Maame Biney

Getty Images

Salt Lake City civic leaders and athletes band together for possible bid to host Olympics again

Leave a comment

Olympic medalists Eric Heiden, Apolo Ohno, Shannon Bahrke, Derek Parra and Noelle Pikus-Pace are among the members of a large committee to prepare Salt Lake City and Utah for a possible bid for the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics.

Salt Lake City, which hosted the 2002 Games, is not yet officially in the running for the Games, but it will be the candidate if the U.S. bids.

The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games will be led by a couple of business leaders — retired Rocky Mountain Power president/CEO Cindy Crane is the chair, while Sorenson Capital managing director Fraser Bullock is the committee’s president/CEO. The vice chairs are leaders of Utah’s top sports organizations — Jeff Robbins of the Utah Sports Commission and Colin Hilton of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation. 

All of the areas that have expressed interest in hosting the 2030 Games have hosted the Olympics in the past. The first official bid is 1972 Winter Olympic host Sapporo, Japan. Barcelona, which hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics, is bidding to follow Beijing in hosting the Winter Olympics after hosting the Summer Games.

Salt Lake City may be at a disadvantage in bidding for the 2030 Olympics because Los Angeles is hosting the Summer Olympics two years prior. Continental rotation isn’t a certainty, though, with Asia hosting both the 2020 (Tokyo) and 2022 (Beijing) Olympics.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and recently elected Salt Lake Mayor Erin Mendenhall unveiled the committee Wednesday in the Utah State Capitol Building.

“This committee is an important next step for Utah, as the state of sport, to show that we continue to be ready, willing and able to play host to a future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” Herbert said.

“We are ready to welcome the world again as a returning host of a future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” Mendenhall said. “Our beautiful city has so much to offer our worldwide guests, including the added benefit of our existing Olympic facilities and infrastructure.”

Salt Lake City’s venues are still in consistent use. The Utah Olympic Oval is a popular World Cup stop, where the high altitude contributes to a lot of world records. Utah Olympic Park is an essential training spot for U.S. winter sports athletes, and its sliding track is frequently used for World Cup competitions.

The executive committee includes a current Olympian — short-track speedskater Maame Biney — along with retired speedskater Catherine Raney Norman and Paralympic skiing multimedalist Chris Waddell. The city’s pro teams are also represented by Steve Miller, son on longtime Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller, and Real Salt Lake/Utah Royals owner Dell Roy Hansen.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

 

 

Maame Biney defends world junior 500m title

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Maame Biney got an early birthday present.

The 2018 Olympian defended her title in the 500m at the World Junior Championships this past weekend in Montreal, Quebec. In the quarterfinal round, she set a junior world record with a time of 43.212.

“I love it,” Biney said of her win, according to U.S. Speedskating. “I felt really good and skated really well. It’s a really good birthday gift, because my birthday is in two days.” (She turned 19 on January 28).

“I know where I am and I know I can get better,” she said. “This is just a representation of what can happen in the future.”

Biney, who was born in Ghana and raised in Virginia by a single father, had her breakthrough moment at the World Junior Championships in 2017, when she won bronze in the 500m. The bubbly teenager had a dominant showing at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 500m to earn a spot on her first Olympic team, becoming the first black woman to qualify for a U.S. Olympic short track team. Her best finish in South Korea was 14th in the 500m.

Since the Olympics, Biney graduated high school and started college at the University of Utah.

Biney will compete in the fifth World Cup of the 2018-19 season this weekend in Dresden, Germany.

 

Charles Hamelin finally claims short track world overall title

AP
Leave a comment

Charles Hamelin won Canada’s first overall title at a world short track speed skating championships in 20 years, bagging the biggest missing prize from his extensive collection this past weekend.

The 33-year-old and four-time Olympian won the 1000m and 1500m at worlds in Montreal en route to the overall crown tallying results from those two events, a 500m and a 3000m.

Hamelin came into the meet as the only male skater in history to win individual gold medals at multiple Olympics yet never claim an overall world title. From 2007 through 2016, Hamelin finished second in the overall three times and third another three times at the annual worlds.

“I was missing two medals [before this year]: Olympic champion in the 1000m and first in overall standings at a world championship,” Hamelin said, according to the International Skating Union. “To win it here in Montreal in front of my family and friends, I’m at a loss for words.”

Hamelin was originally going to retire after worlds but decided in the last month — after failing to finish in the top five in any individual race for the first time at an Olympics and announcing a split with fiancée and triple Olympic medalist Marianne St-Gelais — that he would continue at least through the 2018-19 season.

He won the overall at worlds with 81 points, nearly double the points of silver medalist Liu Shaolin Sándor, who was part of Hungary’s Olympic 5000m relay champion team. South Korean Hwang Dae-Heon took overall bronze with 44 points, one point behind Liu.

The last Canadian to win the world overall title was Marc Gagnon in 1998, the last of his four crowns.

On the women’s side, South Korean Choi Min-Jeong won her third world overall title in four years by claiming 500m, 1500m and 3000m wins. Olympic teammate Shim Suk-Hee was second, followed by Chinese Li Jinyu. South Korean won every female gold medal.

The U.S. went medal-less at a fourth straight worlds and didn’t advance any skaters past the semifinals. Its roster included individual Olympic medalists John-Henry Krueger and J.R. Celski and recently crowned world junior 500m champion Maame Biney.

Viktor Ahn, the six-time Olympic champion left off the list of Russians invited to PyeongChang by the International Olympic Committee, failed to advance past any individual semifinals.

Italian Arianna Fontana, the most decorated short track skater in PyeongChang with a medal of every color, competed only in the relay in Montreal due to emotional exhaustion, according to her social media.

Brit Elise Christie, the 2017 World overall champion, missed the championships altogether after suffering ankle ligament damage in a crash at the Olympics.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Best short track moments from PyeongChang