Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

Le Sommer, free kick goals help France send statement in win over Colombia

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France sent a message to Olympic groupmates Team USA with a resounding 4-0 win over Colombia on Wednesday in Belo Horizonte.

Camile Abily and Amel Majri each scored free kick goals, Eugenie Le Sommer scored in a dominant performance, and a Colombia own goal rounded out the scoring.

France next faces Team USA in a massive match after the Yanks won 2-0 versus New Zealand earlier Wednesday, while Colombia moves on to face the Football Ferns in a must-win match for both sides.

MORE: Highlights here

France netted just as the game passed the one minute mark, as Le Sommer’s cross was deflected in by Colombia’s Carolina Arias. 1-0, 2′.

They looked set to make it 2-0 from an in-tight free kick, but Colombia goalkeeper Sandra Sepúlveda darted in front of the offering before Wendie Renard could nod it home.

Elise Bussaglia fired a laser just off frame in the 13th minute as France continued to control the proceedings. Le Sommer added a second via diving header in the 14th minute when she followed a rebound off the cross bar.

Colombia found some momentum as the game entered its second 20 minutes, with a corner kick and free kick series that ended when

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - AUGUST 03: Players of France celebrates a scored goal against Colombia during a match between France and Colombia as part of Women's Football - Olympics at Mineirao Stadium on August 3, 2016 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)
(Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)

Sepulveda then parried well after Le Sommer dribbled through the 18 to take a left-footed shot. It was her sixth shot of the game, all coming within the first half hour.

Abily swooped a 19-yard free kick over the wall and past a diving Sepulveda before halftime to make it 3-0. It was a gorgeous shot.

Majri lofted a left-footed free kick over Sepulveda, off the cross bar, and into the goal with less than 10 minutes to play.

France played a near-suffocating defense to go with its strong attack and, considering the competition today, was probably the most impressive side of the nascent tournament.

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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