Boston 2024

USOC eyes majority support for Boston 2024 ‘relatively soon’

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U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst said the organization would like to see local support for the Boston 2024 Olympic bid clear 50 percent “relatively soon,” while praising “a tremendous amount of progress” by bid organizers in recent weeks.

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said officials have and will continue to conduct regular polling but would not share specific numbers. Probst said support is in the low- to mid-40 percent range, similar to numbers from recent polls by Boston media.

“Rather than specific numbers, we obviously want to see a positive trend, and the sooner the better,” Probst said after a quarterly USOC board of directors’ meeting in California on Tuesday. “Obviously, we’d like to see it get over 50 percent relatively soon and ultimately get into the mid-60s range, certainly before the vote of the [International Olympic Committee] in 2017 [to choose the 2024 Olympic host city].

“Obviously none of us are happy with the current numbers in Boston, but it’s a process, and it’s going to play out over the next 2 1/2 years.”

Boston was announced by the USOC as its 2024 Olympic bid city on Jan. 8, beating out Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Blackmun said there haven’t been conversations with any of the other three cities.

“If at any point we sit down and decide, you know what, this thing just isn’t on track, I’m sure that’s something that’ll be a mutual decision, not something that’s forced on,” Blackmun said. “We’re not discussing right now the possibility of not submitting a bid. What we’re talking about is how do we increase the level of public support in Boston. How do we get the people of Boston to take a fair and hard look at this proposal and try to determine, is it in Boston’s best interests? That’s what we’re focused on.”

Boston officials announced March 24 that the bid would not move forward if a majority of voters in Boston and in Massachusetts did not support it in a referendum planned for November 2016.

“Obviously that’s a weakness of the bid right now,” Blackmun said of support numbers. “We want to make sure we turn that into a strength if we can.”

Boston 2024 announced changes to the original bid plan in recent weeks, including a “version 2.0” released Monday.

“It’s a plan that we think still very much resonates with the vision that persuaded our board to pick Boston in January,” Blackmun said. “Suffice it to say our board was very impressed with the quality of the thought, on the incredible diligence that went into creating the plan, and we’re grateful for the unbelievably hard work and commitment that’s gone into this over the last couple of months.”

USOC officials said another meeting with Boston 2024 officials is planned for mid-July.

2024 Olympic bid coverage

Former ski jumper closer to Tour de France podium

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Slovenian Primoz Roglic, a former ski jumper, finished ahead of Tour de France leader Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome in Saturday’s Stage 14, moving eight seconds closer to a possible podium in Paris in eight days.

Nearly 20 minutes after Spain’s Omar Fraile won the stage, Roglic finished eight seconds ahead of Thomas, Froome and Tom Dumoulin, the top three in the Tour standings.

Roglic went from 2:46 behind Thomas to 2:38 behind and moved to 48 seconds behind Dumoulin for third. The 28-year-old Roglic won a junior world title in ski jumping in the team event in 2007 before switching to cycling.

Roglic won a stage in his Tour debut in 2017 and finished 38th overall, then took time trial silver at the world championships.

This season, Roglic won the Tour de Romandie and the Tour of the Basque Country. Now, he’s eyeing Slovenia’s best overall finish in Tour history. Right now, that distinction is shared by Tadej Valjavec and Jani Brajkovic, who were ninth in 2008 and 2012.

The Tour continues Sunday with stage 15, featuring a category-one climb but a descent to the finish, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold (full broadcast schedule here).

While the Welshman Thomas is attempting to win the Tour for the first time, the Kenyan-born Froome is aiming for a record-tying fifth victory in cycling’s biggest race.

Stage 15 from Millau to Carcassonne is another hilly leg before the race’s second rest day on Monday. Then come the Pyrenees and a possibly decisive individual time trial in the penultimate stage before the traditional finish in Paris next weekend.

“We have a plan for the first mountain stage,” Thomas said. “If we go against each other and Dumoulin wins then we would look really stupid. It is the first time I have raced for three weeks as a GC (general classification) leader, so it is an unknown for me.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Paul Chelimo grab defining wins at London Diamond League

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce had not raced in the Diamond League in two years. Paul Chelimo had never won at an international meet.

Both grabbed wins at the first day of a Diamond League stop at the London Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

Fraser-Pryce, the two-time Olympic 100m champion who missed 2017 due to pregnancy, broke 11 seconds for the first time as a mother. She won in 10.98 seconds, edging American Dezerea Bryant by .06.

“I cannot complain because I haven’t raced for ages and I’m happy that the run today was under 11 seconds,” said Fraser-Pryce, who has raced in smaller meets this spring and summer. “It’s hard work racing after having a child, but it’s not as though it’s anything I’m not used to. I’m used to sacrificing and making sure that my path is right. Being a mother is my first priority and to come back and be flexible with my training is wonderful and I’m so excited about next year now.”

The field lacked the world’s top sprinters — like Rio gold medalist Elaine Thompson and world champ Tori Bowie — but the Jamaican Fraser-Pryce impressed with the fastest time in the heats an hour before the final.

In the men’s 100m, meet headliner Christian Coleman withdrew before the heats with a hamstring injury. Coleman, the 2017 World silver medalist, missed all June meets with a hamstring injury. Countryman Ronnie Baker won in 9.90 in his absence, .02 off the fastest time in the world this season that he shares with Noah Lyles.

Full London results are here. The two-day meet concludes Sunday, live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA at 9 a.m. ET and NBC Sports Gold at 8:45.

In other events, Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo became the second U.S. man to win a Diamond League 5000m. Chelimo surged past Ethiopian Yomif Kejelecha in the last straightaway for his first international win, according to Tilastopaja.org. He clocked 13:14.01 with world champion Muktar Edris of Ethiopia grabbing second in 13:14.35 ahead of Kejelcha.

The only other American man to win a Diamond League 5000m was Ben True in 2014.

The 2012 Olympic 400m champion Kirani James finished third in his first Diamond League race since his Rio Olympic silver medal. James, of Grenada, missed time after being diagnosed with Graves’ Disease.

James led up until about 300 meters and faded in the last straightaway as Qatar’s Abdalleleh Haroun won in 44.07. James crossed in 44.50, just off his 2018 best time of 44.35 that ranks him 10th in the world this season.

In the pole vault, Sam Kendricks outdueled Renaud Lavillenie, clearing 5.92 meters to better the Frenchman for a 12th time in their last 15 head-to-heads, according to Tilastopaja.

U.S. champion Shamier Little outleaned Jamaican Janieve Russell to win the 400m hurdles by .01 in 53.95. Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad was third in 54.86.

“I put my soul into that lean,” Little said, according to meet organizers.

Little, the 2015 World silver medalist, has been best in the event in the second half of the season, following her June national title with two straight Diamond League wins. The fastest woman this year is American Sydney McLaughlin (52.75), who appears to have ended her season at the NCAA Championships in early June.

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