Olympic vot­ers weigh Trump ef­fect on Los Angeles 2024 bid

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion as US pres­i­dent has the po­ten­tial to in­flu­ence Los Angeles’ chances of host­ing the 2024 Olympics. For bet­ter or worse.

Some In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee mem­bers — who will choose be­tween Los Angeles, Paris and Bu­dapest, Hun­gary, in a vote next Septem­ber — cited pos­si­ble pros and cons on Wed­nes­day of Trump’s role in the Amer­i­can bid.

As a po­lar­is­ing pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, Trump’s words on Mus­lims, Mex­i­cans and other is­sues could have of­fended some of the 98 IOC mem­bers from around the world who will se­lect the host city.

At the same time, Pound did not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity that Trump could help win votes if he trav­els to Lima, Peru, in Septem­ber to pitch the Los Angeles bid in per­son to the IOC ahead of the se­cret bal­lot.

South African IOC mem­ber Sam Ram­samy, whose coun­try has been de­scribed by Trump as a “very dan­ger­ous mess,” dis­missed any lin­ger­ing ef­fect with 10 months left be­fore the 2024 Olympic vote.

“He has been rude to ev­ery­body,” Ram­samy told the AP. “I don’t be­lieve it will af­fect bid­ding in any way.”

In a state­ment Wed­nes­day con­grat­u­lat­ing Trump, the Los Angeles 2024 bid com­mit­tee said the Olympics can “tran­scend pol­i­tics and can help unify our di­verse com­mu­ni­ties and our world.”

Cit­ing 88 per­cent sup­port for its bid, the com­mit­tee pointed to strong bi­par­ti­san sup­port at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment.

“We look for­ward to work­ing closely with Pres­i­dent-elect Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion across the fed­eral gov­ern­ment” to de­liver a suc­cess­ful Olympics, the state­ment said.

IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach of­fered a brief state­ment to the AP on Trump’s elec­tion.

“Let me con­grat­u­late Pres­i­den­t­elect Trump on his vic­tory and wish him all the best for his term in of­fice for all the peo­ple of the United States and of the world,” he said.

Swiss IOC mem­ber Rene Fasel sug­gested that if Trump spoke of­fen­sively dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial race, it was a tac­tic to woo vot­ers that worked.

“You saw his speech to­day and it’s al­ready a dif­fer­ent man,” Fasel said, cit­ing Trump’s first pub­lic ad­dress as pres­i­dent-elect which sought to be more in­clu­sive.

While Trump has lit­tle track record with the Olympic move­ment, his op­po­nent, Hil­lary Clin­ton, was a sup­porter of New York’s failed bid for the 2012 Games and has at­tended sev­eral Olympics. She was First Lady when the US last hosted the Sum­mer Games — in At­lanta in 1996.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama went to the IOC vote in Copen­hagen in 2009 to sup­port Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics. Chicago was still elim­i­nated in the first round, with the games awarded to Rio de Janeiro.

Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign has some close ties to Los Angeles bid lead­ers. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is a Demo­crat who spoke at the Demo­cratic Party con­ven­tion in July which for­mally nom­i­nated Clin­ton. Bid chair­man Casey Wasser­man was also a prom­i­nent Clin­ton backer.

Garcetti ac­knowl­edged in an AP in­ter­view in Au­gust dur­ing the Rio de Janeiro Olympics that some IOC mem­bers could be turned off by a Trump vic­tory.

“I think for some of the IOC mem­bers they would say, ‘Wait a sec­ond, can we go to a coun­try like that, where we’ve heard things that we take of­fense to?” Garcetti said then.

Garcetti re­mains more im­por­tant to the bid than Trump, ac­cord­ing to Amer­i­can IOC ex­ec­u­tive board mem­ber Anita DeFrantz.

“It’s the city that hosts the games, and it’s the mayor that signs the doc­u­ments. It is not the pres­i­dent,” DeFrantz told The AP in Lau­sanne on Wed­nes­day.

Pound be­lieves Los Angeles lead­ers will ur­gently want to meet with Trump to see if he is “an en­thu­si­as­tic sup­porter of this ven­ture or not.”

“Your most im­por­tant cam­paign is at home,” Pound said, sug­gest­ing that IOC vot­ers and Olympic sports lead­ers can be swayed closer to elec­tion day. “The road­show only hap­pens in the last few months.”

Be­fore that fi­nal stretch of cam­paign­ing, the city’s big­gest ri­val — Paris — could have its own do­mes­tic pol­i­tics to ex­plain.

In May, France elects a pres­i­dent in a con­test many pre­dict will in­clude far-right can­di­date Marine Le Pen among the two can­di­dates in a sec­ond round of vot­ing.

Fukushima to host some base­ball, soft­ball games at '20 Games

Tokyo Olympic or­gan­is­ers agreed Wed­nes­day to hold some of the base­ball and soft­ball com­pe­ti­tion of the 2020 Games in Fukushima, the re­gion dev­as­tated by the 2011 earth­quake, tsunami and nu­clear disaster.

While the pri­mary venue for base­ball and soft­ball is ex­pected to be Yoko­hama Sta­dium, sev­eral cities in Fukushima are be­ing con­sid­ered for games in the pre­lim­i­nary rounds.

Hold­ing Olympic events in the disaster-af­fected ar­eas could send a pow­er­ful mes­sage of re­con­struc­tion.

Fukushima Gov­er­nor Masao Uchi­bori met with or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee pres­i­dent Yoshiro Mori on Wed­nes­day.

“We will now work with the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee to de­cide on the lo­ca­tion and do ev­ery­thing we can to make the event a suc­cess in Fukushima Pre­fec­ture,” Uchi­bori said.

In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach met with Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe last month and sug­gested stag­ing some events in the area.

Ric­cardo Frac­cari, pres­i­dent of the World Base­ball Soft­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion, is sched­uled to visit Ja­pan next week for an in­spec­tion tour.

Tokyo or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee spokes­woman Hikariko Ono said the IOC will make a fi­nal de­ci­sion on the lo­ca­tion in Fukushima Pre­fec­ture at its Dec. 6-8 ex­ec­u­tive board meet­ing.

Base­ball and soft­ball were dropped from the Olympics af­ter Bei­jing 2008 but are among five sports added to the pro­gram for the Tokyo Games.

Mediter­ranean Games post­poned a year, will be held in 2018

The Mediter­ranean Games have been post­poned un­til 2018 be­cause of fund­ing problems caused by Spain's po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion.

Span­ish of­fi­cials say the games orig­i­nally sched­uled for next year in the north­east­ern re­gion of Tar­rag­ona will now be held in 2018 from June 22-July 1.

The de­ci­sion was made to give or­ga­niz­ers and of­fi­cials more time to get the event prop­erly funded.

Spain en­dured 10 months of po­lit­i­cal im­passe fol­low­ing two in­con­clu­sive elec­tions, hurt­ing the gov­ern­ment's abil­ity to ap­prove bud­gets.

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