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Los Angeles’ ties to the Olympics

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Few cities can match Los Angeles’ rich Olympic history.

Los Angeles will in 2028 become the third city to host three Olympics, following London and Paris.

L.A. hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Games, with its main Olympic Stadium, the LA Memorial Coliseum, expected to return in 2028.

Some of the greatest U.S. Olympians are natives of Southern California, trained there or took part in some of the greatest competitions of their careers in the City of Angels.

Those who have called the Los Angeles area home include:

Evelyn Ashford (Track and field, 4 gold medals)
Shirley Babashoff
(Swimming, 9 medals)
Matt Biondi
(Swimming, 11 medals)
Gail Devers (Track and field, 3 gold medals)
Janet Evans (Swimming, 4 gold medals)
Allyson Felix (Track and field, 6 gold medals)
Lisa Fernandez (Softball, 3 gold medals)
Florence Griffith-Joyner (Track and field, 3 gold medals)
Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Track and field, 6 medals)
Karch Kiraly (Beach volleyball/Volleyball, 3 gold medals)
Lisa Leslie (Basketball, 4 gold medals)
Carl Lewis (Track and field, 9 gold medals)
Greg Louganis (Diving, 4 gold medals)
Misty May-Treanor (Beach volleyball, 3 gold medals)
Aaron Peirsol (Swimming, 5 gold medals)
Kim Rhode (Shooting, 6 medals)
Jim Thorpe (Track and field, 2 gold medals)
Dara Torres (Swimming, 12 medals)
Kerri Walsh Jennings (Beach volleyball, 3 gold medals)
Johnny Weissmuller (Swimming, 5 gold medals)
Serena Williams (Tennis, 4 gold medals)
Venus Williams (Tennis, 4 gold medals)

Some of the names most associated with Los Angeles professional sports teams are Olympians, from Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant to Wayne Gretzky to Candace Parker to Landon Donovan. Even longtime Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda guided the 2000 U.S. Olympic baseball team to gold.

UCLA’s Rafer Johnson lit the cauldron at the Los Angeles 1984 Opening Ceremony, 24 years after he won Olympic decathlon gold. He would be 92 years old come the 2028 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

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Johnny Gregorek runs fastest blue jeans mile in history

Johnny Gregorek
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Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.

Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.

Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.

Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.

“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”

MORE: Seb Coe: Track and field needs more U.S. meets

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U.S. Open mulls no fans, group flights, coronavirus tests as decision looms

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Charter flights to ferry U.S. Open tennis players and limited entourages from Europe, South America and the Middle East to New York. Negative COVID-19 tests before traveling. Centralized housing. Daily temperature checks.

No spectators. Fewer on-court officials. No locker-room access on practice days.

All are among the scenarios being considered for the 2020 U.S. Open — if it is held at all amid the coronavirus pandemic — and described to The Associated Press by a high-ranking official at the Grand Slam tournament.

“All of this is still fluid,” Stacey Allaster, the U.S. Tennis Association’s chief executive for professional tennis, said in a telephone interview Saturday. “We have made no decisions at all.”

With that caveat, Allaster added that if the USTA board does decide to go forward with the Open, she expects it to be held at its usual site and in its usual spot on the calendar. The main draw is scheduled to start Aug. 31.

“We continue to be, I would say, 150% focused on staging a safe environment for conducting a U.S. Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on our dates. It’s all I wake up — our team wakes up — thinking about,” Allaster said. “The idea of an alternative venue, an alternative date … we’ve got a responsibility to explore it, but it doesn’t have a lot of momentum.”

An announcement should come from “mid-June to end of June,” Allaster said.

All sanctioned competition has been suspended by the ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation since March and is on hold until late July.

The French Open was postponed from May to September; Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since 1945.

There is no established COVID-19 protocol for tennis, a global sport with several governing bodies.

“Everybody would agree to the fundamental principles, I’m sure: protecting the health of participants, following the local laws and minimizing the risk of the transmission of the virus,” said Stuart Miller, who is overseeing the ITF’s return-to-tennis policy. “But then you have to get down into the specific details.”

One such detail: The USTA wants to add locker rooms — including at indoor courts that housed hundreds of temporary hospital beds at the height of New York’s coronavirus outbreak — and improve air filtration in existing spaces. Also being considered: no locker-room access until just before a match. So if anyone goes to Flushing Meadows just to train, Allaster said, “You come, you practice, and return to the hotel.”

The USTA presented its operational plan to a medical advisory group Friday; now that will be discussed with city, state and federal government officials.

MORE: Olympic tennis: Key questions for Tokyo Games in 2021

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