USOC has ‘100 percent’ confidence in Boston 2024

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U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said the “first and foremost” priority for Boston’s 2024 Olympic bid is to “assure the people of Boston that this is a fiscally responsible bid.”

“I have 100 percent confidence that Boston 2024 will be able to do that,” Blackmun said Friday, after Boston bid leaders gave a progress report to the USOC in Washington, D.C.

Blackmun referenced a Boston radio station February poll that resulted in 44 percent of Boston-area residents supporting the 2024 Olympic bid.

The pollster who conducted the survey of 505 Boston-area registered voters told the radio station that a drop in support (from 51 percent in January) had to do with concern over where money should best be spent given recent snowstorms causing public transit problems.

“Do we wish that the approval ratings were higher than 44 percent? Absolutely, we do,” Blackmun said. “But, candidly, it’s much more important that those numbers be high 2 1/2 years from now than it is that they be high now. We have plenty of time to allow this trajectory to unfold and complete confidence in Boston 2024’s ability to do that.”

The International Olympic Committee will vote in 2017 to pick the 2024 Olympic host city. Boston is going up against Rome, either Berlin or Hamburg and possibly Paris, among other cities.

“I think Boston is where they need to be right now,” Blackmun said. “I think they purposefully waited to socialize this plan fully with their community until they were named [as the U.S. bid city on Jan. 8].”

Boston 2024 launched a series of 20 community meetings across Massachusetts in 20 weeks, providing a forum for public input.

“I think the people who are asking questions are asking the right questions,” Blackmun said. “This is exactly the point of the process that we should be in.”

USOC leadership said it asked Boston’s bid group about those polling results and its communication strategy, along with a discussion of how well Boston’s plan fits with the International Olympic Committee’s vision for future Olympics.

Blackmun pointed to more than 60 percent of potential Boston Olympic venues being related to colleges and universities, so they could still be used after the Games, and the Boston plan being more walkable than a lot of recent Olympics.

“I think that after this process runs its course, the people in Boston will have confidence on the most important issue of all here, which is, can we do this without tapping into the resources of the city of Boston?” Blackmun said. “I think the answer to that question is going to be yes.”

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Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

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

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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