Mexico's Mario Vazquez Raña // photo courtesy OEM

Mexico's Mario Vazquez Raña // photo courtesy OEM

IOC

Mario Vazquez Raña dies: the passing of an era

Mario Vazquez Raña of Mexico died Sunday. He was 82. With him goes an era.

Don Mario was indisputably the most important man in the Olympic movement in the entire western hemisphere. His ways may have been old-fashioned but his love for the movement and the so-called “Olympic family” were unquestioned. His counsel served International Olympic Committee presidents Juan Antonio Samaranch and Jacques Rogge. His jet, too.

Tiger Woods in the ski mask, all incognito-like in a skeleton-patterned ski mask, in the finish area at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy // photo Getty Images

Tiger Woods in the ski mask, all incognito-like in a skeleton-patterned ski mask, in the finish area at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy // photo Getty Images

Olympics

Kobe, Tiger, Lindsey, Rita, First Amendment and more

A quick quiz. How are Kobe Bryant and I alike? For starters, let’s count the ways in which we’re not: he makes $25 million a year, has a cool nickname — Black Mamba — along with a way better jump shot and can dunk. The world has to be different for people who can dunk. I wouldn’t know.

That two-handed dunk Wednesday night, in the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss (another loss) to the New Orleans Pelicans, apparently proved too much. Like me — aha! — he has a bad right shoulder. Him: torn rotator cuff. Me: torn labrum. Me: surgery last Thursday (thank you, Dr. Keith Feder). Kobe: got examined Friday, and now will be examined again Monday, probably out for the season if he, too, needs surgery.

USOC board chairman Larry Probst at Friday's news conference in Boston // Getty Images

USOC board chairman Larry Probst at Friday's news conference in Boston // Getty Images

Boston 2024

A wink, a nod, an op-ed, insurance, so many questions

Give the U.S. Olympic Committee credit. For years, as the dismal results from the New York 2012 and Chicago 2016 votes proved, it simply was not effectively in the Olympic bid game.

What it needed was a wink and a nod, a high sign if you will, from the International Olympic Committee, that the IOC not only wanted a city to bid from the USOC, but which city. The USOC got that last week when IOC president Thomas Bach wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe two days before the USOC picked its city for the 2024 Summer Games. It picked Boston.

The Boston skyline from across Boston harbor // Getty Images

The Boston skyline from across Boston harbor // Getty Images

USOC

USOC, in it to win it, picks Boston for 2024

In deciding Thursday which city it wanted to put forward for the 2024 Summer Games, there were many considerations the U.S. Olympic Committee had to take into account. Ultimately, though, only one truly mattered: the USOC is in it to win it. It picked Boston.

Nearly two years ago, the USOC started with roughly three dozen cities. It winnowed that many to four: Boston, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco. All along, the Boston plan — despite vocal local opposition and uncertainties about basics such as an Olympic stadium — captured the imagination of USOC leadership and staff.

He Zhenliang, the former IOC vice president, in 2008 // Getty Images

He Zhenliang, the former IOC vice president, in 2008 // Getty Images

IOC

The legacy of China’s He Zhenliang

The Olympic movement is all about changing the world. Very few people actually effect such change. Everything you see now that reflects China the important player on the world sports stage — all of that is, in some piece big or small, the work of He Zhenliang, a former International Olympic Committee vice president who died Sunday at age 85.

Mr. He, as it seemed everyone in Olympic circles called him, was a remarkable man. He was not only the bridgehead, as David Miller pointed out Monday in the Olympic newsletter Sport Intern, but then the bridge between China and the world outside. There have been tributes, and appropriately, from around the world. Yet those tributes have missed, or glossed over, the tribulations and complexities that helped shape Mr. He.