Salt Lake City group, USOPC pen letters to IOC president on potential Olympic bid

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The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and a group looking to bring the Winter Games back to Salt Lake City sent letters to IOC president Thomas Bach last month, continuing dialogue that could lead to a formal bid for the Olympics and Paralympics in 2030 or 2034.

LETTERS: Salt Lake City group to Bach | USOPC to Bach | Bach to Salt Lake City group

“That was really a formal step, as far as we’re concerned, in an informal process in order to officially signal and convey our enthusiasm and our intent to host a future Winter Olympic Games,” said Cindy Crane, chair of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. “We are ready when they are ready.”

USOPC leaders said in December 2018 that if they bid for the next available Winter Games in 2030, it will be with Salt Lake City, but it hasn’t announced an official bid. The Utah capital was the last U.S. host for the Winter Olympics in 2002. The U.S. hasn’t put forth a formal Winter Games bid since.

The Salt Lake City committee has not set a deadline to decide on a bid nor on if that bid would be for the 2030 Olympics or for a later Winter Games. The U.S. will host the Summer Games in Los Angeles in 2028.

Last January, the IOC named Sapporo, Japan, Salt Lake City and Barcelona as interested potential 2030 bidders. Sapporo later became the first official bidder.

Host cities have traditionally been chosen by IOC members vote seven years before the Games, though recent reforms allow flexibility on the process and timeline.

The Salt Lake City committee held its second full meeting on Tuesday and its first since February. USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland joined the meeting by phone.

“The time will have to be right for all stakeholders, and we remain first and foremost committed to the success of the LA Games in 2028,” Hirshland and USOPC Chair Susanne Lyons wrote in an Oct. 30 letter to Bach. “Salt Lake City’s story stands as a testament to the power of the Games, as a model for legacy in action, and an example of the everlasting possibilities for host regions.”

The Salt Lake City group wrote in its letter to Bach that it has “political support at all levels” and an 80 percent public approval rating. It plans to send a small delegation to the IOC base of Lausanne, Switzerland, “sometime in the near future, when international travel resumes.”

Salt Lake City can offer a bid with 100 percent existing venues, thanks to continued use of sites from the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Crane said that Bach replied to the Salt Lake City group with a “very supportive” letter.

“We feel very good about a Games in 2030 or 2034, but we’re still doing our work,” Crane said Tuesday.

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South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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