Potential 2020 Olympics hosts make their pitches


All three cities vying to host the 2020 Summer Olympics – Tokyo, Madrid, and Istanbul – made pitches to international sports officials Thursday at the SportAccord conference in St. Petersburg.

And with each nation returning as a bidder after failing during the last few Olympics cycles, the cities were quick to promote strengths while explaining how they’ve overcome weaknesses that kept them from hosting in the past.

Spanish Secretary of State for Trade Jaime Garcia-Legaz was on hand for Madrid’s bid to help downplay the country’s economic concerns and explain how their steady growth over the next five years, coupled with the low price tag for their Olympics, makes them an ideal 2020 host.

“The fundamentals of the Spanish economy are strong and deep.” Garcia-Legaz said.

Turkey promoted itself as a once emerging nation that has finally emerged, and that can bridge the gap between European and Asian continents, literally and figuratively, with the Bosphorus Bridge.

“We have a city that bridges light and shade, old and new, east and west,” Sports and Youth Minister Suat Kilic said. “Istanbul shines like a diamond. Turkey has totally transformed since our last bid. We are ready to step onto the global stage and welcome the world as we have for millennia but now, to a new Turkey.”

Meanwhile, Tokyo defended itself as the safe option for the 2020 Games, while also continuing to promote themselves that way with a low price tag due to the fact that many venues are already built.

“I understand that many people are saying that our bid is the ‘safe’ option in this campaign,” Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose said. “What I don’t understand is why some people seem to think that this could be a bad thing… our finances offer the strongest foundations to host the games.”

Tokyo has set their budget for the Games at $4.5 billion, compared to the relatively low $1.9 billion for Madrid, and the astronomical $19 billion for Istanbul, which will be focused on the transportation infrastructure of the city. The IOC evaluation commission will send out a report regarding the three bids on June 25, and then the cities will make pitches to IOC members on July 3 at the headquarter in Lausanne before the final vote this September in Buenos Aires.

Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship

The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”


Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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