Hamburg voters to decide on 2024 Olympic bid

AP
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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.

MORE: Olympic rings in Hamburg break Guinness World Record

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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South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun
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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei
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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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