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Italy wins bid to host 2026 Winter Olympics

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Italy wins bid to host 2026 Winter Olympics

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Italy will host the 2026 Olympics in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, taking the Winter Games to the Alpine country for the second time in 20 years.

International Olympic Committee members voted for the long-favored Milan-Cortina bid over Stockholm-Are from Sweden that also included a bobsled track in Latvia.

Milan-Cortina's jubilant delegation broke into chants of "Italia! Italia!" when the result was announced.

Italy last hosted in Turin in 2006, and the Alpine ski resort Cortina previously hosted the Winter Games in 1956.

Sweden's spirited late campaign effort was in vain, including the mayor of Stockholm appealing to voters from the stage by singing a lyric from Abba song `Dancing Queen'.

A sign of simmering Swedish frustration came minutes later when IOC board member Gunilla Lindberg pushed the limit of Olympic diplomacy ending her team's 30-minute presentation.

Lindberg challenged her colleagues to reward a new kind of creative, cost-effective bid the IOC has said it wanted -- "Or is it just talk?"

Instead, IOC members picked Italy despite a debt-hit economy which faces increasing European Union scrutiny.

"We submit with full confidence to your judgment," Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told voters.

Both candidates would likely have failed to get this far in previous Olympic bidding contests.

The IOC has relaxed previously strict rules that demanded financial guarantees and government support earlier in the process.

It was an attempt to revive Winter Games bidding with just two candidates on the ballot paper for the second straight time, since Russia spent $51 billion on venues and infrastructure for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Now, the IOC seeks to avoid costly new venues -- and potential white elephants -- while encouraging regions and multi-nation bids to share the load. Hence, Sweden teamed with Latvia, across the Baltic Sea, rather than build its ice sliding sports venue.

"We have budget problems in Italy but I think that this is something that everyone has," Italy Undersecretary of State Giancarlo Giorgetti said at an earlier news conference, citing the wealth of the Lombardy and Veneto provinces underwriting the games costs.

"They are two of the richest provinces in Europe," Giorgetti said. "They certainly have the capacity, they have the readiness, they have the finances in order to be able to support the event."

The IOC will contribute at least $925 million toward Italy's games operating costs of up to $1.7 billion. Building athlete villages in Milan and Stockholm shaped as the main capital investment and most uncertain ventures in the projects.

Last week, the IOC flagged Stockholm's village as a risk, and asked for more details of guarantees underwriting the project.

"A letter of intent is as important to us as any contract," Volvo chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said in the formal presentation, in what seemed a rebuke to the Olympic body.

The day-long meetings began with each bid in closed-door sessions with IOC members. The Swedish bid was challenged to prove its support from a Stockholm city authority coalition formed last October and a national government only five months ago.

Sweden Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said he assured voters "it's in the Swedish model, it's in our DNA" to deliver a stable Winter Games.

Still, a big plus for the Italian bid -- uniting Milan, the Alpine ski resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, and several towns in between -- was the IOC's own polling. It found support from local residents around 85% compared to 60% in Sweden.

The 2026 contest meets the IOC President Thomas Bach's long-stated wish to return to traditional heartlands for winter sports after major construction projects from 2014-2022 in Russia, South Korea, and China.

The signature Swedish feature using the ice sliding sports track in Sigulda, Latvia, that meets the IOC's demand to use established sports venues.

The IOC has praised both candidates for projecting sports budgets "on average 20% lower" than spending on the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and 2022 Beijing Olympics.

During the traditionally slick and emotional pleas to be awarded the games, Stockholm mayor Anna Konig Jerlmyr reminded voters of Sweden's most famous music act.

"Abba is everywhere," she said, before singing the lyric: "You can dance, you can dance, having the time of your life."

With more gravitas, Nobel Foundation executive director Lars Heikenstein spoke of Olympic values being an inspiration. Olympic leaders have long coveted a Nobel Peace Prize for the organization.

Sweden's heir to the throne, Crown Princess Victoria, joined a 100-plus delegation at the Swisstech convention center though did not take part on stage.

Italy's bid was livened by two Olympic champions, downhill skier Sofia Goggia and snowboarder Michela Moioli, doing a dab gesture and talking of their hopes to compete on home snow in almost seven years' time.

Sweden's wait for a first Winter Games goes on.

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The 10 best dog parks in the Washington D.C. area

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The 10 best dog parks in the Washington D.C. area

During one of the hottest summers on record, getting the dog out to exercise amid the 100-degree heat has become a daunting task. The sidewalks burn their oh-so-adorable paws and canines living in the big city don't have ample space to expend their energy. 

Fortunately, the D.C. area offers several dog park options for pups to run around, play fetch and cool down with a splash while their owners unwind in a nice shady spot. For anyone looking to switch things up from the everyday walk around the neighborhood, these locations are worth taking a look at. 

10 best dog parks in the D.C. area 

1. Swampoodle Dog Park

3rd and L St NE

Less than a year old, this dog park has become a fun location for both dogs and children. The park is entirely turf so dogs don't get dirty or muddy, and there's a multiple-level jungle gym for kids to swing around on. For a family with young kids and dogs, this park has something for everyone. 

2. Bundy Dog Park

470 P St NW

One of the biggest parks on this entire list, this is the spot for those high-energy dogs that could run all day. It provides plastic bags for easy doggy doo-doo cleanup, but there are no water fountains so make sure to bring your own. 

3. Shaw Dog Park

1651 11th St NW

Like Bundy Dog Park, this location is one of the biggest in the D.C. area. Double gated entry keeps the dogs from running off, and the availability of bags and water bowls keep the area healthy and clean. It's got lights installed for an evening excursion, and there's a separate area designed for smaller dogs. 

4. Shirlington Dog Park 

2710 S Oakland St

Although a little far for D.C. residents, this park is worth the trip. It spans the length of several football fields, has a puppy specific enclosure plus poop bags and water bowls to make sure everything is clean. For those extra hot days, there's a stream for dogs to play in and even a washing station adjacent to the park. It doesn't hurt there's a dog-friendly brewery next door either. 

5. Newark Street Dog Park

39th St NW and Newark St NW

One of the highest-rated parks on Yelp, it has separate play areas for large and small dogs complete with water fountains and bowls. It also features a Children's Garden with monthly learning sessions, picnic tables, and children’s garden equipment.

6. Glencarlyn Park

301 South Harrison St

This is a peaceful haven for dogs and owners who want to get back in touch with nature. There's a stream and waterfall for dogs to douse themselves on hot days, and a small playground for kids to enjoy as well.  The park is unenclosed, however, so this isn't the best spot for dogs who don't obey voice commands well.

7. Lincoln Park

East Capitol and 11th St

Smack-dab in the middle of Washington, D.C., Lincoln Park is ideal for city residents who want to branch out from their usual walk around the block. There are two playgrounds for children and a mile-long circle dirt path for those owners who love to run with their dogs. 

8. Langdon Dog Park

2901 20th Street NE

One of the newer parks on this list, the word is still spreading about Langdon Park. It's spacious and fenced-in, giving dogs ample space to run around and there's a separate area for the especially little balls of fur.  

9. S. Street Dog Park

S St at 17th St NW Washington

Another AstroTurf option for minimal mess, this park even offers wading pools for dogs in the summertime. It can get fairly busy during the evening hours, but it's a great place for dogs to play while owners find a spot on one of the many benches. 

10. Montrose Park

R St and 32 St NW

Although not strictly a dog park, this is still a great location to take your pup. It's recommended to keep dogs on-leash here as it's got tennis courts, a children's play place and picnic areas bustling with people. Traditionally a best-kept secret of D.C. residents, this is the perfect space to escape the sights and sounds of the city. 

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NASCAR at New Hampshire: everything you need to know about racing this weekend

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NASCAR at New Hampshire: everything you need to know about racing this weekend

Still not over that finish from Kentucky Speedway? Good, us either. NASCAR is right back after it this weekend in the Granite State and New Hampshire Motor Speedway for some short-track summer action.

Here's what we're watching for on Sunday afternoon in the Foxwoods Resort 301 (3 p.m. EST on NBCSN).

NEW HAMPSHIRE STATISTICS
New Hampshire Motor Speedway: 1.058-mile oval in Loudon, N.H.
Race information: 318.46 miles, 301 laps
Stage lengths: 75 laps, 75 laps, 151 laps
Defending winner: Kevin Harvick
Most wins: Jeff Burton (4)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Friday, July 19

12:05 – 12:55 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN)

1:05 – 1:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

3:35 – 4:25 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

4:35 p.m. – Cup qualifying (single vehicle/two laps all positions) (NBCSN, Performance Racing Network)

Saturday, July 20

10:05 – 10:55 a.m. – Cup practice (CNBC)

11:15 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying (single vehicle/two laps all positions) (NBCSN)

12:35 – 1:25 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN)

4 p.m. – Roxor 200 Xfinity race (stages 45/90/200 laps = 211.6 miles) (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, July 21

3 p.m. – Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (stages 75/150/301 laps = 318.46 miles) (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Is It Time For SHR To Panic?

Past the halfway point in the 2019 season, Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing and Spire Motorsports (!) have visited Victory Lane.

Notably absent is Stewart-Haas Racing.

2014 Monster Energy Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick had five wins at this point last season, Clint Bowyer had two, and the duo of Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch had been running consistently inside the top five and top 10. This season, they're a step behind.

Whether it's the adjustment to the new Ford Mustang or the new aerodynamic rules package for this season, SHR is behind, there's no sugarcoating it.

Although Harvick is safely in the playoffs, Almirola is in but does not have a large buffer, Bowyer is on the bubble and Daniel Suarez is on the outside looking in.

Harvick did win this race last season, and another checkered flag for the No. 4 camp this weekend would go a long way confidence wise for the organization.

More Sticky Stuff

PJ1 is back, and it seems here to stay.

The sticky adhesive that was put down last weekend in Kentucky, as well as multiple times last season, has been applied at NHMS and will be applied next weekend at Pocono Raceway as well. The adhesive is in hopes to create more racing lines and in turn, a better on track product.

With temparatures this weekend reaching upwards of triple digits, the PJ1 will become more active earlier on. The hotter it is, the more grip the substance has.

Lobstah

New England NASCAR trips and somewhat cringeworthy New England NASCAR accents go hand in hand. Like it or not, that's part of it, right?

The winner of each NHMS race gets a big ole lobster to celebrate with. But don't give one to Denny Hamlin. We remember what happened to him a couple years back, right?

2019 NASCAR STANDINGS

Next week, NASCAR heads to the Pocono Raceway for the second time this season for the Gander Outdoors 400 on Sunday, July 28 at 3:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN.