Toronto mayor says Olympic bid possible

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Canadian officials plan to decide whether to move forward with a Toronto Olympic bid after the Pan American and Parapan American Games finish Aug. 15, Toronto mayor John Tory said Wednesday.

“We obviously discussed this morning the success of the Pan Am Games … and that leads to the question not just with respect to the Olympics but there’s a whole host [of events],” Tory said in a Wednesday morning news conference with Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne. “There’s a whole variety of international events and sporting competitions that we’re now in a position to host, which I think is good for Toronto, good for Ontario and good for Canada, and the Olympics is one of those, obviously, about which there’s great discussion, but the time to make any decision with respect to whether to move forward with that is after these Games are successfully completed, and we have another set of Games that are very important, the Parapan, to carry out, and then to sit down and talk about these things together and decide what’s best in terms of what to go forward with, whether it’s an Olympic bid or a host of other things.

“I guess everything’s on the table until you take it off the table.”

The deadline to submit a bid for the 2024 Olympics is Sept. 15. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Toronto “could be a good candidate,” in a recent CBC interview.

The Toronto city council voted to investigate a 2024 Olympic bid in June 2012, but a city committee voted against bidding on Jan. 20, 2014.

Boston, Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome are the cities that have announced 2024 bids so far.

In 2013, a leading Canadian Olympic official reportedly said a Toronto bid would have a better chance in 2028 than 2024, given the Summer Olympics are in South America in 2016 (Rio de Janeiro) and Asia in 2020 (Tokyo).

“The way IOC does it, the Games go to Europe, the Americas and then somewhere else,” Paul Henderson, former IOC member and the Toronto 1996 Olympic bid chief, told the Toronto Sun. “And what most people don’t realize is that the IOC considers North and South America the same continent. Now there are always funny things once in a while that change that, but normally that’s the thought process.”

If a European city doesn’t win the 2024 Olympics, it will mark the longest stretch between hosting Summer Games for the continent ever, if Moscow 1980 is counted as a European Games.

Toronto came in second place in 2008 bidding, losing to Beijing, and third place in 1996, losing to Atlanta.

The Canadian Olympic Committee began looking into a possible Toronto bid in the 2020s in 2007.

Canada’s largest city could look to follow in the footsteps of Rio de Janeiro, which hosted the 2007 Pan American Games and won the bidding for the 2016 Olympics two years later.

Rio, though, was named as an applicant city 10 months before it hosted the Pan Am Games.

The 2024 Olympic host city will be chosen in an IOC members vote in 2017.

“[The Pan Am Games] could be a stepping stone to the Olympic Games,” then-IOC president Jacques Rogge told CBC in May 2012. “We’ve seen it with Rio, who organized the Pan American Games before being awarded the Olympic Games. I think that’s the same example. To stage well, a big event, that’s important because the Pan American Games is a big event. To stage it well would give a brand to Toronto that they are ready for other organizations.”

2024 Olympic news

Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin
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Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to SkatingScores.com, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

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Lara Gut-Behrami wins Killington giant slalom, and the overall title race may be on

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Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami rallied from third place after the first run for her 35th career World Cup victory, taking a giant slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Saturday.

Gut-Behrami, 31, earned her fifth World Cup giant slalom win and first in six years. She prevailed by .07 of a second over Italian Marta Bassino combining times from two windy runs. Sweden’s Sara Hector, the Olympic champion and first-run leader, ended up third.

“Last two years I’ve been getting better in GS again,” said Gut-Behrami, who won the GS at the last world championships in 2021. “Last year I was struggling with my health. I was all the time sick.”

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Gut-Behrami’s best events are downhill and super-G, so a strong start to the season in GS could put her on a path to winning the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. She previously lifted that crystal globe in 2016.

Reigning World Cup overall champ Mikaela Shiffrin, who previously placed second, third, fourth and fifth in Killington giant slaloms, finished 13th after winning the season’s first two races, slaloms in Finland last week. It marked her lowest World Cup GS finish since December 2019.

“[Finland] was a spectacular weekend,” Shiffrin, who has not had much recent GS training, said after her 10th-place opening run Saturday. “Every race is a different story.”

Shiffrin won all five World Cup slaloms in Killington dating to 2016 and will go for her 50th career World Cup slalom victory across all venues on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC and Peacock).

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