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.”

Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future

Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future