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Italy declares two-city bid for 2026 Olympics

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Italy declared a joint Milan-Torino bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics on Thursday.

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) made the announcement two days before an International Olympic Committee deadline to enter a dialogue phase, after which no new cities will be accepted for 2026 bids.

The IOC said last month that four other cities entered the initial dialogue phase for potential 2026 Olympic bids: Calgary, Stockholm, Sion, Switzerland and Sapporo, Japan. Bids from Austria and Norway have also been discussed but not formally announced.

Bids could hinge on public votes, which led to the demise of recent Summer and Winter Games bids. Rome’s mayor ended the Italian capital’s bid for the 2024 Olympics in October 2016.

CONI said it will present a feasibility study on its bid once the new Italian government forms for “a comprehensive evaluation of the entire project.” Italy’s general election on March 4 resulted in no clear majority.

IOC president Thomas Bach has said he hopes the Winter Olympics can return to a more traditional location after PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022, which USOC chairman Larry Probst called “code for Europe or North America.”

The U.S. prefers to bid for the 2030 Olympics — with one of Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno-Tahoe — but would consider bidding earlier if the 2026 and 2030 Olympics will be awarded together like the 2024 and 2028 Games were to Paris and Los Angeles last year. A double vote appears unlikely at this point.

The 2026 Olympic host city is set to be chosen via IOC members vote in September 2019 in Milan.

Though multiple locations can host Olympic events (like PyeongChang and Gangneung last month), one place is labeled the official Olympic host. CONI said it would let the IOC make that decision on Milan-Torino, cities separated by 90 miles.

Torino hosted the 2006 Winter Games, which also included Alpine skiing in Sestriere, snowboarding in Bardonecchia and sliding sports in Cesana.

Italy also hosted the 1956 Winter Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo and the 1960 Summer Games in Rome.

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MORE: 2026 Olympic bidding news

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon

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Watch the world’s best distance runners chase world records at the London Marathon, live on NBCSN and commercial free on the NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” for subscribers on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon
NBCSN coverage — STREAM LINK
NBC Sports Gold commercial free — STREAM LINK

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
3:55 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:00 – World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
4:15 – Elite Women’s Race
5:00 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The men’s field features arguably the two greatest distance runners of all time — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

Kipchoge, the Rio Olympic marathon champ, ran the fastest marathon ever recorded — 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-two-hour attempt last May in non-record-eligible conditions.

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history under legal conditions, having run six seconds shy of Kenyan Dennis Kimetto‘s world record of 2:02:57 from 2014.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Mary Keitany, already the world-record holder in a women’s-only race, looks to take down Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s world record with male pacers set in London 15 years ago. That time is 2:15:25.

Keitany is challenged by Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the third-fastest female marathoner in history behind Keitany and Radcliffe.

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MORE: Shalane Flanagan looks to future after last Boston Marathon

Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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