Anchorage exploring 2026 Olympics bid

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A 23-member exploratory committee met in Anchorage, Alaska Tuesday to discuss the logistics of hosting the 2026 Winter Games and debate whether the city would be willing and able to put in a bid with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

“We still feel, in fact more confidently than ever, that Anchorage has the capability, the facilities and, most of all, the spirit and the willingness to be the host city,” Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan said.

“When you host these kinds of national events, it really just increases our resume, our capacity to put in this bid for the 2026 Olympics.”

But the biggest question on the table was, as always, how do you pay for the venues and other city improvements, and what do you do with them when the Games are over? Alaska has been struggling through the same economic issues as most other cities, and Olympic officials would need to build a new just-about-everything to accommodate the thousands of international spectators flooding to the city.

Sullivan suggests that the costs could ideally be covered by TV revenues, merchandising, and private contributions from corporations, and that spearheading a bid this early could help to alleviate the pressure.

Beyond those all important questions, Sullivan believes his city is otherwise well-equipped, with enough lodging and accommodations already, and the perfect location for prime-time TV audiences worldwide. Now he intends to spend the next eight months detailing everything from finances to venues and transportation so they have a clear plan to present to the USOC when initial bidding starts in 2015.

“I think we’re back on the right track,” he explained. “And you’re talking about Games in 2026, so it’s 13 years from now. You’d like to think we’ll be even better positioned than we are today.”

Anchorage has actually been a finalist to host the Olympics twice, finishing sixth in voting for the 1992 Games that went to Albertville, France, and third for the 1994 Games that ended up in Lillehammer, Norway.

Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi’s USA Basketball career isn’t done just yet.

The five-time Olympic gold medalist will take part in a national team training camp in Minnesota next month. Taurasi told The Associated Press last summer that she would consider playing with USA Basketball if she was healthy enough. She injured her quad shortly after and didn’t participate in the FIBA World Cup that the Americans won in Australia.

While Taurasi will be at the camp, Brittney Griner won’t. She is still part of the pool that the 2024 Olympic team will be chosen from, but Griner hasn’t been out in public much since a prisoner swap in December brought her home from Russia after a 10-month ordeal that captivated world attention. Griner said she plans on playing in the WNBA this year.

Taurasi is a free agent right now, but is expected to return to the Phoenix Mercury — the only team she’s played for in her WNBA career. She turns 41 in June and would be 42 at the time of the Paris Olympics in 2024. The WNBA’s all-time leading scorer and her good friend Sue Bird hold the record with five Olympic gold medals. The pair helped the U.S. win a seventh consecutive gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Bird retired from playing at the end of last season.

Other players expected at the training camp that will run from Feb. 7-9 include former Olympic or World Cup gold medalists: Ariel Atkins and Elena Delle Donne of Washington; Napheesa Collier of Minnesota; Allisha Gray of Dallas; Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney of New York; Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young of Las Vegas; Kahleah Copper of Chicago and free agent Angel McCoughtry.

Natasha Howard, Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale of Dallas will also be at the camp as well as Phoenix’s Brianna Turner.

National team head coach Cheryl Reeve will run the three-day camp with Curt Miller of Los Angeles, Mike Thibault of Washington and James Wade of Chicago helping out.

Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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