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Australia to bid for 2032 Olympics

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BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Queensland state will bid to host to the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics, state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters Monday.

Palaszczuk said her cabinet had given its approval to advancing a bid and Australia prime minister Scott Morrison said his government was on board. Federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese said his Labour party also backs the bid.

Australia hosted the Olympics twice before in Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000. Queensland’s capital is Brisbane.

“Cabinet has this morning given the go-ahead to moving to the next level,” Palaszczuk said.

She said Queensland had a potential advantage over other bidders because 80 percent of the venues were already in place. The Gabba ground, famous as an international cricket venue, could host the Opening Ceremony of the Games, which take place from July 23 to Aug. 8.

“That means we do not need to build huge stadiums we will not need into the future,” Palaszczuk said.

“In terms of the Opening Ceremony, we have not discounted the use of the Gabba. We believe we could put on quite a show at the Gabba.”

Estimates released in May put the cost of hosting the games at $3.6 billion. But financial consultants KPMG estimated the Games could return $4.9 billion in benefits to Queensland.

Olympic cost estimates are notoriously low and usually soar three or four times over estimates. Economic benefits are also unclear and often small, if they exist at all.

The Australian Olympic Committee welcomed the announcement Monday.

“We know the business community recognizes the economic benefits that will flow, but it is vitally important that the community is kept fully informed,” John Coates, president of the Australian Olympic Committee, said.

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Coronavirus forces Olympic soccer and boxing qualifiers to move

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Olympic qualifying events in two sports were moved from the Chinese city of Wuhan on Wednesday because of an outbreak of a deadly viral illness.

A four-nation Asian qualifying group for the women’s soccer tournament was switched from the city at the center of the health scare to Nanjing.

The Asia-Oceania boxing qualifying tournament scheduled for Feb. 3-14 in Wuhan was cancelled. No new plans were announced.

The decisions followed Chinese health authorities telling people in Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings.

The Asian Football Confederation said the round-robin group — featuring host China, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand — will be played on Feb. 3-9, retaining the same dates, in Nanjing.

More than 500 people have been infected and at least 17 killed since the outbreak emerged last month. The illness comes from a newly identified type of coronavirus.

Cases have also been reported in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. All involve people from Wuhan or who recently traveled there.

In the soccer qualifiers in China, two teams advance to a four-nation playoff round in March. That will decide which two teams from Asia join host Japan at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Russia trounces U.S. boys’ hockey team to wrap up Youth Olympic Games

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Russia routed the U.S. 4-0 in the boys’ hockey gold medal game Wednesday, the final day of the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The U.S. had more penalties (three) than shots (two) in the first period. Russia’s Matvei Michkov converted the first power play and added an even-strength goal later in the period. Another power-play goal in the second period ran the score to 3-0.

Michkov just turned 15 and is projected as a top pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

The gold medal was Russia’s ninth of the Games, excluding events that featured mixed-nationality teams, and 27th overall medal. Both numbers were the best of the competition.

Switzerland finished second in the medal tally with nine golds and 22 total. Japan, the surprise winner in girls’ hockey, matched Switzerland with nine golds among its 17 medals.

The U.S. had two gold medals and 11 total. Kiernan Fagan took gold in the boys’ ski slopestyle and silver in ski big air. Dusty Henricksen won the boys’ snowboard slopestyle.

Fagan, who turned 18 during the Games, already has a couple of World Cup podiums and finished 12th in slopestyle in last year’s world championships. He also took silver in big air and slopestyle in last year’s world junior championships.

Henricksen, who’ll turn 17 next month, placed 17th in the World Cup big air event last month in Atlanta.

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