Canada sprint sensation Andre De Grasse believes he can compete with Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin

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If anybody can spoil the Usain BoltJustin Gatlin showdown at the World Championships in August, it may be a Canadian who was 9 years old when Bolt and Gatlin debuted at the Olympics.

“I feel like I can be competitive with these guys,” Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse said in a media teleconference Thursday, according to the Canadian Press. “I’ve just got to put my mind to it and feel confident that I can go out there and beat these guys. I can’t be afraid of them just because they are gold medalists. I have to go out there and try to make a name for myself as well.”

De Grasse, 20, completed what NBC Olympics analyst Ato Boldon called the best sprint double in history at the NCAA Championships last Friday.

In Eugene, Ore., the USC junior won the 100m in 9.75 seconds (video here) and, 45 minutes later, won the 200m in 19.58 seconds (video here).

“My phone is still blowing up,” De Grasse said six days later of the reaction.

The times do not count for records because De Grasse benefitted from tailwinds of 2.7 and 2.4 meters/second, above the legal maximum 2.0 meters/second.

In the 100m, only Usain Bolt, Tyson GayYohan BlakeAsafa Powell and Justin Gatlin have run faster in legal wind conditions.

In the 200m, only Bolt, Blake, Michael Johnson and Walter Dix have been faster in legal conditions.

De Grasse’s personal bests in legal conditions are 9.97, making him the No. 3 Canadian all time behind 1996 Olympic champion Donovan Bailey and 1995 and 1999 World silver medalist Bruny Surin, and 20.03, a Canadian record.

He’s cut .18 off of his 100m personal best this year and .35 off his 200m personal best. This for a Markham, Ontario, native who reportedly didn’t start sprinting until May 2012.

De Grasse plans to run at the Canadian Championships in Edmonton the first weekend of July, then the 100m and 200m at the Pan American Games in Toronto later next month and the 100m (but not the 200m) at the World Championships in Beijing in late August.

De Grasse hasn’t turned professional yet, leaving open the possibility to return to USC for his senior track season. He’s been offered a seven-figure shoe deal, according to the Canadian Press.

At Worlds, De Grasse may be the biggest threat to Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion and fastest man in 2014 (9.77) and 2015 (9.74), and Bolt, whose 2009 world record is 9.58. Gatlin is 13 years older than De Grasse. Bolt is eight years older.

The other fastest men this year — Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay — are 32 years old.

Yohan Blake is running scared, coach says

2026 Winter Olympic host: Milan-Cortina

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Italy will host the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, with Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo winning an IOC vote over a Swedish-Latvian bid centered on Stockholm.

Milan-Cortina won with 47 votes to Stockholm–Åre’s 34 to become the first Olympics with multiple official host cities.

Italy boasted its public support (83 percent in a March IOC poll versus 55 percent in Sweden) and financial guarantees (Stockholm officials declined to sign the IOC’s host-city contract, leaving it to the smaller ski resort of Åre).

“I cannot look into the heads of my colleagues, but gathering a little bit the atmosphere when leaving the room, my assumption is that what was key and what finally made the difference was the gap in the public support,” said IOC President Thomas Bach, who was not among the voters. “This was, for many members, a clear signal. Public support offers goes hand in hand with political support. This was maybe also the reason then why the city of Stockholm was not ready to sign the host-city contract.”

The Games return to a traditional European site for the first time since Italy hosted in Torino in 2006 after Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014), PyeongChang (2018) and Beijing (2022).

The two bids were left after five others dropped out for various reasons, all in 2018: Calgary, Canada; Erzurum, Turkey; Sapporo, Japan; Graz, Austria and Sion, Switzerland.

With the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games hosts both decided two years ago (Paris for 2024, Los Angeles for 2028), next up is the 2030 Winter Games. The U.S. has already said that if it bids, it will be with Salt Lake City, which held the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Italy will host the Winter Games for a third time after Cortina d’Ampezzo in 1956 and Torino in 2006.

Its bid presentation Monday included all three Italian 2018 Olympic champions speaking — Arianna Fontana (short track), Michela Moioli (snowboard cross) and Sofia Goggia (downhill). The presentation ended with 15-year-old short track speed skater Elisa Confortola addressing more than 80 IOC members.

Italy’s initial bid declaration in March 2018 was for a joint Milan-Torino candidate. Cortina was added within a week to make it a three-pronged bid. By September, Torino dropped out after political infighting, when a senior Italian official declared the bid “dead.” But the bid pressed on as Milan-Cortina, sites separated by more than 200 miles.

Sweden has finished second or third in all seven of its Winter Olympic bid votes, including six straight from 1984 through 2002, according to the OlyMADMen. Stockholm–Åre was trying to become the first Winter Games held in multiple countries, with Latvia holding bobsled, luge and skeleton. Sweden remains the nation with the most Winter Olympic gold medals yet to host a Winter Games.

“Our hope and expectation has been that the IOC would be ready to move from words to action and have confidence in Sweden’s ability to deliver the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games based on our proposal and vision,” Stockholm–Åre said in a press release. “We neither want, nor can present, a concept that involves major government grants and guarantees – or change the legislation – for a sports competition.”

The IOC praised how both bids fit with Agenda 2020 with 80 percent of the venues already existing or temporary and organizational budgets 20 percent lower than 2018 and 2022 cities.

More on the Milan-Cortina bid:

Proposed Dates: Feb. 6-22 (Olympics), March 6-15 (Paralympics)

Venues
Milan
 — Figure skating, hockey, short track
Cortina d’Ampezzo (220 miles northeast of Milan) — Alpine skiing (women), bobsled, luge, skeleton, curling, biathlon (Antholz)
Val di Fiemme (160 miles northeast of Milan) — Cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined, speed skating (outdoors)
Valtellina (85 miles northeast of Milan) — Alpine skiing (men, Bormio), freestyle skiing, snowboarding

Ceremonies
Opening Ceremony — San Siro (home of AC Milan and Inter Milan)
Closing Ceremony — Verona Arena (Roman amphitheatre 90 miles east of Milan)

Slogan
“Dreaming Together”

IOC Evaluation Group Report
“Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo combine the advantages of a big European city and those of a popular mountain resort region in the Italian Alps. The candidature benefits from the region’s strong winter sports history, tradition and experience, as well as the Italians’ love and passion for sport. The project can also leverage the economic strength and prosperity of the northern Italian region. While planning is still at an early stage, the project has the potential to achieve the long-term goals of the cities and the region in line with Olympic Agenda 2020/New Norm.”

MORE: Tokyo 2020 Olympic master schedule

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Japan’s gymnastics worlds team: no Kohei Uchimura, Kenzo Shirai

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Not only is Kohei Uchimura going to miss the world championships, but so is 11-time world medalist Kenzo Shirai.

Japan finalized its five-man team for October’s worlds in Stuttgart, Germany, following a national-level meet this past weekend. Uchimura, arguably the greatest gymnast in history, was already out of the running, sidelined with his latest round of injuries.

Shirai, reportedly slowed by a left ankle injury this season, did compete this weekend. But he finished fifth on floor exercise and third on vault, his two best events, and did not earn one of the last two spots on the world team.

Uchimura, a two-time Olympic all-around champion with six world all-around titles, misses worlds for the first time since 2007. Shirai, a 22-year-old with four world titles between floor and vault, had competed in every worlds since debuting in 2013, just after his 17th birthday.

Without their two stars, Japan sends a relatively inexperienced team. Kazuma Kaya and Wataru Tanigawa, both 22, are the only men who have been to a worlds (and were part of the 2018 silver-medal team). The youngest member is 17-year-old Daiki Hashimoto.

Japan has earned a team medal at every Olympics and world championships since 2003, a streak bettered only by the U.S. women.

MORE: Olympic gymnastics team sizes return to five for Paris 2024

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