Lindsey Vonn to pitch Salt Lake City Winter Olympic bid to IOC

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Lindsey Vonn will be part of a Salt Lake City Winter Olympic bid team meeting with the IOC at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, from June 15-16.

Salt Lake City, which hosted the 2002 Winter Games, is among the candidates to host the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics and is in a dialogue phase with the IOC, as are at least Sapporo, Japan, and Vancouver.

“We are focused on 2030,” Fraser Bullock, the president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, said in a board meeting Thursday. “Everything we do, every contract we sign, is all focused on 2030. But it also has a provision for 2034.”

Salt Lake City bid officials expect the IOC to choose a city or cities for a more targeted dialogue phase for at least 2030 in December and a host city election next May 30 or June 1.

The IOC keeps a flexible process on choosing its Olympic hosts. In the past, hosts were chosen via IOC members vote seven years ahead of time, and that could still be how the 2030 host is picked.

Vonn, who retired in 2019 as the most successful female Alpine skiing World Cup racer, made her Olympic debut at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games at age 17.

“She was instantaneously, ‘Absolutely! How can I be involved?'” Catherine Raney-Norman, the Salt Lake bid chair and a retired Olympic speed skater, said Thursday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “I think she’s going to share an incredibly unique experience as an athlete, as a global leader in sport, as a champion of mental health. And I think it’s going to be a huge thing.”

The Salt Lake City plan has called for using 100 percent existing venues, largely thanks to the 2002 Games, the last time that the U.S. put forth a Winter Olympic bid.

In December 2018, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee chose Salt Lake City over Denver for a potential Winter Olympic bid. Entering the IOC dialogue phase more than two years ago showed the USOPC’s commitment to pursuing the city’s candidature.

If successful, the U.S. could host consecutive Olympics, given the 2028 Summer Games were awarded to Los Angeles. No nation has hosted back-to-back Olympics since World War II.

“We recognize the back-to-back Games are challenging,” Bullock said. “Geopolitically, it’s hard for the IOC to award back-to-back Games in the U.S., for ’28 and for ’30. We know that that’s hard. But we also recognize there are opportunities through back-to-back Games.”

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Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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