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Innsbruck residents say no to 2026 Winter Olympic bid

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Innsbruck will not bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, after voters in the Austrian province of Tyrol defeated a public referendum on Sunday.

53.35 percent of votes disapproved of the bid, InsideTheGames reported. A feasibility study suggested Innsbruck could have hosted the 2026 Winter Games on a budget of 1.175 billion euros ($1.3 billion) by utilizing existing venues in the Tyrol region and southern Germany.

Innsbruck, the host of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Games, is one of just three cities to have hosted a Winter Olympics more than once, along with St. Moritz and Lake Placid. No city has hosted the Winter Olympics three times.

Innsbruck also hosted the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics in 2012.

Sion, Switzerland, is the only city to have confirmed a bid plan for the 2026 Winter Games. Calgary and Stockholm could also bid.

U.S. Olympic Committee board members discussed the pros and cons of possible 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympic bids on Friday. The U.S. last hosted the Winter Games in Salt Lake City in 2002.

“I put a stake in the ground that we are interested in hosting the Winter Games,” USOC chairman Larry Probst said he told members of the U.S. Olympic community at the USOC Assembly in Colorado Springs on Thursday. “Ideally, that’s probably 2030, so that there’s no confusion with preparations for [Los Angeles] 2028 [Summer Games].”

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Rafael Nadal claims 16th Grand Slam title by winning U.S. Open

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NEW YORK (AP) — Rafael Nadal against Kevin Anderson in the U.S. Open final shaped up as quite a mismatch — and that’s exactly what it was.

His game at a high level at the end of an unusually easy path through a Grand Slam field, Nadal overwhelmed first-time major finalist Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday to win his third championship at Flushing Meadows.

It is the No. 1-ranked Nadal’s second Grand Slam title of the year and 16th overall. Among men, only longtime rival Roger Federer has more, with 19.

At No. 32, Anderson was the lowest-ranked U.S. Open men’s finalist since the ATP computer rankings began in 1973. The 31-year-old South African never had been past the quarterfinals at any major tournament in 33 previous appearances, so when he won his semifinal on Friday, he climbed into the stands to celebrate.

There would be no such joy for him on this day. Nadal simply dominated every facet of the 2½-hour final.

Nadal added to his U.S. Open triumphs in 2010 and 2013 and improved to 16-7 in Grand Slam finals. For the first time since 2013, he appeared in three in a single season, losing to Federer at the Australian Open in January, then beating Stan Wawrinka for his record 10th French Open trophy in June.

Nadal’s career haul also includes two trophies from Wimbledon and one from the Australian Open. All of his big victories have come while being coached by his uncle, Toni, who is now stepping aside. The U.S. Open was the last Grand Slam event of their partnership.

Not since Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2000 had a man won a Slam tournament without facing any opponents ranked in the top 20.

In New York this time, the bracket was weakened by the injury withdrawals of three of the top five men: past champions Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Wawrinka.

Plus, Nadal did not need to deal with Federer: The potential for a semifinal, which would have been their first U.S. Open meeting, was dashed when Juan Martin del Potro eliminated Federer in the quarterfinals. Nadal then beat del Potro, the 2009 champion but now ranked 28th, in the semis.

Much like Nadal’s 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 win against Wawrinka at Roland Garros, the only beauty of this match was not in its competitiveness — not by a long shot — but in an appreciation for one participant’s absolute superiority.

Forehands whipped up the line. Two-handed backhands ripped cross-court with ferocity. The spinning, back-to-the-net returns of serves that darted in at him at more than 130 mph (210 kph) and helped him break Anderson four times.

He even came up with some terrific volleys, winning the point on all 16 of his trips to the net. Anderson, meanwhile, finished 16 for 34 in that category. Another difference-maker: Nadal never faced a break point, although that was more a reflection of his talent once the ball was in play than any particularly dominant serving.

With Nadal standing way back to receive serves, nearly backing into the line judges, he neutralized Anderson’s most effective skill. Anderson came in having won 103 of 108 service games across six matches, but Nadal accumulated break points at will from the get-go — two in a six-deuce game at 1-all, another two in a five-deuce game at 2-all.

Anderson began trying to end points quickly with a volley. Two problems with that: Anderson is not usually a serve-and-volleyer and so is no expert at that tactic; Nadal is superb at summoning passing shots at extreme speeds and angles, especially when facing the sort of target provided by the 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Anderson, the tallest Grand Slam finalist in history.

It was only a matter of time until Nadal capitalized on a chance. Anderson let him do just that at 3-all, 30-all, double-faulting to offer up Nadal’s fifth break point of the match, then badly pushing a cross-court forehand wide.

That only made the score 4-3, but the statistics until then were telling: Anderson had 21 unforced errors, Nadal just four. A pattern had been established. When Nadal broke to lead 4-2 in the second set, that was pretty much that.

As the 2017 Grand Slam season wrapped up, it marked a return to the heights of their sport for Nadal and Federer: Each won two of the four major titles.

Not only didn’t Nadal win one in 2015 or 2016 — his first such shutouts since 2004, when he was still a teenager — but he didn’t even make it to a major final in that span. Seems safe to say that, at age 31, he is once again the Nadal of old.

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Mo Farah to debut as a full-time road runner at 2018 London Marathon

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Mo Farah will begin the next chapter of his career in front of his home fans, announcing that he will run the 2018 London Marathon on April 22.

“The London Marathon is my home race and it is so special to me,” Farah said in a press release. “The previous times I have taken part [in 2013 and 2014] were amazing. The atmosphere on the course was unbelievable. Just like at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and at the World Championships this summer, those incredible home crowds really do give me that extra motivation. I can’t wait to experience that again next year.”

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, is moving to full-time road running in 2018 after a decorated track career.

In his final season on the track, Farah earned the 10,000m gold medal and 5000m silver medal at Worlds. He also claimed the 5000m Diamond League title. He ended his season on Sunday by winning the Great North Run in Newcastle, England, and said that was looking forward to eating sticky toffee pudding and apple pie in the offseason.

Farah has previous experience on the London Marathon course.

He ran the first half of the 2013 race to gain experience participating in a major city marathon.

He returned in 2014 to make his 26.2-mile debut, finishing eighth in 2:08:21. He missed the European record (2:06:36) and the British record (2:07:13), but broke the English record of 2:08.33.

“I can’t wait for next April and will be training as hard as ever over the coming months to ensure I’m in the best shape possible,” Farah said.

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