Boston officials “imagine” Olympics at committee meeting

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Boston’s Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development heard testimony Tuesday from citizens and officials advocating for New England to throw its proverbial hat in the ring as they consider hosting the Games in 2024.

“While security is, and will always be, a major concern in any Olympics, our first responders have proven to be more than up to the task. Our Boston police, fire and EMS have proven to be the most dedicated and prepared in the world,” Boston City Councilor Matthew O’Malley said Tuesday.

“Imagine soccer matches in Foxboro, basketball in Springfield, sailing in Newport, rowing along the Charles, tennis in Lowell, beach volleyball at the National Seashore and running the Olympic Marathon down our route, which begins in Hopkinton and ends on Boylston Street.”

It seems like the idea that was originally called “far-fetched” by mayor Tommy Menino a couple months ago is gaining steam, much to the delight of the Boston Olympic Exploratory group that has spent nearly a year working toward their dream of bringing the world to Boston.

Now the committee is expected to vote on State Senator Eileen Donoghue’s bill, which aims to commission a nine-member team to study the logistics of Boston hosting an Olympics, including examining the infrastructure, transportation, hospitality, venue locations, budgets, and more. If the bill passes commmittee, it will then move on to a vote in the Massachusetts House and Senate.

“It is important to hold this hearing today to discuss the Olympics,” Donoghue said. “And how we can show the world how extraordinary our city, our commonwealth and our people are.”

Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

Sifan Hassan
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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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