The five rings in a scene from the 2010 Games in Vancouver // photo Getty Images

The five rings in a scene from the 2010 Games in Vancouver // photo Getty Images

USOC

‘America’s bid,’ whichever city it is

The U.S. Olympic Committee formally announced Tuesday it intends to launch a bid for the 2024 Summer Games, by now the news equivalent of dog bites man. It has been evident for months the USOC would be in the game for the Games. The issue is what city, and when the USOC will finally announce its choice from among four: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston or Washington, D.C.

In that spirit, it’s so interesting that International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach is now making plans to attend Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona. Just imagining here: if you came all the way over from the IOC’s base in Switzerland to Arizona, wouldn’t USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, make for a handy place to ask all four U.S. bid cities to come for, say, a briefing on Agenda 2020, the IOC’s just-passed series of initiatives? Then again, if you were the IOC president spending a little time in the United States, of course you would meet with top-tier sponsors in New York — which would also do just fine, too, for a quiet rendezvous on the side with bid-city teams, right?

Eugene 2019 bid leader Vin Lananna presses the case to the IAAF while, to his right, USATF board chair Stephanie Hightower and chief executive Max Siegel listen in // photo courtesy IAAF

Eugene 2019 bid leader Vin Lananna presses the case to the IAAF while, to his right, USATF board chair Stephanie Hightower and chief executive Max Siegel listen in // photo courtesy IAAF

Track and field

When a two-vote loss is reason for optimism

MONACO — No, Eugene did not win the 2019 track and field world championships.

That it came within a swing of two votes, however — losing in the second round of voting to Doha, 15-12 — has to be seen as an encouraging sign on multiple fronts for U.S. interests, and in particular for USA Track & Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

ANOC boss Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah after the gala with, among others, American gold medalist and activist Donna De Varona (far right)

ANOC boss Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah after the gala with, among others, American gold medalist and activist Donna De Varona (far right)

IOC

Sheikh Ahmad at ANOC gala: “Our job is to make dreams come true”

BANGKOK — Far too often, Olympic meetings are tedious affairs in which reports that have already been passed out well ahead of time are then read out from the lectern, word for word, to those seated at banks of tables below. Little wonder time sometimes seems as if it is passing like molasses.

And then there is an affair like the more than 200-nation Assn. of National Olympic Committee meeting here in Bangkok, headed by the charismatic Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah of Kuwait, punctuated by Friday night’s first ANOC gala awards dinner, which may yet assume the role — which it clearly aims to be — of the Oscars of the Olympic sports world. Here was an assembly that, mostly, got it right. Starting with a focus on the athletes.

At the Eugene 2019 news conference: (left to right) IAAF general secretary Essar Gabriel; TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna;  IAAF vice president and evaluation commission chief Sebastian Coe; USA Track & Field chief executive Max Siegel; IAAF deputy general secretary and communications director Nick Davies

At the Eugene 2019 news conference: (left to right) IAAF general secretary Essar Gabriel; TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna; IAAF vice president and evaluation commission chief Sebastian Coe; USA Track & Field chief executive Max Siegel; IAAF deputy general secretary and communications director Nick Davies

Track and field

Eugene’s improbable 2019 bid: can it be a winner?

EUGENE, Oregon — It rained, hard, Sunday afternoon. Then, abruptly, it stopped. On Monday, no rain.

Was that random — or, you know, a sign from above that Eugene’s audacious bid for the 2019 track and field world championships is somehow feeling the heavenly love, too? Is this all just cosmic destiny, or what?

Norway's Petter Northug at the Sochi Games // photo Getty Images

Norway's Petter Northug at the Sochi Games // photo Getty Images

Swimming

The Phelps suspension: why the rush to judgment?

Cross-country ski champion Petter Northug was sentenced last Thursday in court in Norway to 50 days behind bars after being convicted of drunk driving. Which brings us to Michael Phelps, the 24/7 media spin cycle we live in and the rush to judgment that led to the significant suspension USA Swimming levied against Phelps for his recent DUI arrest in Baltimore.

What was to be gained by USA Swimming rushing to this judgment? More — what was lost by waiting?