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Calgary 2026 Olympic bid faces crucial vote

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The future of Calgary’s 2026 Winter Olympic bid will be determined by a city council vote early next week.

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said the bid was “a bit in the ditch” on Tuesday, according to Canadian media.

“The question is, is it worth pulling it out of the ditch or not, and I think it is,” Nenshi said, according to the Canadian Press. “It’s not a good time to take the off-ramp. Give us until June to see the money, and then we can take the off-ramp if the money doesn’t work.

“I think it would be a real shame for council to not to try to pull this thing out of the ditch between now and June.”

The city council voted 8-6 on March 21 to fund bid exploration ahead of the International Olympic Committee’s end-of-March deadline for cities to declare interest in bidding.

Council members voted 9-1 on Tuesday to hold a vote early next week, according to reports.

“I get the impression that people are changing their minds, members on council are changing their minds, and I’m not sure there is majority support to go forward,” said council member Druh Farrell, who put forward the motion for next week’s vote, according to the Calgary Herald.

“Unless there’s a lot of lobbying and arm-twisting and leg-twisting that goes on in the next four or five days, I think this [Olympic bid] is dead,” council member Diane Colley-Urquhart said, according to the newspaper.

Calgary is one of seven sites pursuing 2026 Olympic bids through a dialogue phase with the IOC. The others: Graz, Austria; Milan/Torino/Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy; Sapporo, Japan; Stockholm, Sweden; Sion, Switzerland and Erzurum, Turkey.

Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Games that included the first Jamaican bobsled team and the Battle of the Brians and the Battle of the Carmens in figure skating.

If the Calgary bid happens, it could see Nordic combined and ski jumping at the Vancouver 2010 venue in Whistler, B.C., more than 500 miles west of Calgary.

If Calgary gets the 2026 Winter Games, it could hurt a potential 2030 U.S. bid from Denver, Reno-Tahoe or Salt Lake City since the IOC has never awarded back-to-back Summer or Winter Games to North America (though a Summer Games in North America has been followed by a Winter Games in North America in 1976/1980 and 1984/1988.)

Canada has not bid for an Olympics since hosting the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. Toronto dropped a 2024 Summer Olympic bid. Quebec City showed 2026 bid interest last year before dropping out as well.

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MORE: A look at the 7 potential 2026 Olympic bids

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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