potential replacement players

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USA Hockey will begin reaching out to “alternate players” to determine their interest in playing for the U.S. at the women’s world championship next week amid a potential boycott by its national team.

The contact is taking place in the event a resolution cannot be reached between USA Hockey and the women’s national team in a wage dispute.

“It’s important for everyone to understand clearly that our objective is to have the players we named as the U.S. women’s national team be the ones that compete in the world championship,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, in a statement. “Productive conversations have taken place this week and are ongoing in our collective efforts to reach a resolution.”

The alternate players are in the professional NWHL and college, according to USA Today, a report that USA Hockey would not confirm.

U.S. captain Meghan Duggan has said every player in the U.S. national team player pool, plus under-18 national team players, committed to not playing at worlds unless the wage dispute is resolved.

“We are confident that they [potential replacement players] would choose not to play,” the U.S. players said in a statement.

The world championship tournament starts March 31 in Plymouth, Mich.

As of Thursday evening, no resolution has come between USA Hockey and its women’s national team. They met formally on Monday for more than 10 hours, with both sides calling it productive.

“We ask that they approve the original agreement that, the players believed, was acceptable to both parties after Monday’s meeting,” the players said in a statement. “Unless there is an agreement, the players remain resolved to bypass the defense of the world championship.”

Neither side has said when the next meeting will take place.

On Tuesday, USA Hockey said it postponed a pre-worlds camp that was to run through next Tuesday in Traverse City, Mich., and canceled a scheduled Friday exhibition against Finland.

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MORE: NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

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International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel tells The Associated Press he needs to know by the end of April whether NHL players will be cleared to play in the South Korea Olympics next year.

NHL team owners have made it clear they don’t want to stop their season again for the Winter Games and put their stars at risk of injury. The reluctance has come up before and yet the NHL has participated in the Olympics since 1998. This time, however, there seems to be an impasse.

The head of the NHL Players Association, Donald Fehr, says the players want to participate and hopes the league will take advantage of the chance to market the game in Asia.

However, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says without “material change to the current status quo, NHL players will not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.”

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