IOC boss welcomes talk of awarding 2024, 2028 Olympics together

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ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach welcomes talk that two Summer Games hosts could be picked at the same time in September.

“I like it that people are talking in this way about the Olympic candidature procedure,” Bach told The Associated Press on Saturday, amid speculation Los Angeles and Paris could both get hosting rights for either the 2024 or 2028 Olympics.

“It shows that people are caring. This we appreciate very much.”

Bach fueled the dual award debate in December, when he suggested the current bidding process “produces too many losers.”

Persistent ongoing speculation about rewarding two 2024 bidders “may give us some ideas,” the IOC president said during a visit to the ski world championships.

The IOC has not formally begun any 2028 bid process, and it is also unclear if cities which are targeting that contest would have grounds for complaint about a dual award in September.

Los Angeles and Paris are in the 2024 Olympics bid contest with Budapest, Hungary.

Budapest is seen as the outsider, and could even withdraw next week under pressure from an opposition political group to force a referendum

The city’s mayor, Istvan Tarlos, said on Friday he discussed the bid’s status with Prime Minister Viktor Orban. More meetings were planned on Wednesday.

Bach was asked by the AP on Saturday if the IOC could arrive in Lima, Peru, for the Sept. 13 hosting vote with two candidates and two winners.

“Let us discuss. This is a discussion,” the president said. “It also depends on the timing. This is, you know, why I appreciate also the public discussion.

“There are many options.”

Los Angeles and Paris are viewed as high-quality options for the IOC, and it is unclear if either would bid again in a new 2028 process if they failed to win the 2024 hosting rights.

Bach made creating a more flexible and cost-effective Summer and Winter Games hosting process central to his presidency in a reform program called Olympic Agenda 2020.

The German official acknowledged in December that some challenges remained.

“This procedure as it is … in our political environment in such a fragile world just produces too many losers,” Bach said on Saturday.

He also suggested that Olympic unrest in Budapest was down to a new political group that “wanted to make a name.”

“The referendum is obviously considered by them to be a good tool to put themselves on the map of the political landscape in Hungary,” Bach said.

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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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International Boxing Association lifts ban on Russia, Belarus

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The International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted its ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine that had been in place since early March.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports,” the federation said in a press release. “Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions.”

Most international sports federations banned athletes from Russia and Belarus indefinitely seven months ago, acting after an IOC recommendation. It is believed that the IBA is the first international federation in an Olympic sport to lift its ban.

The IOC has not officially changed its recommendation from last winter to exclude Russia and Belarus athletes “to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.”

Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could at some point be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag.

IBA, in lifting its ban, will also allow Russia and Belarus flags and national anthems.

“The time has now come to allow all the rest of the athletes of Russia and Belarus to participate in all the official competitions of their sports representing their countries,” IBA President Umar Kremlev, a Russian, said in a press release last week. “Both the IOC and the International Federations must protect all athletes, and there should be no discrimination based on nationality. It is the duty of all of us to keep sports and athletes away from politics.”

In 2019, the IOC stripped the IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition following an inquiry committee report into finance, governance, refereeing and judging. The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

The IBA will not run qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games, but it does still hold world championships, the next being a men’s event in Uzbekistan next year.

Boxing, introduced on the Olympic program in 1904, was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games but can still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” Bach said last December.

On Sept. 23, the IBA suspended Ukraine’s boxing federation, citing “government interference.” Ukraine boxers are still allowed to compete with their flag and anthem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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