Blog Posts by Maggie Hendricks

  • D.C. latest city to plan bid for 2024 Olympics

    (Getty)Washington, D.C., is the latest city to throw its hat in the ring for the 2024 Olympics. A group called D.C. 2024 was unveiled to explore the idea of the Olympics coming to the nation's capitol.

    “I think great cities honestly think great thoughts and think big-picture,” Bob Sweeney head of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance said to the Washington Post. “It doesn’t get any bigger than this.”

    First, D.C. will have to beat out other U.S. cities in the eyes of the USOC. Dallas, Boston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia have all started the bid process.

    But D.C. has some ground to make up to the other U.S. cities. They're months behind cities like Boston and Los Angeles and they have to work on experience and fundraising. In preparing a bid, cities bid to host international sporting events to show their readiness. Boston was recently awarded the 2016 figure skating world championships, which could be a key event in their bid. L.A. regularly hosts international events, and their 1984 Olympics ushered in a new era of Olympic host city success.

    The United States bid on the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and lost both times in embarrassing fashion. When it came time to bid for 2020, the United States decided to sit the bidding process out because of a now-resolved disagreement with the IOC over television revenues. The 2020 Olympics will go to Istanbul, Madrid or Tokyo, with the decision coming in just a few weeks.

    New York and Chicago, the losing bid cities in 2012 and 2016, both declined to get back in the bid game. The costs to hosting the Olympics are part of the reason why. The USOC said it costs nearly $3 billion, which doesn't include the price of building new venues. Depending on what already is in place in a city, the true price is closer to $5 or 6 billion.

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  • (Getty)

    Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firov won a world championship as a part of the 4x400m relay team at the IAAF track championships in Moscow. They edged out the American and British teams for the gold. While on the medal stand, they kissed to protest their own country's anti-gay propaganda laws.

    This isn't the first protest of Russia's laws that penalize anyone for talking about homosexuality in front of children, but it's the most visible one done by Russian athletes. U.S. runner Nick Symmonds dedicated his silver medal in the 800m to his gay friends back home, and Swedish high jumper Emma Green Tregaro painted her nails in a rainbow in honor of LGBT pride.

    Russian pole-vaulting legend Yelena Isinbayva criticized Tregaro for her protest.

    "We consider ourselves, like normal, standard people, we just live boys with women, girls with boys... it comes from the history," Isinbayeva said.

    Later, she said her comments were misunderstood because English isn't her first language. She regularly speaks English to reporters.

    "But let me make it clear I respect the views of my fellow athletes, and let me state in the strongest terms that I am opposed to any discrimination against gay people on the grounds of their sexuality (which is against the Olympic charter)."

    The words spoken by Isinbayeva are not nearly as powerful as the protest of two young women kissing on the medal stand. One of the reasons many LGBT sports leaders are against a boycott of the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, Russia, is because more can be accomplished by LGBT athletes and their allies standing atop the medal stand with pride. Ryzhova and Firov put that idea into action in Moscow.

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  • (Getty)Figure skater Johnny Weir is gay, married to a man of Russian descent, and hoping to skate for the U.S. in Sochi. Russia's anti-gay laws hit him close to home. Weir knows if he makes the U.S. team, he will be in danger of being arrested when he competes in Sochi.

    This doesn't deter him from wanting to make his third Olympics. Weir said if he is arrested for the better treatment of the LGBT community in Russia, "so be it."

    "If it takes me getting arrested for people to pay attention, and for people to lobby against this law, then I'm willing to take it," he said to CBS, adding: "Like anyone, I'm scared to be arrested. But I'm also not afraid of being arrested."

    The laws passed in Russia bar discussion of gay rights and relationships anywhere children might hear. This means Weir couldn't discuss, much less appear with, his own husband in public. He said he won't make any public display of affection or wear a rainbow pin.

    Russian officials have been vague on whether these laws will be in effect in Sochi during the Olympics. While some leaders in the gay community have called for a boycott -- or the preposterous idea of moving the Olympics six months before they are to start -- Weir has joined other LGBT sports leaders in rejecting this idea.

    Weir is not guaranteed a spot on the U.S. team. There are only two spots available for men, and he hasn't skated in a competition since he took fourth at the Finlandia Trophy competition in October. A hip injury forced him to withdraw from other grand prix events and the U.S. championships. The U.S. 2014 Olympic team will be decided in January.

    Thanks, OutSports.

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  • George Takei would like the Olympics moved

    With six months until Olympics, some are calling for games to be moved. (Getty)

    Russia's continued stance against the LGBT community has drawn considerable interest. The Olympics are scheduled to start there in six months, and Russia has continued to stand strong on their anti-gay laws. Some supporters are calling for a delusional plan for the Olympics to be moved.

    British actor Stephen Fry and George Takei, who is best known for his role as Sulu on "Star Trek," have both made a plea for the Olympics to be moved. Fry wants Russia "banned from the Olympics, while Takei offers Vancouver, which hosted the last Winter Olympics, as a replacement. He signed a petition with over 40,000 signatures.

    With all regards to Takei, trying to move the Olympics to another continent six months before the games begin is delusional. There is not another sporting event that is as big or demanding as the Olympics. The logistics take years of planning. This is why the IOC awards a bid seven years in advance, and why a plan must be in place even when a bid is presented. Without the help of a transporter from the Starship Enterprise, the Olympics aren't going anywhere.

    The Olympics will not be moved, and if they were, that would leave behind the LGBT community in Russia still suffering under the country's laws. The smarter petition was one demanding the IOC stand up to Russia and repeal their anti-gay propaganda and laws. It had 320,000 signatures and was handed to the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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  • One one-hundredth of a second kept the United States men's medley relay team from winning at the world championships on Sunday in Spain. Though the team handily won the race, they were disqualified for Kevin Cordes leaving the blocks .01 of a second too early.

    At 1:10 in the video, Cordes' error happens. As backstroker Matt Grevers came in to touch the wall, Cordes made a fast dive into the water to swim the breast stroke. Sensors on the blocks monitor the switch between legs of a relay. They allow for a swimmer to leave as early as .03 of a second, but Cordes jumped

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  • Mo Farah challenges Usain Bolt to a race the world of track and field needs

    (Getty)Usain Bolt is at the top of his game. The six-time Olympic gold medalist has mastered the sprint, holding the world records in both the 100m and 200m. What else could challenge the Jamaican star?

    British gold medalist Mo Farah thinks he has the answer. Farah, who won gold in London in the 5,000m and 10,000m runs, wants Bolt to try distance running.

    "It'd be great to be able to do a distance where people vote in what distance will be suitable, and then get a judge and then come in the middle with that distance and train for it," Farah said to the Associated Press after winning the 3,000m at the Anniversary Games. "Bolt, are you up for that? Come on, you got to do it."

    (Getty)Bolt, who made his entrance at the Anniversary Games in London in a rocket ship, said he's up for it.

    "That sounds fun. It's going to be hard, but for me it's charity, so it's just all about fun and enjoyment," Bolt said. "For me, I'm up for anything if it's possible."

    With three years until the next Summer Olympics, there is time for the two Olympians to have a little fun on the track. It would also be a way to bring interest back to track and field after the sport has experienced a rough patch.

    Several stars of the sport, including American Tyson Gay, and Jamaican gold medalists Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown, have been suspended for doping allegations. Injury is keeping Yohan Blake, Caster Semenya and possibly Jessica Ennis-Hill from the world championships starting Aug. 10 in Moscow.

    While the decision on distance may take some negotiation, the two could help both their sport and a charity. Make it happen, gentlemen.

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  • Some Olympic medals will come from outer space

    A look at what Olympic medalists will receive in February (R-Sport)On Feb. 15, 2013, a meteor entered Russian air space and crashed into Chelyabinsk. Nearly 1,500 people were injured after the blast from the impact broke so many windows. It left behind a reminder of its impact with pieces of meteor sprinkled over Chelyabinsk.

    On Feb. 15, 2014, Russia will be in the middle of hosting the Winter Olympics. Any medals awarded that day will have chunks of the meteor embedded in them.

    “We will hand out our medals to all the athletes who will win gold on that day, because both the meteorite strike and the Olympic Games are the global events,” Chelyabinsk Region Culture Minister Alexei Betekhtin said, according to R-Sport.

    Host cities and countries are known to leave their mark on the medals handed out. Beijing's medals used jade, a stone identified with China. Lilliehammer, Norway's gave medals of sparagmite in 1994. The stone is native to Scandinavia.

    Seven medals will be awarded on the 15th of February, with medals in events in Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, skeleton, ski-jumping and speedskating. Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn is expected to compete that day, so she could home with a super-special meteor medal.

    Thanks, Olympics Talk.

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  • Fight breaks out between former partners at badminton match

    It's always tough for former teammates to face each other on the playing field. In the case of Thai badminton player Maneepong Jongit and Bodin Issara, their tensions boiled over into a fist fight as they faced each other at the Canadian Open over the weekend.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, both men were given warnings because of their smack talk during the match. As you can see in the video above, Issara went after Jongit, chased him down to the next court, and landed several punches before the fight was broken up. Jongit and his partner Nipitphon Puangpuapech won the match, Issara was disqualified, and the Badminton World Federation is investigating.

    Issara and Jongit were teammates as juniors and moved to the senior level together. They were teammates at the London Olympics. They looked more like MMA partners in this match.

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  • Tyson Gay is among the sprinters who tested positive. (Getty)Tyson Gay, who won silver in London for the U.S. in the 4x100m relay, was one of three track and field stars who admitted they tested positive for banned substances. Asafa Powell, who won gold for Jamaica in the Beijing Olympics, and Sherone Simpson, a three-time Olympic medalist from Jamaica, were the other two. This comes on the heels of the positive test last month by Jamaican gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown.

    Track and field world championships are next month in Moscow, and both Gay and Powell said they will not compete. Gay's B-sample still has to be tested, but he promised to take his punishment. He said he put his trust in the wrong person.

    “I don’t have any lies,” Gay told The Associated Press on Sunday. “I don’t have anything to say to make this seem like it was a mistake. I will take whatever punishment I get like a man. I do realize and respect what I put in my body, and it is my responsibility.”

    On Monday, Italian police raided the hotel rooms of Powell and Simpson and seized substances that will be tested to find out if they are illegal.

    This could not come at a worse time for track and field. Campbell-Brown's positive test was front page news in sprint-crazy Jamaica, the home of world record sprinter Usain Bolt. Now Simpson and Powell are in the same predicament. Gay is the most talented and well-known sprinter the U.S. has to offer, and now he won't be at the world championships.

    Read More »from Accomplished track Olympians Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Sherrone Simpson test positive for banned substances
  • Broke Olympic speedskating hopeful raises more than $17,000

    (USA Today Sports Images)The hard truth of training to be an Olympian doesn't just involve the sacrifice of time, blood, sweat and tears. Most Olympic hopefuls also sacrifice financially. Outside of the marquee athletes in top sports, many struggle to pay the bills.

    USA Today profiled speedskater Emily Scott, who took second at the short track national championships in December. Scott's stipend from the U.S. Speedskating Association was cut from $1,950 to $600 this month, and she has applied for food stamps as well as picked up a part time job at a factory.

    "The last thing you want to be worried about in a year like this is being able to pay your rent and eat, and you want to eat healthy," she said at lunch as she twirled a spoon in a bowl of soup. "That was pretty hard. ... But I'm not the only one suffering."

    Unlike every other Olympic committee on the planet, the United State government does not give any financial support to its athletes. American Olympians get their support from corporate sponsors and private donations.

    But there is good news. Since USA Today's story ran this morning, Scott has raised more than $17,000 on her Go Fund Me page. She said thank you was not enough:

    I know that Thank You is not enough but sincerely, Thank You to everyone that has donated and everyone for just believing in me. I promise that I will give 110% every single day. Every single one of you are truly a blessing to me, Thank You.

    If you want to help Scott continue the United States' successful streak in speedskating, you can donate here.

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