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USOC evaluating 35 cities for potential 2024 bid

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The USOC sent letters to 35 mayors Tuesday in order to gauge interest and begin the process of hosting its first Olympics since 2002.

“Our objective in this process is to identify a partner city that can work with us to present a compelling bid to the IOC and that has the right alignment of political, business and community leadership,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in the letter.

“This letter does not guarantee that the USOC will bid for the 2024 Games, but rather is an initial step in evaluating a potential bid.”

The letter detailed the necessary requirements for hosting the Games, including 45,000 hotel rooms, an international airport, public transit, and workforce of more than 200,000 people.

The cities that have already expressed interest include Dallas, Tulsa, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles, which hosted in 1932 and 1984. My vote still goes to Phoenix.

Paris is seen as a favorite to host its third Olympics, but first in a century. Rome, Dubai, Doha, and Durban, South Africa are also strong contenders to host. The final vote won’t take place until 2017.

The USOC failed to secure bids for New York in 2012 and Chicago in 2016, which was blamed on disagreements regarding revenue sharing between the IOC and USOC. Those disagreements have since been patched up through negotiations.

Here’s a full list of the 35 cities that recieved the letter:

Phoenix, Arizona
Los Angeles, California
Sacramento, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
San Jose, California
Denver, Colorado
Washington, D.C.
Jacksonville, Florida
Miami, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Atlanta, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Indianapolis, Indiana
Baltimore, Maryland
Boston, Massachusetts
Detroit, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
St. Louis, Missouri
Las Vegas, Nevada
New York, New York
Rochester, New York
Charlotte, North Carolina
Columbus, Ohio
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Portland, Oregon
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Memphis, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Houston, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Seattle, Washington

Russia to finish Youth Olympics with most medals

AP
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Russia clinched the top spot in the Youth Olympic medal standings, two days before the Closing Ceremony in Buenos Aires and eight months after it was excluded from the PyeongChang Winter Games for its doping problems.

The Russians have 52 medals with 25 golds so far, distancing the rest of the world.

1. Russia — 52 total, 25 gold
2. China — 36 total, 18 gold
3. Mixed NOCs — 36 total, 12 gold
4. Japan — 34 total, 14 gold
5. Italy — 31 total, 10 gold
10. U.S. — 15 total, 4 gold

China and Russia went one-two in total medals at the first two Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010 and Nanjing, China in 2014. The U.S. has never topped a Youth Olympic total medal table, be it Summer or Winter Games.

The U.S. has, however, earned the most total medals at the last six Summer Olympics, beginning with the 1996 Atlanta Games.

The Youth Olympics, for athletes ages 14 to 18, do not emphasize medal counts (plus have many medal events where athletes from different nations compete on the same team). The Games include many Olympic events and some that are not on the Olympic program, including break dancing, where a Russian who goes by Bumblebee earned gold last week.

The next Youth Olympics are the winter version in the IOC base of Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2020, followed by the summer version in 2022 in Dakar, Senegal, the first Olympic Games of any kind to be held in Africa.

The Youth Olympics conclude with the last full day of medal competition on Wednesday and the Closing Ceremony on Thursday.

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MORE: Youth Olympic TV schedule

Aliya Mustafina returns to gymnastics worlds, year after giving birth

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Aliya Mustafina, an all-around medalist at the last two Olympics, made Russia’s team for next week’s world gymnastics championships, 16 months after giving birth to daughter Alisa.

Mustafina, 24, is joined by one Rio Olympic teammate, Angelina Melnikova, and three world championships rookies (plus Olympian Daria Spiridonova as an alternate), according to Russia’s gymnastics federation.

Mustafina is the last non-American woman to win an Olympic or world championships all-around, back in 2010 in her first year as a senior gymnast. A series of injuries followed, including surgeries on both knees and her left ankle.

She missed the 2015 Worlds with back pain but rebounded for a medal of every color in Rio (uneven bars gold, team silver and all-around bronze, just as she had done at London 2012).

Her seven total Olympic medals are tied for the most by a Russian woman since the fall of the Soviet Union with retired gymnast Svetlana Khorkina.

Viktoria Komova, the 2012 Olympic all-around silver medalist who has also struggled with injuries, is not on Russia’s team for worlds in Doha. She last competed at a global championship in 2015, sharing the uneven bars title with three other gymnasts.

Mustafina joins a list of distinguished moms to return to the top level of gymnastics, including Oksana Chusovitina, who began competing in the Soviet Union in the 1980s and, seven Olympics later, is still competing at age 43 (for Uzbekistan).

The most decorated Olympic gymnast, Soviet Larisa Latynina, earned 12 of her 18 medals after becoming a mom.

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