Patrick Chan
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Patrick Chan to choose between retirement, Olympic run after Worlds

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Canadian Patrick Chan will either retire after he tries for his fourth World Figure Skating title next week, or go all-in on a run for a third Olympics in 2018.

On Monday, he called the World Championships “a turning point” in his career but things looked “pretty good” about continuing through the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

“If I decide to go ahead and compete [next season], then I’m going for the next two years,” Chan said. “I’m not going to give up after next year because it’d be such a shame. … If I decide not to compete next season, and then I decide to pick it up just for the Olympic season, that would be completely ridiculous strategically. So this is going to be the deciding factor after this season, whether or not I keep going.”

Chan, 25 and the 2014 Olympic silver medalist, is a medal contender at the World Championships in Boston, but not the favorite.

He has been up and down this season, “starting over” after taking the 2014-15 season off from competition.

In the fall, Chan won Skate Canada over Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, then placed fifth in the Trophée Bompard short program before the free skate was canceled due to the Paris terror attacks.

He was last out of six skaters in December’s Grand Prix Final short program, then placed third in the free skate to finish fourth overall behind Hanyu, 2015 World champion Javier Fernandez and Japanese Shoma Uno.

Last month, Chan won the Four Continents Championship over a field that included Uno but not Hanyu or Fernandez. He scored a personal-best 203.99 points in the free skate, which was still 15.49 points shy of Hanyu’s record free skate from the Grand Prix Final.

“I’m at a disadvantage now, technically,” Chan said. “I’m competing against men who are doing five quads between the short program and the long program, and I’m at three between the two programs. Who would ever imagine that three wasn’t enough for some people?”

At Worlds next week, Chan will try to become the first man to win four World titles since Russian Alexei Yagudin in 2002. Chan previously won the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World titles.

“I’m healthy, I didn’t run into any major roadblocks this season, and I’ve kind of gotten back into the rhythm of things and what it’s like to compete again, and I enjoy it,” Chan said. “That I think is a good starting point for the next two years.”

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IOC group proposes Olympic ‘host’ can be multiple countries

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International Olympic Committee members will decide next month whether to tweak the definition of an Olympic host to make it clear that it does not necessarily refer to a single city but can also mean multiple cities, regions and even countries, IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday.

“It’s not an encouragement to spread the Games out as much as possible,” Bach said in announcing the IOC’s executive board approved the measure. “It may be preferable to have a region as a signatory or an additional signatory of the host city contract rather than just a city, and therefore, we wanted to enjoy this flexibility. This, on the other hand, does not change our vision, our request and our focus on having not only an Olympic Village, but to have an Olympic center.”

It’s one of six proposed changes by a working group chaired by Australian IOC member John Coates to examine the bid process. Another is to make the timing of Olympic host city elections more flexible. Typically, hosts are elected seven years before the Games, though two years ago an exception was made in the double awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Games to Paris and Los Angeles.

Bach repeated that the proposals are “to avoid producing too many losers as we had it in the past candidature procedures.”

The IOC previously said in 2014, in announcing Agenda 2020, that it “will allow events held outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country, notably for reasons of geography and sustainability.”

This shift manifests in Stockholm’s 2026 Winter Olympic bid plan to have sliding sports in Sigulda, Latvia, home of the nearest existing track for bobsled, luge and skeleton, rather than building a costly new track in Sweden.

IOC members will vote to choose the 2026 Winter Games host next month. The finalists are Stockholm and a joint Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, after five other potential candidates were dropped for various reasons.

There is precedent for events held far from the Olympic host city. In 1956, Melbourne held the Summer Games and had equestrian events in Stockholm due to quarantine laws in Australia. Similarly, equestrian at the 2008 Beijing Games was held in Hong Kong.

Soccer matches are often held in cities across the host country. Recent Winter Olympics have had mountain events in a different city or area than arena events.

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IOC board recommends AIBA suspension, boxing stays in Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee executive board recommended that AIBA has its recognition as boxing’s international federation suspended but that the sport remains on the Olympic program at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

An IOC decision on the recommendation will be made next month. The IOC created a group to organize 2020 Olympic boxing qualifying and competition if AIBA will not be allowed to run it.

“We want to ensure that the athletes can live their dream and participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 while drawing the necessary consequences for AIBA,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a press release. “At the same time, we offer a pathway back to lifting the suspension, but there needs to be further fundamental change.”

The IOC said in October that boxing’s place in the Olympics was “under threat” after being introduced at the 1904 St. Louis Games and held at every Games since except Stockholm 1912.

In November, the IOC ordered an inquiry into AIBA, which has been in financial turmoil, faced claims of fixed bouts at the Rio Games and elected a president linked to organized crime.

That president, Uzbek Gafur Rakhimov, stepped aside in March to let an interim leader take charge but said he was not resigning. Rakhimov is on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for suspected links to an organized crime group in former Soviet Union republics involved in heroin trafficking. He denies any wrongdoing.

“Serious governance issues remain, including breaches of the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics regarding good governance and ethics, leading to serious reputational, legal and financial risks for the IOC, the Olympic Movement and its stakeholders,” the inquiry committee concluded. “AIBA has been unable to demonstrate a sustainable and fair management of refereeing and judging processes and decisions, increasing the lack of confidence that athletes can have in fair competitions.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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