Rome Colosseum
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Rome 2024 Olympic bid plan includes Colosseum, Vatican, Circus Maximus

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ROME (AP) — The marathon route winding through St. Peter’s Square and finishing under the Arch of Constantine in front of the Colosseum. A medals plaza set up inside the Baths of Caracalla. Beach volleyball played at the Circus Maximus.

Since Italian Premier Matteo Renzi announced Rome’s bid for the 2024 Olympics last year, the details have been something of a mystery.

But, in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, bid chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo revealed a list of “iconic venues” that will take full advantage of Rome’s historic settings and Italy’s television-friendly backdrops.

Among other plans, cyclists could finish the road race with a sprint on the majestic Via dei Fori Imperiali and sailing would take place off Sardinia, Sicily or the Amalfi coast. The marathon route would run alongside Rome’s synagogue and mosque to promote interfaith peace.

“With television today, to have the possibility to put together the sport, the emotion, with the (surroundings) is fantastic,” said Montezemolo, the former Ferrari president and current Alitalia chairman.

The center of the bid project is the Foro Italico, which features the Stadio Olimpico used for the 1960 Games with an adjacent aquatics venue.

“We can do the opening ceremony and the athletics tonight,” Montezemolo said. “(We’re) ready. Swimming tonight. … Seventy percent of the venues are existing.”

Another main area will be at Tor Vergata, a university zone on Rome’s ring road that would be used for the athletes village, basketball, volleyball and perhaps the velodrome.

Gymnastics, boxing, fencing, judo, taekwondo and some other sports would be held at the Fiera convention center near the main airport

With Tor Vergata currently in a state of abandonment. Montezemolo wants the athletes village to be turned into university housing and a hospital after the games.

“I don’t want to present a town that puts in the window only history and (the) past,” he said.

A drawback might be the distance — 33 kilometers (20 miles) — from Tor Vergata to the Foro Italico. That could impact athletics and swimming competitors who often return to the village between morning heats and evening finals.

Rome would like to host the games in August (sometime between Aug. 5-25) when the locals go on vacation — so traffic might not be as much of a problem as usual.

“It could be 40 minutes without traffic,” Montezemolo said.

One of the biggest challenges to Rome’s bid remains concern over corruption in construction contracts.

Dozens of suspects have been ordered to stand trial in November for a widening corruption scandal in Rome labeled “Mafia Capital.” Phone conversations intercepted by police and published in the media described how local criminal bosses managed to cement ties with city politicians over lucrative public contracts.

“I don’t accept that it’s automatic to do a big event together with corruption,” Montezemolo said.

At a flashy funeral send-off for a reputed mafia chieftain last month, there was a gilded horse-drawn carriage and “Godfather” theme music.

“I was astonished,” Montezemolo said of Vittorio Casamonica‘s funeral. “If this happened, it means that somebody did not (police) enough.”

With “Mafia Capital” in mind, Montezemolo is appointing Renzi’s anti-corruption czar Raffaele Cantone to a place on the bid team, and he’s also naming a handful of prominent judicial figures to oversee the contracts process.

“This is the best way to clean,” said Montezemolo, who is running the bid committee without a salary. “This is the process. For many years that was not the process.”

In line with the IOC’s new cost-cutting agenda, Rome is also promoting a thrifty bid.

Plans call for a games budget of 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) — or roughly half of what London spent in 2012

The bid budget is 10 million euros ($11 million) — a fraction of the 60 million euros ($65 million) that rival Paris is spending. Los Angeles — the other main contender — raised $35 million in a single week for its bid campaign.

The other bidders are Hamburg, Germany, and Budapest, Hungary. The IOC will select the host city in 2017.

Rome hasn’t launched a website yet — although that’s in the works.

Having witnessed Boston’s withdrawal from the race after a public backlash, Rome is being extra careful.

“I prefer to announce when things are confirmed,” Montezemolo said. “It’s very easy to say we will do soccer in the Colosseum and maybe swimming in the Tiber. But that is not realistic.”

MORE 2024 OLYMPICS: A look at the five cities bidding for 2024

Shaun White starts prep for snowboarding season

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So far, Shaun White‘s plan is to compete at the next Winter X Games.

“But I’m still waiting to lock in my season plans,” the two-time Olympic halfpipe champion said in a Q&A on the Seattle Times website on Wednesday.

White, 29, said he would go to New Zealand next month to “start putting some new tricks into my run” but did not specify which tricks. The X Games are Jan. 28-31 in Aspen, Colo.

White’s only competition since finishing fourth in the Sochi Olympic halfpipe was last January’s Winter X Games, where he also placed fourth.

It marked his first halfpipe defeat at the X Games since 2007.

“His career is far from over, athletically,” White’s longtime coach, Bud Keene, told The Associated Press before White finished fourth behind winner Danny Davis on Jan. 22. “He’s still, hands down, the best halfpipe rider in the world, and not by a small margin.”

White has spent more time touring with his band, Bad Things, than competing since the Sochi Olympics but has said (and continued to say Wednesday) that he hopes to be at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, which would be his fourth Winter Games.

White was the oldest U.S. Olympic men’s halfpipe snowboarder at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics and, in 2018, would be older than any previous U.S. Olympic men’s halfpipe snowboarder. The sport debuted at the Olympics in 1998.

MORE SNOWBOARDING: Fenway Park to host big air event (renderings)

Taylor Phinney top U.S. finisher in World Championships time trial

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Two-time Olympian Taylor Phinney returned from a career-threatening May 2014 crash to finish as the top American in the World Road Cycling Championships time trial, placing 12th overall in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday.

Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus won in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 29.45 seconds, with Phinney riding the 33-mile course slower by 1 minute, 36.99 seconds. Full results are here.

Phinney, who finished fourth in the 2012 Olympic road race and time trial, competed after missing the 2014 World Championships due to crashing and shattering his left leg at the May 2014 U.S. Championships. In his comeback, Phinney also competed at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge earlier this year.

On Wednesday, Kiryienka claimed the biggest race win of his career, by nine seconds over Italian Adriano Malori.

German Tony Martin, a three-time World time trial champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist, was seventh after breaking his collarbone while wearing the yellow jersey at the Tour de France in July.

The 2012 Olympic and 2014 World champion Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain is not competing in Richmond as he focuses on track cycling in a bid to make his fifth Olympic team.

The World Road Cycling Championships finish this weekend with the women’s and men’s road races. Here’s the full broadcast schedule.

MORE CYCLING: Kristin Armstrong just misses podium, Olympic spot in Worlds return