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LA 2024 Olympic bid details, venue plans updated

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Los Angeles 2024 published its updated Olympic bid strategy and concept plan on Tuesday, the file it’s required to (and did) submit to the International Olympic Committee by Wednesday.

Two key numbers were published in the bid book — the 81 percent of Los Angeles residents who support hosting the Olympics, according to an August poll, and the 97 percent of venues that already exist, are planned as permanent venues by private investors or will be temporary facilities.

The proposed dates of the Olympics remain unchanged from last summer’s bid announcement — July 19-Aug. 4, the same dates as the Atlanta 1996 Olympics and the failed Boston 2024 bid.

A difference from last year’s bid book is a trimming of venue clusters from five to four (consolidating the Hollywood cluster), plus several sports venue changes (most notably gymnastics moving from Staples Center to the Forum).

Baseball and softball, proposed to be included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, were mentioned in the previous bid book as being played at Dodger Stadium if they were in the 2024 Olympic program. Neither sport is mentioned in the new bid book.

There’s been a tweak to basketball. In the original bid book, preliminary basketball games were slated for UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion and finals at Staples Center. Later in October, LA 2024 bid chairman Casey Wasserman said other California venues could hold basketball games.

Now, Staples Center is the only listed basketball venue.

The to-be-constructed Los Angeles Rams stadium could also be part of the LA 2024 plan.

“Over the coming months LA 2024 will work with the stadium owner to further explore these opportunities,” Tuesday’s bid book said.

Also, preliminary soccer matches will be held across the U.S., but the Rose Bowl remains a soccer venue, according to the new bid book.

The four clusters in the new bid book:

Downtown Cluster
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Track and Field)
New MLS Stadium (Diving, Swimming, Synchronized Swimming)
Staples Center (Basketball)
Los Angeles Convention Center (Boxing, Fencing, Handball, Judo, Table Tennis, Wrestling)
USC’s Galen Center (Badminton, Taekwondo)
Microsoft Theater (Weightlifting)
Also: Archery, Road Cycling, Marathon, Race Walk

Valley Cluster
Sepulveda Basin (Canoe Slalom, Equestrian, Modern Pentathlon, Shooting)

Coastal Cluster
Santa Monica Beach (Beach Volleyball, Open-Water Swimming, Triathlon)
UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion (Volleyball)
UCLA’s North Athletic Fields (Field Hockey)
UCLA’s Los Angeles Tennis Center (Water Polo)

South Bay Cluster
StubHub Center Soccer Stadium (Rugby)
Tennis Stadium (Tennis)
VELO Sports Center (Track Cycling)
Also: BMX

Other Venues
The Forum (Gymnastics)
Rose Bowl (Soccer)
Wilson Golf Course (Golf)
LA Waterfront (Sailing)
Lake Casitas (Rowing, Canoe/Kayak)
Santa Monica Mountains (Mountain Bike)

MORE: 2024 Olympic bidding coverage

Coco Gauff delivers speech, demands change, promises to use platform

Coco Gauff
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Coco Gauff, the 16-year-old tennis star, delivered a speech at a peaceful protest in her hometown on Wednesday, demanding change and promising to use her platform to spread vital information.

“I’ve been spending all week having tough conversations, trying to educate my non-black friends on how they can help the movement,” Gauff told a crowd, holding an affixed microphone atop a lectern in front of Delray Beach City Hall in Florida, after her grandmother spoke. “You need to use your voice, no matter how big or small your platform is. You need to use your voice. I saw a Dr. [Martin Luther] King quote that said, ‘The silence of the good people is worse than the brutality of the bad people.'”

Earlier this week, Gauff posted links on her social media accounts — with more than 800,000 combined followers — to register to vote and a petition for justice for the death of George Floyd. On Wednesday, she shared video of her participating in a march, saying her hometown police chief was part of the group.

Click here for NBC News’ coverage of Floyd’s death and protests in Minneapolis and around the country.

Last summer, Gauff, then 15, became the youngest player to reach Wimbledon’s fourth round since Jennifer Capriati in 1991. She followed that with third- and fourth-round runs at the U.S. Open and the Australian Open, sandwiched between her first WTA Tour title.

The full text of the beginning of her speech, which she shared on social media:

“Hello everyone. My name is Coco, and who just spoke was my grandma. I think it’s sad that I’m here protesting the same thing that she did 50-plus years ago. So I’m here to tell you guys this: that we must, first, love each other no matter what. We must have the tough conversations with my friends. I’ve been spending all week having tough conversations, trying to educate my non-black friends on how they can help the movement. Second, we need to take action. Yes, we’re all out here protesting, and I’m not of age to vote, but it’s in your hands to vote for my future, for my brother’s future and for your future. So that’s one way to make change. Third, you need to use your voice, no matter how big or small your platform is. You need to use your voice. I saw a Dr. [Martin Luther] King quote that said, ‘The silence of the good people is worse than the brutality of the bad people.’ So, you need to not be silent, because if you are choosing silence, you’re choosing the side of the oppressor. So, I’ve heard many things this past week. One of the things I’ve heard is, well, it’s not my problem. This is why I have to tell you this. If you listen to black music. If you like black culture. If you have black friends. Then this is your fight, too. It’s not your job. It’s not your duty to open your mouth to say, ‘Lil Uzi Vert‘s my favorite artist, but I don’t care what happened to George Floyd.’ Now how does that make sense? So, I demand change now. It’s sad that it takes another black man’s life to be lost for all of this to happen, but we have to understand that this has been going on for years. This is not just about George Floyd. This is about Trayvon Martin. This is about Eric Garner. This is about Breonna Taylor. This is about stuff that’s been happening. I was 8 years old when Trayvon Martin was killed. So why am I here at 16 still demanding change? And it breaks my heart because I’m fighting for the future for my brothers. I’m fighting for the future for my future kids. I’m fighting for the future for my future grandchildren. So, we must change now, and I promise to always use my platform to spread vital information.”

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MORE: Olympic tennis: Key questions for Tokyo Games in 2021

Hayato Sakamoto, Japanese baseball MVP, tests positive for coronavirus

Hayato Sakamoto
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Hayato Sakamoto, an MVP of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, is one of two players from the Yomiuri Giants to test positive for the coronavirus, according to several Japanese media reports.

Sakamoto, a 31-year-old shortstop, and catcher Takumi Oshiro tested positive ahead of the NPB’s planned June 19 start to the season that had been delayed to the coronavirus.

The tests showed traces of the coronavirus, according to Kyodo News.

The Giants canceled Wednesday’s practice game with the Seibu Lions to limit the spread of the virus.

Sakamoto is the reigning Central League MVP. He has been called the Derek Jeter of Japan for playing the same position as the Yankee great and being the veteran captain of Japan’s equivalent club, the Giants, which own a record 22 Japan Series titles.

Sakamoto, who played in the last two World Baseball Classics, has been considered a lock for Japan’s baseball team at the Tokyo Games in 2021 as the most well known active player who hasn’t left for Major League Baseball. MLB is not expected to allow its top players to participate in the Olympics, which would keep the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Masahiro Tanaka off the Olympic roster.

The sport returns to the Olympic program for the first time since 2008, though it is not on the 2024 Olympic program nor guaranteed a place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Japan reached the semifinals of all five Olympic baseball tournaments when the sport was previously on the medal program but never took gold.

In a 2018 survey, Sakamoto was ranked as Japan’s eighth-most popular athlete across all sports, foreign or domestic, active or retired.