Toronto does not bid for 2024 Olympics

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Toronto will not bid for the 2024 Olympics, leaving Los Angeles and four European cities to vie to be chosen as the Summer Games host by International Olympic Committee members in 2017.

“I can’t look people in the eye at this point in our city’s development and tell them that an Olympic bid is the best use of our time, our energy, or our investment,” Toronto mayor John Tory said in a news conference Tuesday, the deadline for bid submissions.

Los Angeles and Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome are the bidders.

It’s the first time since 1984 that no cities outside of the U.S. and Europe bid for a Summer Olympics.

Toronto officials discussed joining the 2024 Olympic bid race this summer, after Canada’s most populous city concluded hosting the Pan American Games on July 26, and as far back as three years ago.

“Toronto can be an Olympic city; we are already a world class city,” Tory said Tuesday. “I have no doubt, the Olympic Games is a significant opportunity that would put the eyes of the world on Toronto. I love this city, and I want nothing more than to show the world our spirit, our people, our strength and our values.

“And I believe that one day, Toronto will be a great venue for the Olympic Games. But not in 2024.”

“I am not saying no to the Olympics. I am saying “not this time.”

Canada’s Postmedia News agency reported Monday that Calgary and Quebec City may be 2026 Winter Olympic bid candidates. The U.S., which has not bid for a Winter Games since it hosted in Salt Lake City in 2002, is not expected to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics as its focus is on Los Angeles 2024.

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.

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 failed 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 (CBC video report of that defeat here), 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.

The Ontario capital could have tried to follow in the path of Rio de Janeiro, which hosted the 2007 Pan American Games and won the bidding for the 2016 Olympics two years later.

Canada hosted the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, the Calgary 1988 Winter Games and the Montreal 1976 Summer Games.

MORE: 2024 Olympic bidding coverage

Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”