Rome 2024 Olympic bid puts Colosseum, Circus Maximus to use

Rome 2024
AP
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ROME (AP) — A cycling sprint alongside the Roman Forum. Beach volleyball at the Circus Maximus. The marathon passing through St. Peter’s Square and finishing under the Arch of Constantine. A nightly parade of athletes at the Colosseum.

Rome’s historic monuments are at the center of the city’s bid for the 2024 Olympics, details of which were revealed Wednesday as four candidates including the Italian capital submitted their first detailed bid files to the International Olympic Committee.

“Customer satisfaction is fundamental for the athletes, their families and the spectators,” bid chief and former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said. “Here they will be able to take in the culture and touch things with their hands that maybe they have only seen on TV or studied in school.”

At an extravagant presentation produced by the same company handling ceremonies for this year’s Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Rome organizers also revealed their bid theme – “The Italian art of the welcome.”

“We want to offer athletes’ families the chance to travel by train to Florence and admire the Uffizi Gallery and then go to Naples and Pompeii the next day – for free,” Montezemolo said. “Who else can offer that?”

The IOC will select the 2024 host city in September 2017. Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest, Hungary, are the other bidders.

Promoting Italy’s artistic heritage, Montezemolo announced that composer Ennio Morricone – of “Spaghetti Western” fame – would create the bid’s anthem.

Relying on many venues that were used for the 1960 Games in Rome, the candidacy proposes using existing structures for 70 percent of the required sites. The games budget is projected at 5.3 billion euros ($6 billion) – 2.1 billion euros for the construction of permanent venues and the balance for temporary venues.

Permanent venues would include an athletes village and multi-sports arena at the Tor Vergata University on the city’s outskirts, media facilities and a cycling velodrome.

The temporary venues could largely be covered by IOC contributions, organizers said.

Rome has already signed sponsorship contracts with Etihad-Alitalia airlines, the banks BNL-BNP Paribas and insurer UnipolSai , said Montezemolo, who’s also president of Alitalia.

Organizers said the games would create 177,000 jobs and contribute 2.9 billion euros in economic benefits for the area.

The bid is based on three clusters: the existing Stadio Olimpico and surrounding Foro Italico complex for athletics and swimming; the Fiera convention center near the airport for indoor sports; and Tor Vergata.

“If we had the opening ceremony tomorrow at the Stadio Olimpico, we could then host athletics or swimming immediately,” Montezemolo said. “We’re ready.”

Diving would be held in the statue-studded Pietrangeli tennis arena while tennis is slated for a temporary hard-court facility in Tor Vergata.

The media centers would be built in Saxa Rubra, headquarters of Italian state TV Rai.

The small, left-wing movement Radicali Italiani is calling for a public referendum on the bid, citing spiraling costs of recent games.

Nino Benvenuti, a boxing gold medalist in 1960, was a guest of honor at the presentation, which drew a crowd of thousands that also included Marcello Lippi, coach of the Italy team that won the 2006 World Cup.

PHOTOS: Paris 2024 Olympic bid venue renderings include Eiffel Tower

Katie Ledecky out-touches new rival at swimming’s U.S. Open, extends streak

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It was a rare sight: Katie Ledecky being matched stroke for stroke in a distance race in an American pool. She was up for the challenge.

Ledecky out-touched emerging 16-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh by eight hundredths of a second in the 400m freestyle at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday night.

Ledecky and McIntosh were tied at the 300-meter mark. Ledecky ended up clocking 3:59.71 to McIntosh’s 3:59.79 to extend a decade-long win streak in freestyle races of 400 meters or longer in U.S. pools.

“I know we’ll have a lot more races ahead of us,” Ledecky said on Peacock. “We bring the best out of each other.”

The U.S. Open continues Friday with live finals coverage on Peacock at 6 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

At the Tokyo Olympics, McIntosh placed fourth in the 400m free at age 14.

She accelerated this year, taking silver behind Ledecky at the world championships and silver behind Tokyo gold medalist Ariarne Titmus of Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Then in October, McIntosh outdueled Ledecky in a 400m free — also by eight hundredths — in a short-course, 25-meter pool at a FINA World Cup meet in Toronto. Long-course meets like the Olympics and the U.S. Open are held in 50-meter pools.

McIntosh also won world titles in the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley, becoming the youngest individual world champion since 2011.

A potential showdown among Ledecky, Titmus and McIntosh at the 2024 Paris Games is already being compared to the “Race of the Century,” the 2004 Olympic men’s 200m free where Australian Ian Thorpe edged Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband and Michael Phelps.

In other events Thursday, Regan Smith, an Olympic and world medalist in the backstroke and butterfly, won a 200m individual medley in a personal best 2:10.40, a time that would have placed fifth at June’s world championships. She beat 16-year-old Leah Hayes, who took bronze in the event at worlds.

Olympic 400m IM champ Chase Kalisz won the men’s 200m IM in 1:56.52, his best time ever outside of major summer meets. Frenchman Léon Marchand won the world title in 1:55.22 in June, when Kalisz was fourth.

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Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
Getty
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World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.

He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.

American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.

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