Brisbane 2032 Olympic group to have ‘targeted dialogue’ with IOC

Brisbane Olympic bid
Australian Olympic Committee
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A group hoping to bring the 2032 Olympics to Brisbane, Australia, has been chosen by the IOC to start “a targeted dialogue” phase.

The IOC Executive Board approved a recommendation from an IOC Future Host Commission to begin the talks, also including the Australian Olympic Committee, as part of the new host city selection process.

“I would like to emphasize that this recommendation and this decision is not a decision against anybody,” IOC President Thomas Bach said. “This is just a decision in favor of one interested party at this moment in time.”

Based on the discussions, the executive board has the ability to propose the election of the 2032 Olympic host at a to-be-determined future IOC session. The future host commission will also continue talks with other groups interested in bidding for the 2032 Games.

The decision to advance talks with Brisbane, after discussions were also held with other interested parties, was made “given the uncertainty the world is facing at this moment, which is expected to continue even after the Covid-19 health crisis is over” and to bring “stability to the Olympic Games, the athletes, the IOC and the whole Olympic movement,” said IOC member Kristin Kloster Aasen, chair of the future host commission.

“Our recommendation was to seize the opportunity which presented itself, also given the economic outlook and the financial outlook globally for the future and many other factors,” she said. “This is not something that I foresee is going to take years, but I cannot pre-empt the process.”

Traditionally, Olympic hosts have been chosen from a bid process by IOC members vote seven years before the Games. While that is still possible for the 2032 Games, it’s no longer the sole option.

In 2017, after Bach said that traditional process “produces too many losers,” the 2024 Olympics were awarded to Paris and the 2028 Olympics to Los Angeles after a historic agreement among the two cities and IOC leaders.

In 2019, the 2026 Winter Games were awarded to Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, winning an IOC members vote over a Swedish-Latvian bid centered on Stockholm.

Also in 2019, the IOC established future host commissions for the Summer and Winter Games as part of changes “to transform future Olympic Games elections.” The IOC noted a more proactive, flexible, cost-effective approach to prospective hosts and that bids can include multiple cities, regions and countries.

Australia previously hosted the Summer Games in Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000. Those Olympics were held in the Australian spring and winter in November-December and September-October, respectively.

Brisbane 2032 proposes July 23-Aug. 8, with events also in Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in the same Australian state of Queensland. As usual, preliminary soccer matches could be spread across the nation, including in Sydney and Melbourne.

One of the reasons that Brisbane is targeted for more discussions is that it has “favorable climate conditions for athletes in July and August, despite the current global challenges caused by climate change,” according to a press release.

Plans for a 2032 bid from Queensland were first announced in December 2019. At the time, state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said 80 percent of venues were already in place after Gold Coast hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

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

Other nations to previously express interest in hosting the 2032 Olympics included Qatar and Indonesia, plus a possible joint North Korea-South Korea bid.

The 2030 Winter Games have yet to be awarded. The U.S. may bid, and if it does, it will be Salt Lake City, the 2002 Winter Games host.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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