Olympic Year in Review: Headlines

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
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OlympicTalk takes a look back at the year in Olympic sports this week. Today, we review enduring news stories.

U.S. Ski Team Prospects Die in Avalanche

Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, two U.S. development-level Alpine skiers, died in an avalanche while freeskiing in Austria on Jan. 4.

Their deaths shocked the winter sports community and led to an outpouring of remembrances and support from U.S. skiers such as Olympic champions Ted Ligety and Lindsey Vonn.

Boston 2024 becomes Los Angeles 2024

The U.S. Olympic Committee announced Boston as its 2024 Olympic bid city Jan. 8, ending a domestic competition since the USOC sent letters to 35 cities gauging interest in potential bids in February 2013.

However, setbacks plagued Boston’s first-ever Olympic bid, most notably a lack of public support and most importantly the refusal of Boston mayor Marty Walsh to sign a document that could put taxpayers at risk if there were cost overruns.

The bid ended July 27.

Los Angeles, one of the other three finalist cities, stepped in quickly. That city’s bid became official Sept. 1, two weeks before an International Olympic Committee bid submission deadline.

L.A. 2024 is up against Budapest, Paris and Rome as it seeks to end a U.S. drought of hosting the Olympics that’s dated to 2002 (Winter Games) and 1996 (Summer Games). The IOC will vote to choose the 2024 host city in September 2017.

Miracle on Ice Reunion

All living members of the Miracle on Ice team gathered in Lake Placid, N.Y., for the first time since the 1980 Winter Olympics for a 35-year reunion in February.

The event came together after the team lost its first player, Bob Suter to a heart attack Sept. 9, 2014.

On Feb. 21, the remaining 19 players sat and spoke during a chronological ceremony at Herb Brooks Arena, spliced with video of the Miracle on Ice, the 2004 film “Miracle” and the coach Brooks saying before the Olympics that the U.S. was unlikely to win a medal.

Ronda Rousey Becomes a Superstar

Rousey made more headlines in a matter of seconds in the UFC Octagon this year than during her entire judo career that included a 2008 Olympic bronze medal, the first medal earned by a U.S. female judoka.

She won two fights in a combined 48 seconds before being upset by Holly Holm on Nov. 15 with a vicious kick to the head for a knockout. Rousey had not lost on such a big stage since the Beijing 2008 Games.

Camille Muffat Dies in Helicopter Crash

Muffat, the French 2012 Olympic 400m freestyle swimming champion, died along with French Olympic bronze medalist boxer Alexis Vastine and eight others while filming a reality TV show in Argentina on March 9.

Marathon Oddities

St. Louis: Winner DQ’d for cheating.
Boston: Runner finishes the following morning.
San Diego: Oldest woman to finish a marathon.
World Championships: First teenage gold medalist.
Berlin: Eliud Kipchoge misses world record by 63 seconds after shoe malfunction.
Nairobi: Runner-up DQ’d for cheating.
Bangkok Half: Wrong distance.
London 2016: A British astronaut plans to run the 26.2-mile race in space.

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods split

The 2010 Olympic downhill champion and 2016 Olympic hopeful ended a nearly three-year relationship, announcing their breakup May 3.

Vonn and Woods were often seen together at Woods’ golf tournaments, Vonn’s ski races (notably Woods missing a tooth while at Vonn’s most notable victory of the year) and at least one Denver Broncos football game.

Vonn started her 2015-16 season off well with four December victories. Woods has fallen outside of the top 400 in the Official World Golf Ranking, has no return date from a back injury and is extremely unlikely to qualify for the first Olympic golf tournament in 112 years.

Rio Olympic Countdown

Rio Olympic organizers unveiled the 2016 Olympic competition schedule, torch design and torch relay details this year.

They also spent plenty of time dealing with issues such as water quality and athlete air conditioning.

Beijing 2022

The IOC chose Beijing over Almaty, Kazakhstan, to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in a close July 31 vote. Beijing will become the first city to hold a Summer Games and a Winter Games.

It will mark the third straight Olympics in East Asia, following the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Russian Doping

The prevalent use of performance-enhancing drugs in Russian track and field was a story throughout the year, from the bans of Olympic and World track and field champions in January to the entire nation being banned by the IAAF on Nov. 13.

Russia has plenty of work ahead if it’s to be reinstated before the Rio Olympics.

Oscar Pistorius Appeal

The first double amputee to run in the Olympics was released after serving less than a year in prison in October, to spend the remainder of a five-year term under house arrest.

However, Pistorius was convicted of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in an appeals court Dec. 3 and was released on bail ahead of an April sentencing date.

Retirements
Kaitlyn Farrington
, Snowboarding
Haile Gebrselassie, Track and Field
Dominique Gisin, Alpine Skiing
Katie Hoff, Swimming
Nicole Hosp, Alpine Skiing
Hannah Kearney, Freestyle Skiing
Cindy Klassen, Speed Skating
Steven Langton, Bobsled
Liu Xiang, Track and Field
Mario Matt, Alpine Skiing
Nick McCrory, Diving
Paula Radcliffe, Track and Field
Benjamin Raich, Alpine Skiing
Maëlle Ricker, Snowboarding
Abby Wambach, Soccer
Jordyn Wieber, Gymnastics
Lauryn Williams, Bobsled

Olympic Year in Review: Winter Sports | Summer Sports | Photos | Social Media

Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

Joel Embiid
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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

Delta LA 2028
LA 2028
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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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