Sports Extra

Olympics

IOC-USOC agreement means big things for a U.S. bid

DENVER – Colorado’s governor and the mayor of Denver said they’re pleased the International Olympic Committee and U.S. Olympic Committee have reached a revenue-sharing agreement.

In a joint statement issued Thursday, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Mayor Michael Hancock said the agreement is one step in a marathon toward a potential USOC bid for the return of the Olympics to U.S. soil.

Denver is among cities that have expressed early interest in bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Hickenlooper and Hancock said they continue to explore all of the issues relevant to Denver potentially submitting a bid, if and when the time is right.

RENO, Nev. – Organizers of the Reno-Tahoe Winter Games Coalition said the new revenue-sharing agreement between the International and U.S. Olympic committees was critical to keeping alive their dream of hosting the Winter Games in 2022.

U.S. officials said they wouldn’t consider making a bid for the 2022 Games without the deal formalized Thursday.

Others exploring bids include Denver, Salt Lake City and Bozeman, Mont.

Auto Racing

Almirola’s Coke and a pole for NASCAR’s longest race

CONCORD, N.C. – Aric Almirola took the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 with a lap of 192.940 mph Thursday night, giving Richard Petty Motorsports a front-row sweep at Charlotte Motor Speedway for NASCAR’s longest race.

Teammate Marcus Ambrose was second at 191.598 in qualifying for the Sunday-night race.

USA Basketball

USA men draw Argentina and France in preliminary round

The U.S. men’s basketball team will open Olympic play against France on July 29 and close preliminary-round play against Argentina on Aug. 6.

FIBA, basketball’s world governing body, announced game times and pairings Wednesday.

Three of the Americans’ five games in pool play will start at 10:15 p.m. local time (3:15 p.m. Mountain) and their two weekend games, including their opener, will tip off at 2:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m.).

The defending Olympic champions also will face Tunisia in Group A play. Their remaining two pool opponents will be determined after a qualifying tournament in Venezuela from July 2-8.

The top four teams in each group will reach the Aug. 8 quarterfinals. The semifinals are Aug. 10 and the gold- and bronze-medal games Aug. 12.

USA Basketball also announced Wednesday its men’s and women’s teams will play an exhibition doubleheader against Brazil on July 16 at the Verizon Center in Washington. Tickets will go on sale May 30.

Tennis

USA defeats Japan for its first World Team Cup victory

DUESSELDORF, Germany – While Serbia and the Czech Republic on Thursday moved closer to meeting in the World Team Cup final, the United States beat Japan 2-1 for its first win.

Ryan Harrison beat Tatsumi Ito 6-2, 7-6 (5) before Go Soeda defeated Andy Roddick 7-5, 7-6 (4) to level the score. James Blake and Ryan Harrison won the decisive doubles against Ito and Bumpei Sato 4-6, 6-0, 10-4.

Cycling

From last to first place, Guardini wins Stage 18

VEDELAGO, Italy – Andrea Guardini edged out favorite Mark Cavendish in a bunch sprint to win the 18th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday.

Guardini, who finished last in the previous stage, timed his sprint to perfection to win in 3 hours, 52 seconds. Cavendish could not keep up with the Italian at the end of the mainly flat and descending 93-mile route from San Vito di Cadore to Vedelago.

Joaquin Rodriguez maintained his 30-second lead over Ryder Hesjedal in the overall standings with three stages to go.

Associated Press