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Paris 2024 holds 100m race on Seine River for Olympic Day

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PARIS (AP) — High-divers plunged into the River Seine, trampoline athletes somersaulted inside the Petit Palais art museum and runners raced on a floating track as Paris turned some of its world-famous landmarks over to sports on Friday in hopes of wowing the International Olympic Committee.

With Paris competing against Los Angeles to host the 2024 Olympics, bid organizers hoped the two-day festival of more than 30 sports would help showcase the French capital’s suitability for the Games.

Divers demonstrated their skills from boards installed on the Alexandre III bridge that spans the Seine, as kayakers also paddled on the river.

In the Petit Palais, trampoline athletes bounced skyward toward the museum’s ornate ceiling murals. Olympic judo champion Teddy Riner and other French sports stars raced for fun in a 100m on a temporary track floating on the Seine.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the Olympic celebration is “a way to show how we want to party together, with the whole world, by welcoming the Games. We hope so!”

But four people were injured, one seriously, when a double-decker sightseeing bus that took a detour to avoid the sports shows got stuck inside a tunnel, police and the bus company said.

On Saturday, Parisians were also being given an opportunity usually reserved for Tour de France racers: to pedal around the Arc de Triomphe without its frenetic vehicle traffic, which will be stopped for three hours.

Elsewhere, a climbing wall was installed inside the Pavillon de l’Arsenal museum of Paris architecture, for free use by the public. Also planned were demonstrations of an array of Olympic sports, including fencing, boxing, archery, gymnastics and others.

Paris’ show comes ahead of a crucial IOC meeting in July that could decide to pick the 2024 and 2028 Olympic host cities both at once — in a final vote in September in Lima, Peru. The only question would then be which city gets which Games. Paris says it is bidding only for 2024.

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Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff set Australian Open duel

Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff
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Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff will meet in the third round of a second straight Grand Slam, this time at the Australian Open on Friday.

Osaka, the defending champion and world No. 4, and Gauff, the 15-year-old American phenom, each won second-round matches in Melbourne to reach the final 32.

Osaka swept Chinese Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-4 on a windy Wednesday afternoon. Later, Gauff followed her first-round win over Venus Williams by eliminating Romanian veteran Sorana Cirstea 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Osaka beat Gauff 6-3, 6-0 in the U.S. Open third round on Aug. 31. In the most memorable moment of that night, Osaka urged Gauff to share the on-court victor’s interview at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“It’s better than going into the showers and crying,” Osaka told Gauff in front of a packed crowd. “Let these people know how you feel.”

Gauff obliged after at first declining.

“I’m not the type of person who wants to cry in front of everyone,” she said later. “I didn’t want to take that moment away from [Osaka], as well.”

Gauff, ranked No. 684 at this time last year, is now No. 67. She broke through by beating Williams in the Wimbledon first round, then reaching the round of 16.

Gauff won a lower-level WTA Tour event in October and now ranks fifth in U.S. Olympic singles qualifying. The top four after the French Open qualify for the Tokyo Games, though Gauff has fewer than half the points as No. 4 Alison Riske.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

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John Isner leaning toward skipping Olympics again

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John Isner, the highest-ranked U.S. male singles tennis player, is considering skipping the Olympics for a second straight time.

“I haven’t put a ton of thought into it, but as of right now, I think I’m leaning towards not playing,” the 19th-ranked player said at the Australian Open on Tuesday. “It’s about scheduling. I know the Olympics, it’s a fantastic honor. There’s no doubt about that. … Right now, at this stage in my career, it’s not a huge priority for me. So that’s probably the main reason I won’t be going. I certainly love playing in the summer in America, and I’m going to focus on that.”

The Tokyo Games take place the same week as a lower-level ATP Tour event in Atlanta that Isner, a former University of Georgia star, has won five times.

Other notable male players already said they will pass on Tokyo, including Sam Querrey, the top American in Olympic qualifying standings.

Austrian Dominic Thiem, a two-time French Open finalist, is prioritizing an ATP event in Kitzbühel the week of the Olympics. The U.S. doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan are not planning to play the Olympics in their final season before retirement, their manager said in November.

“The Olympics is very tough on the schedule … especially with Davis Cup,” Isner said in 2016, according to USA Today. “I think the fact that they have no [ATP ranking] points [at the Olympics], to be honest, was a pretty big factor as well. Obviously the Olympics is not about the money, but no points I think hindered me a bit.”

Isner, who turns 35 on April 26, is likely giving up his last chance to play Olympic singles. In his only Olympic participation, he reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Games, plus lost an opening-round doubles match there with Andy Roddick.

The top four U.S. men qualify for Tokyo, assuming they are among the top 60 overall qualifiers (maximum four per country) after this spring’s French Open.

Taylor FritzReilly Opelka, Steve Johnson and Tommy Paul are the U.S. men currently in Olympic qualifying position if excluding Querrey and Isner.

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