Hamburg voters to decide on 2024 Olympic bid


HAMBURG, Germany (AP) – Leaders of Hamburg’s bid for the 2024 Olympics hope that a soccer scandal, unsettled costs and fear of attacks won’t dissuade voters from backing the German port city’s candidacy on Sunday.

About 1.3 million people in Hamburg and the nearby port city of Kiel hold the bid fate in their hands in a public referendum. Kiel is where sailing events would be held.

The bid has already been submitted to the International Olympic Committee and organizers hope it won’t share the same fate as Munich’s proposed candidacy for the 2022 Winter Games. That bid was rejected in a referendum.

“We’re giving the baton to the people of Hamburg and Kiel,” German Olympic Sports Confederation president Alfons Hoermann said Thursday.

More than 40 percent of those eligible to vote have already done so through a postal ballot.

“The excellent turnout that has emerged shows the Olympic Games project has been taken on by the city,” said Hoermann, whose federation backed Hamburg’s bid rather than rival Berlin’s in a unanimous vote in September.

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German interior minister Thomas De Maziere said voters should not be intimidated by the attacks in Paris or a terror scare in Hannover that prompted him to call off a football friendly between Germany and Netherlands last week. De Maziere also referred to the ongoing scandal involving the German football federation after it was alleged that bribes helped Germany secure the hosting rights to the 2006 World Cup.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported Thursday that Franz Beckenbauer, who headed the World Cup bid, received government support to try to influence FIFA executive committee members from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“Especially in view of the debates regarding big sporting events, Hamburg and Germany can show that a clean, fair, sustainable application can lead to success,” De Maziere said.

A dispute over sharing of costs has yet to be settled between the state and local government, but De Maziere said talks were going well.

“It concerns a lot of money and we’ll reach an agreement in the end,” De Maziere said.

Organizers have calculated the cost of hosting the games at 11.2 billion euros ($11.9 billion). The Hamburg senate wants the government to contribute 6.2 billion euros ($6.6 billion) while the city contributes 1.2 billion ($1.3 billion). Revenues of 3.8 billion euros ($4 billion) would be expected to make up the rest.

Paris, Rome, Los Angeles and Budapest, Hungary, also are bidding for the 2024 Games. The IOC will select the host city in Lima, Peru, in September 2017.

“Any approval over 50 percent is democratic legitimation to carry on,” Hamburg mayor Olaf Scholz said. “We want to be successful on Sunday. We want to be successful in 2017 in Lima.”

Germany has not staged an Olympics since the 1972 Summer Games in Munich.

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Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

Scotty James

Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression over the course of a three-run jam session for the entire field rather than scoring individual runs.

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

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Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories


Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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