Olympics

Nearly half of unbeaten U.S. women's field hockey team from Pennsylvania

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Associated Press

Nearly half of unbeaten U.S. women's field hockey team from Pennsylvania

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Take a glance at the Olympic roster for the United States women's field hockey team, and you'll notice a recurring theme -- 12 of the 25 players on the undefeated squad are from Pennsylvania.

The state's success in the sport goes back decades. Beth Anders, the leading overall women's scorer at the 1984 Olympics, is from Norristown. Ten of the 16 players on that bronze-medal winning team were from Pennsylvania.

The Americans now seek their first medal since that run in Los Angeles. They play Britain on Saturday to determine which team will win Pool B. After that, they'll play in the quarterfinals.

If the United States returns to the podium, the Keystone State will have played a major role. The top American standouts at this year's games -- forward Katie Bam (Blue Bell) and goalie Jackie Briggs (Robesonia) -- are from there.

"To a large degree, it's self-fulfilling," USA field hockey executive director Simon Hoskins said. "The elite players become elite coaches in that area, and they help develop the next generation of athletes. It's been a virtuous cycle of ever-improving hockey, and now we're at this level that -- we can compete with anyone. We're world-beaters right now, which is great to see."

Other players on the roster from Pennsylvania are Ali Campbell (Gilbertsville), Lauren Crandall (Doylestown), Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg), Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville), Alyssa Manley (Lititz), sisters Julia and Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie), Paige Selenski (Shavertown), Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic) and Jill Witmer (Lancaster). All are from the eastern third of the state.

Pennsylvania's success prompted the national program to move its headquarters to Lancaster in 2013. U.S. coach Craig Parnham said the training site was moved from Chula Vista, California, so the players could train together and build camaraderie while being close to family and friends. The facility, about a 90-minute drive from Philadelphia, is appropriately named the "Home of Hockey."

Pennsylvania has the infrastructure to help young players develop -- Bam said she had a stick in her hands when she was 3 and began playing at 7. The Pennsylvania group grew up in the culture, which has only become stronger as it has blossomed together.

"I think the competition when you're growing up breeds it," Falgowski said. "I think always playing at a high level against good competition -- a lot of us grew up playing against each other. I think 10, 20 years of doing that together really raises the bar, and the competitive spirit within us really wants to challenge each other and play as best we can."

Pennsylvania is so heavily represented at the games, in part, because the sport hasn't caught on to the same degree beyond the east coast.

That could change in the future. Hoskins said USA Field Hockey has grown from a 15,000-member organization to 25,000 in the past five years, with most of the growth in places such as Chicago, St. Louis and Houston and parts of California and Colorado.

"Our mission is to serve our members, grow the game and compete internationally," he said. "By succeeding internationally, by performing in the Olympic Games, by exposing our beautiful sport to more people across America, we would love it to grow, and make it a great way to inspire young female and male athletes to play our game."

Los Angeles reaches deal with Olympic leaders for 2028 Games

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USA Today Images

Los Angeles reaches deal with Olympic leaders for 2028 Games

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles has reached an agreement with international Olympic leaders that will open the way for the city to host the 2028 Summer Games.

City Council President Herb Wesson's office confirmed the deal Monday.

Spokeswoman Caolinn Mejza says the pact is expected to be reviewed by the council later this week.

The agreement to be formally announced later Monday follows a vote earlier this month by the International Olympic Committee to seek a deal to award the 2024 and 2028 Games.

Paris is the only city left to host the 2024 Games.

The arrangement would make L.A. a three-time Olympic city, after hosting the 1932 and 1984 Games.

L.A. and Paris were the last two bids remaining after a tumultuous process that exposed the unwillingness of cities to bear the financial burden of hosting an event that has become synonymous with cost overruns.

L.A. was not even the first American entrant in the contest. Boston withdrew two years ago as public support for its bid collapsed over concerns about use of taxpayer cash. The U.S. bid switched from the east to the West Coast as L.A. entered the race.

But the same apprehensions that spooked politicians and the local population in Boston soon became evident in Europe where three cities pulled out.

Uncomfortably for IOC President Thomas Bach, whose much-vaunted Agenda 2020 reforms were designed to make hosting more streamlined and less costly after the lavish 2014 Sochi Games, the first withdrawal came from his homeland of Germany.

The lack of political unity for a bid in Hamburg was mirrored in Rome and Budapest as support for bids waned among local authorities and the population. It was clear they did not want to be saddled with skyrocketing bills for hosting the Olympics without reaping many of the economic benefits anticipated.

Just like in the depleted field for the 2022 Winter Games which saw Beijing defeat Almaty, the IOC was left with only two candidates again.

With two powerful cities left vying for 2024, Bach realized France or the U.S. could be deterred from going through another contest for 2028 if they lost. Bach floated the idea in December of making revisions to the bidding process to prevent it producing "too many losers," building support that led to L.A. and Paris being able to figure out themselves how to share the 2024 and 2028 Games.

The dual award of the games relieves the IOC of having to test the global interest in hosting the Summer Olympics for several years until the 2032 Games are up for grabs.

Ryan Lochte rushed by 2 men on 'Dancing With the Stars' stage

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AP

Ryan Lochte rushed by 2 men on 'Dancing With the Stars' stage

LOS ANGELES -- Ryan Lochte says he feels "a little hurt" after two men were arrested for allegedly rushing the stage following his performance on "Dancing with the Stars."

The two men, wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts, were arrested on suspicion of criminal trespassing, Los Angeles police spokesman Officer Mike Lopez said.

They had rushed the stage while Lochte was getting his scores from judge Carrie Ann Inaba for his debut performance during Monday night's live installment of the celebrity ballroom dance competition.

"Hey, back off," Inaba said as the altercation was occurring off screen.

When the show returned, "Dancing with the Stars" host Tom Bergeron explained they were interrupted by "a little incident" and thanked the ABC series' security team "for staying in shape."

The two men were detained by security until police arrived to take them into custody, Los Angeles police spokesman Mike Lopez said. He did not have the men's names.

No one was injured or listed as a victim in the incident, Lopez said.

The swimmer told Bergeron that "so many feelings are going through my head right now." Lochte added that he was "a little hurt, but I came out here. I wanted to do something I'm completely not comfortable with, and I did."

ABC did not immediately return messages seeking comment about the incident.

During the episode, the Olympic medalist performed a foxtrot routine with professional partner Cheryl Burke to "Call Me Irresponsible." They received a combined score from the judges of 24 out of 40.

Lochte and teammates have seen scorn from some since they were involved in an early-morning drunken encounter during the Olympics last month at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They later claimed they were threatened and robbed. United States team officials banned Lochte for 10 months, requiring him to forfeit $100,000 in bonuses and miss the 2017 world championships.