After Boston dropped itself as the U.S. bid for the 2024 Olympics, and with the USOC's odd insistence to have a candidate this cycle, Los Angeles has stepped up to be the official U.S. option for the Games. Will L.A.'s success record from 1932 & 1984 and its pitch that it would be the most cost-efficient Games be enough to lure votes away from Hamburg, Paris, Rome, or Budapest? I doubt it, but should would enjoy a Games nearby.
Tokyo 2020 Logo Dumped
After initially deflecting plagiarism complaints for the new Tokyo 2020 Olympic logo, organizers this week decided to scrap the logo and open a new competition for design. This is another pr setback moment for the organizing committee, after also re-opening the main stadium bid. As the Games are such a large movement, even a 'safe' host choice like Tokyo can't escape scrutiny...
More Promises of Clean Water in Rio
With concern, and actual illness, still in the air, the Rio Olympic Organizing Committee has again argued for its ability to provide a clean competition arena in Guanabara Bay, and has vowed this week to install new viral testing and sewage treatment. I think we've heard that before.
Mountain Bike World Champs End
The annual Mountain Bike Worlds ended in Vallnord, Andorra this weekend, with France topping the overall medal table with eleven. That total included placements in both Olympic categories, individual cross-country - earning silver in men's with Julien Absalon and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot taking the gold in the women's.
On an interesting side note, Rwanda made its maiden appearance at the event, with Nathan Byukusenge taking 92nd place (not last!) in the men's cross-country elite.
The world championships for rowing in Lake Aiguebelette, France ended as well, with Great Britain dominating the table, with 15 overall podium finishes. Their highlight probably was the men's eights in the event's traditional highlight race, defeating Germany by .20, and earning their third straight title. New Zealand and Germany tied for second on the medal table, with nine apiece. The event also served as the primary Olympic qualification - and Great Britain scored an impressive 12 of 14 berths for the Rio Games. The U.S. qualified ten crews, followed by Germany (9), New Zealand (9), Australia (7), Canada (6), Poland (6), Netherlands (6) and France (6). A total of 33 countries secured at least one crew qualification, with further opportunities coming in the fall and spring with specific regional Olympic qualifying regattas.
China Wins FIVB World Cup
China and Serbia finished at the top of the standings of the women's FIVB World Cup in Japan, and both earned an Olympic berth for Rio. They are the first teams, aside from host Brazil, to qualify for the tournament. This is the fourth World Cup title for China, and will be their eighth appearance at the Games (they've won five medals). For Serbia, this will be their third Olympics, and their second place finish at the World Cup represents their highest major international finish, after the gold at the 2011 European Championship.
At the conclusion of the FIBA Asia Women's Championship in Wuhan, Japan stood on top, dominating China 85-50 in the final and earning a booking to the Rio 2016 tournament. This will be the team's fourth appearance in the Games, though the first since 2004. In finishing second and third, China and South Korea (winners over Chinese Taipei in the bronze medal match) will move onto FIBA's Olympic Qualification Tournament next year for another shot at the Olympics.
Will Serena Win Her Grand Slam?
The annual US Open opened this week, highlighted by American Serena Williams' attempt to win the calendar-year Grand Slam. While she has twice held all four major titles at once, they have been crossovers across two seasons (2002-3 & 2014-15). Should she win the Open this year, she will become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to hold all four titles - Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open - in one calendar year. As she is the defending US champion, she is well-poised to do so, and, along with her 2012 Olympic title, will be the current defending champion in the five major events. Her tournament started on track, despite a second-round scare and she sees herself into the next week - and facing her sister Venus in the quarterfinals.
Kazakhstan Dominates Asian Boxing
In Bangkok, the Asian Confederation Boxing Championships ended, with Kazakhstan topping the tournament with 42 overall points - and with nine boxers qualifying for the World Championships this fall in Doha. All semifinalists at the Championships qualified for the Worlds, as did the losing quarterfinalists whose opponents made it to the final. Thus, Uzbekistan will send 8 boxers to Doha, and India 6.