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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

Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s first Olympic track and field medalist, has coronavirus

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Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s lone Olympic track and field medalist, tested positive for the coronavirus, according to World Athletics and an Iranian news agency.

“We’ve received word from several Asian journalists that Iranian discus thrower Ehsan Hadadi has tested positive for coronavirus,” according to World Athletics. “[Hadadi] trains part of the year in the US, but was home in Tehran when he contracted the virus.”

Hadadi, 35, became the first Iranian to earn an Olympic track and field medal when he took silver in the discus at the 2012 London Games. Hadadi led through four of six rounds before being overtaken by German Robert Harting, who edged the Iranian by three and a half inches.

He was eliminated in qualifying at the Rio Olympics and placed seventh at last fall’s world championships in Doha.

Jordan Larson preps for her last Olympics, one year later than expected

Jordan Larson
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Whether the Tokyo Olympics would have been this summer or in 2021, Jordan Larson knew this: It will mark her final tournament with the U.S. volleyball team, should she make the roster.

“I’m just not getting any younger,” said Larson, a 33-year-old outside hitter. “I’ve been playing consistently overseas for 12 years straight with no real offseason.

“I also have other endeavors in my life that I want to see. Getting married, having children, those kinds of things. The older I get, the more challenging those become.”

Larson, who debuted on the national team in 2009, has been a leader the last two Olympic cycles. She succeeded Christa Harmotto Dietzen as captain after the Rio Games. Larson started every match at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

As long as Larson was in the building, the U.S. never had to worry about the outside hitter position, said two-time Olympian and NBC Olympics volleyball analyst Kevin Barnett.

“She played as if she belonged from the start,” he said. “They will miss her all-around capability. They’ll miss her ability to make everyone around her better. She’s almost like having a libero who can hit.”

Karch Kiraly, the Olympic indoor and beach champion who took over as head coach after the 2012 Olympics, gushed about her court vision.

“It’s a little dated now, but somebody like Wayne Gretzky just saw things that other people didn’t see on the hockey rink,” Kiraly said in 2018. “And I remember reading about him one time, and the quote from an opposing goalie was, oh my god, here he comes, what does he see that I don’t see right now? She sees things sooner than most people.”

Larson grew up in Hooper, Neb., (population 830) and starred at the University of Nebraska. She was a three-time All-American who helped the team win a national title as a sophomore. She had the opportunity to leave Nebraska and try out for the Olympics in 2008 but chose to remain at school for her final season.

She earned the nickname “Governor” as a Cornhusker State sports icon.

Larson helped the U.S. win its first major international title at the 2014 World Championship. She was also part of the program’s two stingers — defeats in the 2012 Olympic final and 2016 Olympic semifinals, both matches where the U.S. won the first set (and convincingly in 2012).

“It just gives me chills thinking about it now,” Larson said of the Rio Olympic semifinals, where Serbia beat the U.S. 15-13 in the fifth. “That team, we put in so much. Not just on the court but off the court working on culture and working on how are we best for each other. How can we be the best team? How can we out-team people? Certain teams have a better one player that’s a standout that we maybe didn’t have or don’t have. So how can we out-team the other teams? We had just put in so much work that was just heartbreaking.”

Larson and the Americans rebounded to win the bronze-medal match two days later.

“I don’t know anybody that didn’t have their heart ripped out. It was just a soul-crusher of a match,” Kiraly said of the semifinal. “More meaningful was what a great response everybody, including Jordan, mounted to the disappointment of that loss.”

The U.S. took fifth at worlds in 2018 and is now ranked second in the world behind China.

Larson spent the past club season in Shanghai. The campaign ended in mid-January. She hadn’t heard anything about the coronavirus when she took her scheduled flight back to California, learning days later that LAX started screening for it. Now, she’s working out from her garage.

Larson is in line to become the fifth-oldest U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball player in history, according Olympedia and the OlyMADMen.

Her decade of experience could go a long way to help the next generation of outside hitters, led by three-time NCAA champion and Sullivan Award winner Kathryn Plummer.

“If you’re coming into the USA program as an outside hitter, in the next year or the quad or the quad after that,” Barnett said, “the measuring stick is going to be Jordan Larson.”

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