Los Angeles, Paris Await Olympic Inspectors In 2024 Race

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
GENEVA (AP) -- Los Angeles and Paris, both already seen as winning options for the 2024 Games, await their Olympic inspectors this week.

The cities will host three-day visits by an International Olympic Committee panel, whose chairman has no doubt about their hosting credentials.

"I think today at least you can already say, either way, we will have fantastic Olympic Games," IOC evaluation commission chairman Patrick Baumann told The Associated Press.

IOC President Thomas Bach seems so sure of the candidates' qualities that he asked his four vice presidents for advice on also bringing the 2028 Olympics into play, rewarding both cities with hosting duties. That guidance is due in July, so Baumann's 13-member group will press on with scheduled work in Los Angeles starting Wednesday, then in Paris from Sunday. Each visit ends with Baumann taking questions at a news conference.

"There is no change in the scope and the role and the mandate," Baumann said of the possible dual award affecting his eventual report to IOC members.

In the typically secretive world of Olympics elections, it is unclear how many voting members are swayed by the type of report they will get from Baumann's team on July 5.

IOC inspections typically do not rank candidate cities, and a more flexible evaluation process introduced for the 2024 contest will look to stress the positives. The IOC says it will also publish the report on its website.

"It is not about finding the black spot," Baumann, an IOC member from Switzerland, said in a recent interview. "It is, of course, to highlight challenges if there are, but also and mainly to highlight the opportunities."

Baumann acknowledged that the "differences are going to be extremely small" between two obviously world-class cities.

Still, the Olympic hosting model has been burned by recent high-spending and budget-busting hosts. Baumann cautioned that "realistic financing" is a key factor to avoid an unwanted legacy of tax hikes and white elephant venues.

A privately funded Los Angeles project also differs from a more European model in Paris that looks to some taxpayer money toward projected spending of 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) on new venues and buildings.

France's President-elect, Emmanuel Macron, will be inaugurated Sunday in Paris when the IOC team starts work. Olympic bidders need federal support for security operations.

Macron will take over from Francois Hollande, whose strong backing for the Paris bid included traveling to meet Bach in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Macron's election has spared Paris officials from questions about how a far-right presidency of Marine Le Pen might play with the IOC. Its global pool of members includes one from Syria, which is targeted for a travel ban from Muslim-majority countries by President Donald Trump.

Still, bid cities rely more on city mayors than state presidents, and Paris has put civic leader Anne Hidalgo at the heart of its campaign.

In political terms, Baumann noted that the two bids come from countries that are "organized differently in sports terms." He pointed to his experience staging events in the United States and France as secretary general of basketball's governing body, FIBA.

"That doesn't diminish in any way one bid versus the other, it's just different," the Swiss official said. "That difference is something that also the IOC membership needs to understand."

About 88 of the current 95 IOC members are entitled to choose the 2024 host in a vote scheduled for Sept. 13 in Lima, Peru. American and French members will be barred from voting, and others have recused themselves while under investigation.

Plans could change during politicking from July 9-12 in Lausanne.

First, a two-day meeting of the IOC executive board will hear the vice presidents' advice. Bid leaders from LA and Paris will then make separate presentations to IOC members.

By the evening of July 12 it could be clear if both Los Angeles and Paris will win in a doubled-up 2024-2028 contest -- though in which order may be unresolved. Neither city has offered to take the later option.

For Baumann, the two cities' aims should stay the same for the next week, and next decade.

"How are you going deliver a great experience for the athletes?" Baumann said. "How are you going deliver a great experience for the fans? And how are you going to deliver on the legacy of the promises and the ideas that the bid committee has put on paper?"

Event Finals Qualifiers - 2018 Junior Pan American Championships

Christy Ann Linder

Below are the gymnasts who qualified for the individual event finals at the 2018 Junior Pan American Championships, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The finals will be held Friday, June 15. The top eight gymnasts on each event, with a maximum of two gymnasts per country, qualify for event finals. 

USA, Bowers Strike Gold At 2018 Junior Pan Am Championships

USA Gymnastics

Press release below via USA Gymnastics:

2019 Nastia Liukin Cup Series Qualifying Meets Announced

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Press release below via USA Gymnastics:

Wong, Bowers Lead Top USA Junior Women In The 2018 Pan American Champs

Christy Ann Linder

The 2018 Junior Pan American Championships takes place this week, with competition starting on June 13 and concluding on June 15 in Buenos Aires. The event includes a team final, all-around final, and event finals for both the men and women. Team USA is sending top juniors Jordan Bowers, JaFree Scott, Tori Tatum, and Leanne Wong. 

Team USA Set For Junior Pan American Championships

Team USA is set to compete at the Junior Pan American Championships this week in Buenos Aires. The men's and women's competition will be held June 13-15 and consists of a team competition as well as individual all-around and event competitions.

A New Mentality For Kyla Ross In UCLA's Title-Winning Season

Kyla Ross has competed on some of the biggest stages in elite gymnastics—the Olympic Games in London, the World Championships in Belgium and China. She was a two-time world all-around medalist and was the silver medalist at back-to-back national championships.

Opinion: The Engaged, Strategic Leadership That USA Gymnastics Needs

© Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

For over a year now, USA Gymnastics has been operating in a state of turmoil from the backlash of Larry Nassar’s horrific crimes. What started as the largest sex abuse scandal in sports history has evolved to show major flaws in the way that the national governing body for gymnastics is run. They have been through a wave of resignations at the highest levels: the president of USAG, the national team coordinator, and the senior vice president of the Women’s Program, to name a few. 

Utah To Host 2018 American Classic And Hopes Classic

Press release below via USA Gymnastics.

More Difficulty Leads To Consistency For Nebraska's Sienna Crouse

Nebraska Athletics

Sienna Crouse’s favorite event is vault.

Most Difficulty In The 2018 NCAA Super Six: Vault Edition

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

In our fourth and final installment on the most difficulty in the 2018 NCAA Super Six, we are taking a look at vault. Specifically, we're analyzing which teams had the most 10.0 start value vaults. In 2016, the Yurchenko full was devalued to a 9.95 start value, and many teams since then have reacted by upping the difficulty of the vaults their gymnasts compete. We have seen more Yurchenko 1.5s and even Yurchenko doubles.