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Los Angeles bid for 2024 Olympics expands to Anaheim, Long Beach

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three existing venues have been added to Los Angeles’ bid for the 2024 Olympics, including Long Beach as one of four main sports clusters.

LA2024 announced the additional venues Thursday, emphasizing its use of existing venues to avoid costly construction and cost overruns that have plagued Olympic host cities in recent years.

Long Beach’s arena, convention center, waterfront and pier would comprise one of four main sports clusters scattered around the Los Angeles area as opposed to having a single Olympic Park. The city joins the other clusters of downtown Los Angeles, the South Bay near Torrance and the San Fernando Valley.

The LA2024 bid committee said each cluster will be located within a secure perimeter where fans can walk between venues with food, music and celebration sites. The clusters are connected to the region’s public transit system.

The venue changes will be included in LA2024’s second bid file that is due to the International Olympic Committee on Oct. 7. The IOC will select the 2024 host city in September 2017. Los Angeles is competing with Paris, Rome and Budapest, Hungary.

Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi on Wednesday rejected her city’s bid, although her motion to withdraw the bid would have to be approved by Rome’s city assembly.

Handball would be held in Long Beach’s 13,500-seat arena, which recently underwent $10 million in upgrades, along with warm-up facilities at the connected convention center. BMX and water polo would be held in temporary facilities along the city’s waterfront, where open-water swimming and triathlon would be held. Sailing would be near the city’s Belmont Pier.

Long Beach’s venues are located 24 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. The athletes’ village would be on the UCLA campus on Los Angeles’ west side.

Honda Center in Anaheim would host indoor volleyball, bringing the Olympics to Orange County, with the 18,000-seat venue that is home to the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks located about 26 miles from Los Angeles. It would be about an hour drive from the athletes’ village.

In LA2024’s original plans, volleyball was to be played at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. Instead, that 13,800-seat basketball arena would host wrestling and judo.

Historic Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles would host men’s and women’s golf. The course has hosted the U.S. Open, two PGA Championships and the annual PGA tournament since it opened in 1929.

Adding sites in Long Beach and Anaheim would bring the Olympics closer to the large populations in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

LA2024 said UCLA’s tennis center and north athletic field have been added to the track and field stadium as part of the training center located at the athletes’ village in an effort to reduce additional travel for competitors.

“We’re very pleased to add more world-class existing venues to our fiscally responsible and innovative Games Plan for 2024,” LA2024 chairman Casey Wasserman said. “By relying on Southern California’s wealth of top sports, housing and transportation infrastructure, LA 2024 will minimize construction risk, operational struggles and costs, and can focus on providing athletes with the perfect stage to perform their best, without distraction.”

MORE: Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi rejects city’s 2024 Olympic bid

Los Angeles Angels celebrate U.S. Olympic volleyball players

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The U.S. Olympic indoor and beach volleyball teams were honored with a send-off celebration Wednesday night at the Los Angeles Angels game.

Both of the indoor teams are based in Anaheim (where the Angels actually play), and all of the beach volleyball players train nearby in Southern California. Setter Courtney Thompson, who is one of four women’s players returning from the 2012 silver-medal winning team, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Both the men’s and women’s indoor teams will be strong medal contenders in Rio, with the U.S. women ranked No. 1 in the world. U.S. men and women on the beach are favored to bring home medals as well.

The volleyball players will leave next week for team processing in Houston before flying over to Rio.

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MORE: U.S. Olympic women’s roster | U.S. Olympic men’s roster