austria

Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Simone Biles win ESPYs

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Michael PhelpsUsain Bolt and Simone Biles earned ESPY awards on Wednesday for their Rio Olympic triumphs.

Phelps earned best record-breaking performance for extending his records for most Olympic medals (28) and gold medals (23).

“Today is my wife’s birthday, and we met here 10 years ago,” said Phelps, who was also named the best male U.S. Olympic athlete. “It’s the most amazing thing in the world.”

Bolt won best international athlete for a third time. He also did so in 2013 and 2017, one year after sweeping the Olympic 100m and 200m as he did in Rio.

Biles took best female U.S. Olympic athlete and best female athlete over nominees including Katie Ledecky.

“Ever since Rio, it has been an amazing year, and the best part of all has been meeting all of the young people who look up to all the athletes in this room,” Biles said in her acceptance speech. “It is an incredible honor and responsibility of being a role model.”

Snowboarding stars Mark McMorris and Anna Gasser won best action sports athlete awards.

A full list of winners is here.

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Austria looks into multi-country 2026 Winter Olympic bid

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A feasibility study has suggested Innsbruck could host the 2026 Winter Olympics on a budget of 1.175 billion euros ($1.3 billion), but the Austrian city will need the approval of its residents before deciding on a bid.

“If we stick to the strategy from the feasibility study, it could become doable and affordable games,” Innsbruck Mayor Christine Oppitz-Ploerer said Wednesday during a presentation of the 137-page report detailing financial, infrastructural and economic aspects of a potential candidacy.

The study said different sports could be spread over existing venues in the Tyrol region and in southern Germany, like biathlon in Hochfilzen, Nordic combined in Seefeld, and speedskating in Inzell, Germany. It would prevent Innsbruck from having to build new permanent infrastructure.

Also, the concept refrains from building a central Olympic Village as athletes would be located close to their respective venues.

The dispersion of events is possible under Agenda 2020, the IOC’s reform program that allows more flexibility in hosting the games, including the possibility of using venues in other cities, and even in neighboring countries.

Tyrol governor Guenther Platter said the study provided “a good chance” for Innsbruck to go ahead. Platter added he was planning to start an information campaign ahead of a referendum among the province’s residents, which will be held parallel to the Austrian parliamentary elections on Oct. 15.

In 2013, the last time Austrian citizens were asked about out hosting Olympics, Vienna had to drop plans to bid for the 2028 Summer Games after more than 70 percent of its residents rejected the idea.

Innsbruck hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976, the only Olympics ever held in Austria. No city has hosted the Winter Olympics three times.

Austria bid for the 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics but never finished higher than third in International Olympic Committee member voting.

The next two Winter Olympics are in East Asia, which could boost the chances of a 2026 European bid, though Paris is likely to host the 2024 or 2028 Summer Olympics.

The lone confirmemd 2026 Winter Olympic bid so far is from Sion, Switzerland. Canada, Japan and Sweden have had various levels of exploration.

The 2026 Winter Olympic host city is expected to be chosen by an IOC members vote in 2019.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Elisabeth Goergl, world champion Alpine skier, retires with age record

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VIENNA (AP) — Austrian skier Elisabeth Goergl retired Monday, 2½ years after becoming the oldest woman to win a World Cup race.

A two-time world champion and two-time Olympic bronze medalist, the 36-year-old Goergl said she lacked motivation to prepare for the Olympic season.

“Many fans have asked me to continue for another year but I want to develop in another direction,” she said. “If I had still felt a spark, I would not have retired now.”

Goergl has started an education to become a ski coach, and she has just released a CD with her own songs.

Her career highlight came in 2011, when the Austrian upset favorites Lindsey Vonn and Maria Hoefl-Riesch twice to win the downhill and super-G gold medals at the worlds in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

“That was my biggest and nicest achievement, for sure,” said Goergl, who had performed the song “You’re a Hero” live on stage during the opening ceremony of the worlds.

“To win the super-G the following day was very special. And winning the downhill was the icing on the cake. Double world champion sounded great.”

During 17 seasons, Goergl won five medals at major championships and competed in 378 World Cup races, winning seven of them. She was 33 years, 301 days when she last won a race, a super-G in Val d’Isere, France, in December 2014.

Goergl is also the oldest winner of a downhill. She was 32 years, 11 months when she triumphed in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee in January 2014. However, she will lose that record to Vonn if the American wins a downhill next season.

Her announcement Monday was no surprise. In January, after failing to make the Austrian team for the world championships in St. Moritz, she said she would consider retirement, even with an Olympic season coming up.

“I have taken a lot of time to think about it,” said Goergl, who won the overall title of the lower-tier Europa Cup in 2003. “Since I was 10, I have been chasing my goal to become a ski racer with huge passion. I never gave up and I always found new motivation.”

Goergl stems from a ski-mad family. Her mother, Traudi Hecher, won Olympic downhill bronze in 1960 and ’64. And her older brother, Stephan Goergl, competed on the men’s World Cup from 2001-12.

“The Goergl family has contributed massively to the ski sports in Austria,” said Hans Pum, sports director of the Austrian ski federation.

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