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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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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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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