Local teen makes Olympic trials


Mackinder swam the 100m breaststroke in 1:11.66 at the Australian Age Swimming Championships last month, beating the Australian record for the 13-years age group of 1:12.10 set in 1995.

“I think I’m just relieved that I put together a good race and was able to back it up in the final and get the gold – so I’m really happy.

“I’m so lucky to have the best coaches Sam [Ashby] and Lucky [Weerakkod] … they have always believed in me.

“I also couldn’t do it without my parents and my sister – it’s a big commitment from my whole family. My club mates are the best, we were by far the loudest-cheering club there!”

Fellow Geelong Swimming Club member Matilda Byrnes won bronze in the women’s 13-years 100m butterfly, the club’s first medal in this category for 18 years, and the 100m backstroke.

Madison Cooper made finals in the women’s 16-years 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle to qualify for the upcoming Olympic trials.

Dylan Logan competed in the Australian Age and Open Multiclass Nationals and won gold in the men’s 17/18-years 100m backstroke, along with silver in the 50m freestyle and the men’s open 50m butterfly.

The swimmers train at Kardinia Aquatic Centre, which runs nine training sessions each week.

Last year council allocated $300,000 to open the South Geelong facility for an extended period during the 2020 off season.

Geelong Swimming Club president Glenn Benson said council keeping the pool open and adapting to COVID-19 restrictions contributed to the club’s “extraordinary results during the 2020-21 season”.

Geelong deputy mayor Trent Sullivan congratulated Hayley and her peers for their athleticism and dedication, and praised Geelong Swimming Club for its support and training programs.

“It’s incredible to see Geelong represented so strongly on the national stage,” he said.

“Congratulations to Hayley on her record-breaking swim, gold medal and for qualifying for the Olympic trials.”

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Melbourne United’s Jock Landale pumped for big man battle against fellow Boomers Olympic hopeful Will Magnay


The ink had barely dried on Will Magnay’s Perth Wildcats contract when Melbourne United star Jock Landale started wading through film of Magnay to brace himself for the NBL’s newest, and perhaps best, big man battle.

Landale will clash with Magnay when United travel to Perth to take on the Wildcats on Thursday night.

The marquee matchup between two Boomers Olympic hopefuls will pack out RAC Arena as the league’s top two sides look to claim an early edge before the finals.

Landale is pumped to test himself against an NBA and G League experienced big like Magnay.

“I’ve already started really watching Will’s game and just checking out some bits and pieces on him to see what I would come up against,” Landale said.

“From the league’s point of view, having Magnay around furthers our push to become a legitimate league worldwide.

“It is also about being able to create narratives out of those match-ups. I know there was a bit of a rivalry created by everyone between Adelaide’s Isaac Humphries and I early on given we are both Boomers.

“Now you can add Magnay to the equation.

“It is always great to go up against players of that quality and calibre, and Will is a good player.”

Thursday’s clash against the Wildcats will also be Landale’s first NBL game at Perth’s parochial home court, known as ‘The Jungle’.

The Cats’ faithful are arguably the league’s most enthusiastic fans, and have the championships to back up their boisterous approach.

But as player who has experienced the passion of European basketball via stints in Serbia and Lithuania, Landale is ready to embrace the hate.

“For someone like me who has come from Europe and come up against crowds like that, I tend to feed off that energy and those vibes of being the bad boys,” he said.

“They (the Perth fans) get into it and they are very combative in how support, and there is a lot of trash talk that goes on to create an atmosphere.

“I like riling those fans up because it rubs off well on me.

“Going into a hostile environment like that might scare some people, but for me it just fires me up even more.”

Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson confirmed Magnay would play his first minutes for Perth against United, and a match-up with Landale may be brief.

“We don’t want him to think too much and play instinctively,” Gleeson said.

“That’s when he’s really good.”

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Australian Olympic Team get COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of Tokyo Games


Three-time Olympian Cate Campbell said it was a huge relief for the athletes.

“We are going into a pretty unknown situation over in Tokyo so to have this little band-aid is a huge weight off everyone’s shoulders,” Campbell said.

Campbell said she had had no adverse reaction to the vaccine.

“I honestly had to double-check that she’d administered it, so everything ran really smoothly — nothing to be concerned about at all,” she said.

Campbell is one of 2,050 athletes and officials, including the Paralympic team, who will receive the jab in the lead up to the games, although several sports are yet to make their final selections.

Vaccine hubs have been set up at the Institute of Sport in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth in partnership with Aspen Medical.

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Sharks and all, Olympic kayaker Shannon Reynolds trains in Gold Coast canals


When surfing star Mick Fanning escaped a shark attack in South Africa’s J-Bay Open surf contest, millions of people were watching.  

But kayaker Shannon Reynold’s shark encounter on the Gold Coast was a much more solitary affair.

The Olympian, 26, who lists Fanning as one of her sporting heroes, was training in the murky canals at Broadbeach when her kayak was bumped by a bull shark.   

“It came in closer and closer and then it just knocked the back of the boat and I just squealed so loudly,” Reynolds said.

“It was terrifying. 

“I’ve only seen a bull shark once here, but the fishermen see them a lot in the canals.

Reynolds’s coach, who was in a motorboat that normally keeps unwelcome creatures at a distance, came to the rescue.

“Our coach just came quite aggressive towards us and we didn’t see the shark again,” she said.

Aggressive bull sharks aside,  the canal network on the Gold Coast is proving to be an ideal training location for Olympic kayakers preparing for the Tokyo games.

“I’ve heard the water can be a bit choppy in Japan, which is actually not the worst thing because sometimes it’s quite windy here,” Ms Reynolds said. 

“The Gold Coast canals can get a bit bumpy with the tides, so hopefully it will be quite similar and put us in good stead.”

Reynolds, who hails from Karratha, Western Australia, will be competing as a canoe sprinter and in the women’s K4 in Tokyo.

Much like the choppy canals at training, it’s been a bumpy journey to get to the Olympics.

“It sounds so corny, but it genuinely was such an emotional roller-coaster,” she said.

“We got selected in March 2020 and then a week later basically Australia went into lockdown.

“We weren’t really sure if we were going to have to … do the whole trials all over again. 

“About a week later we found out we were still selected and we just had this whole year to train together.  

“So a lot of highs, and then a bit of a low, and then a massive high and the excitement of moving to the Gold Coast and jumping in the boat with the girls.” 

Australia’s Tokyo chef de mission, Ian Chesterman, said up to 480 athletes would be part of the Australian team.

He said extra mental health support services would be available as athletes navigated strict COVID protocols.

“We’re very much aware that that’s an important thing at these games because they have been so different,” Mr Chesterman said.

“It has been a very stressful time for our athletes and we just need to make sure they’re well supported.

“I don’t think we can underestimate the challenge that it’s been to athletes over the last 15 months.

“They will have extra support systems in place and we’ll have a good network, a system, established in Tokyo.

“Some sports are taking their own psychologist.

“We have a headquarters psychologist but they also have a person back here coordinating all the home support as well.” 

With fewer than 80 days before the Tokyo games, Ms Reynolds said she was trying to stay level-headed.

She accepts daily health checks and rapid COVID testing will be a part of her Olympics experience.

She’s already being extra cautious with hand hygiene and social distancing. 

“Training has really ramped up lately, ” she said.

“On top of that there’s a lot of phsyio, then dietician meetings, psychology meetings, so it is quite full-on at the moment.

“I totally understand it won’t be the same Olympic experience as most other Olympics, but I’m just so grateful that it’s still going ahead and I just want to get on that line and race.”

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Rugby Championship 2021: Sean McMahon wants Wallabies return – not Olympic gold


Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is so impressed with a batch of rising young Australian backrowers he has not made contact with Sean McMahon, despite the Japan-based flanker expressing his willingness to play Test rugby again.

One week after All Blacks and fellow Suntory star Beauden Barrett revealed both McMahon and Samu Kerevi want to feature at the next World Cup, sources close to McMahon confirmed he is open to a return to the Wallabies fold.

Sean McMahon hasn't played for the Wallabies since 2017.

Sean McMahon hasn’t played for the Wallabies since 2017. Credit:Stuart Walmsley

McMahon, who was a dynamic presence at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, hasn’t worn a Wallabies jersey since the 2017 Spring Tour when the 26-Test back rower was arguably the hottest property in Australian rugby.

The Queensland product signed with Japanese side Suntory Sungoliath, however, and was subsequently ruled ineligible for selection under the Giteau Law criteria, which states a player must have 60 Test caps, and have given seven years service, to be eligible for Wallabies selection while based overseas.

Rugby Australia announced a tweak to the Giteau Law last year in which Rennie can pick two players from abroad that are under the 60-Test threshhold.

Despite having those slots at his disposal, an RA spokesperson told the Herald no contact has been made with McMahon. It is unclear to what extent Rennie factored in McMahon’s availability in his backrow plans for the winter.

McMahon’s management said the flanker has now planned holidays instead.

Dan Carter of Kobelco Steelers is run down by Suntory back-rower Sean McMahon in 2020.

Dan Carter of Kobelco Steelers is run down by Suntory back-rower Sean McMahon in 2020.Credit:Getty

Rennie is on record stating his preference to pick players that aren’t based in Australia and the case of McMahon appears to be no exception.

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Rugby Championship 2021: Sean McMahon wants Wallabies return – not Olympic gold


Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is so impressed with a batch of rising young Australian backrowers he has not made contact with Sean McMahon, despite the Japan-based flanker expressing his willingness to play Test rugby again.

One week after All Blacks and fellow Suntory star Beauden Barrett revealed both McMahon and Samu Kerevi want to feature at the next World Cup, sources close to McMahon confirmed he is open to a return to the Wallabies fold.

Sean McMahon hasn’t played for the Wallabies since 2017. Credit:Stuart Walmsley

McMahon, who was a dynamic presence at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, hasn’t worn a Wallabies jersey since the 2017 Spring Tour when the 26-Test back rower was arguably the hottest property in Australian rugby.

The Queensland product signed with Japanese side Suntory Sungoliath, however, and was subsequently ruled ineligible for selection under the Giteau Law criteria, which states a player must have 60 Test caps, and have given seven years service, to be eligible for Wallabies selection while based overseas.

Rugby Australia announced a tweak to the Giteau Law last year in which Rennie can pick two players from abroad that are under the 60-Test threshhold.

Despite having those slots at his disposal, an RA spokesperson told the Herald no contact has been made with McMahon. It is unclear to what extent Rennie factored in McMahon’s availability in his backrow plans for the winter.

McMahon’s management said the flanker has now planned holidays instead.

Dan Carter of Kobelco Steelers is run down by Suntory back-rower Sean McMahon in 2020.

Dan Carter of Kobelco Steelers is run down by Suntory back-rower Sean McMahon in 2020.Credit:Getty

Rennie is on record stating his preference to pick players that aren’t based in Australia and the case of McMahon appears to be no exception.

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Tokyo Olympic torch staffer becomes event’s 1st COVID-19 infection



FILE PHOTO: The Olympic rings are illuminated in front of the National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan January 22, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

April 22, 2021

TOKYO (Reuters) – A police officer helping with Japan’s Olympic Torch relay has become the first participant in the event to be diagnosed with COVID-19, organisers said on Thursday.

A man in his 30s tested positive for the virus after working on the relay in Kagawa prefecture on Japan’s southern island of Shikoku, Tokyo 2020 said in a statement.

The officer was guiding traffic in the town of Naoshima on Saturday and came down with a fever on Sunday, the Asahi Newspaper reported, citing organisers and prefectural police. The man wore a mask and had no contact with runners, the report said.

Separately, two runners, a TV personality and a former Olympian, dropped out of a relay event due to be held in the western prefecture of Tottori next month, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Public support for the Games has waned amid concern the event will exacerbate COVID-19 infections, now battering the country in a fourth wave. Japan’s government is expected to declare a state of emergency, the third in the past year, in the major population centres of Tokyo and Osaka this week.

The Games, already delayed by one year, are due to start in 92 days. Olympic and government officials have said further postponement of the Games is out of the question.

(Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Rocky Swift, editing by Estelle Shirbon)



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Anni Espar: Spanish Female Water Polo Player, Olympic Silver Medalist Talks About her Workout, Diet, Hair and Skin Care


Anna Espar Llaquet is a Spanish water polo player who won the gold medal at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.

Espar also played on the Spain national team which won the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She scored 15 goals and was named to the Olympic All-Star Team. In 2012 Espar was named Best European Female Water Polo Player by the LEN.

Anni Espar: Spanish female water polo player: Achievements

1X Silver medalist 2012 Olympic Games
1X Gold and 2X Silver medalist at the FINA World Aquatics Championships
1X Bronze medalist FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup
1X Silver medalist FINA Water Polo World League

Women Fitness President Ms. Namita Nayyar catches up with Anni Espar, Spanish female water polo player, Olympic Silver medalist, who talks about her workout, diet, hair and skin care.

Namita Nayyar:

You played on the Spain national team which won the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Walk us through your spectacular journey and share what all led you to take up this sport?

Anni Espar:

Sports are a big part of my life. I have played different sports since I was a little kid so sports have taught me some of the most important values and lessons in life. At the age of 11 I started playing water polo while I was also a swimmer, tennis player and basketball player. I ended up choosing water polo for two reasons: it was a team sport and because I fell in love with the game from day 1. I remember every practice then as happy and fun. And still, 14 years later, I’m happy and excited at every single practice. The reason being that I’m able to share it all with my teammates.

Our qualification for the London Olympics wasn’t an easy one. We got the 11th position in the previous World Championship and less than a year later we had to beat the current world Champion, Greece, in order to qualify for the Olympics. It was a difficult road, but it brought me some of the best memories of my life. Becoming an Olympian was a dream that came true. And I enjoyed every second of it. From the hard training schedules to standing next to my teammates with that silver medal. I’m looking forward to more in the next Olympics!

Namita Nayyar:

You were named the Best European Female Water Polo Player of 2012? Being the best involves a lot of dedication and commitment. Share five keys to being the best?

Anni Espar:

Passion: I believe that when you do something with passion, you don’t count the cost. The reward of doing what you love is so big that it never feels like this great sacrifice, but instead just choosing what you love the most.

Commitment: Being an athlete means being willing to do anything to become better and to prepare to win. Preparing to win, having that work ethic, that’s what makes a champion. For everything in life, commitment is so important.

Desire: Dream and fight for your goals. Having goals in life is very important. You must know what you are working for and you must fight for it. Always remember, if you can dream it, you can do it.

Repetition: I always say that repetition is the key. And it truly is. You might not be great at something at first but eventually, with hard work and muscle memory, you will. Get your brain used to a certain move or routine and soon enough it will be second nature.

Hard work & team work: always give your 100%. No matter what, give your best and this will make you a real champion. You might have bad days, but you still need to show up and do what you need to do. Just put the work and the result will end up paying off. And of course, it makes it easier when you can count on a team that will help you get through the journey. My teammates make my good days better and my bad days easier.

Namita Nayyar:

Introduce us to a day in your life. Your morning begins with.

Anni Espar:

Apart from being a professional athlete, I am also currently working for Turbo. Before this pandemic my days were pretty busy. However, I have always loved being able to combine studies and work with sports. If you can organize yourself well, being able to balance your daily life with some exercise will really make you feel better. Let me tell you a bit about my schedule so you will understand how important good organization is.

I used to wake up at 7.30 to be at work by 8.30. Then I worked until 11 and started practice in Mataró at 11.30. 2 hours training in which we combined weight sessions at the gym and physical condition in the water. Then one of my favorite time of the day, lunch with my teammates. It is good to have some moments to relax and talk about other things so I appreciate these with them, then I used to work from one of my teammate’s home in Mataró (since I live 30’ away) and practice again by 8pm until 10 to get home and get dinner before going to sleep.

Full Interview is Continued on Next Page

This interview is exclusive and taken by Namita Nayyar President womenfitness.net and should not be reproduced, copied or hosted in part or full anywhere without an express permission.

All Written Content Copyright © 2021 Women Fitness

Disclaimer
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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Ripped Aussie Olympic hopeful is too fit


Australian pole vaulter Kurtis Marschall was touted as the favourite leading into last weekend’s national athletics championships, but instead, the Olympian flopped.

The 23-year-old was unable to clear 5.50m on three attempts, failing to record a height at Sydney Olympic Park.

Comparatively, he successfully cleared 5.75m at the Sydney Track Classic in March, while his personal best is 5.81m.

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Instead of blaming weather or bad technique for Sunday’s failure, Marschall claimed he was simply too fit and fast.

“I have this whole new body which is ready to rock and roll and it just doesn’t do justice for how I was feeling on the day and how my body is in really good nick,” Marschall said, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.

“First jump the bar was at 5.50, and I normally do that in my sleep, but I was running so fast and so well that I ran myself too close and got ripped off the ground.

“When you run a little bit faster, you find yourself taking off closer to the box, and when your pole-ground angle is low like that when you take off close, you get ripped off the ground — you get sucked instead of jumping up into the pole.”

Incredibly, Marschall was named in Australia’s track-and-field team for the Tokyo Olympics hours after the national champs debacle.

Marschall had previously recorded three qualifying heights in the selection period despite crashing out in Sydney.

“It was almost a blessing in disguise, a little bit of a kick in the arse, which I deserved, to make sure I am on top of all these little thing when it comes to the major competitions because you can’t be sloppy like that in Tokyo and trying to get things right but not making the adjustments necessary so it will be a good learning curve for me,” Marschall said.

“I want to do another competition next week just to prove to everyone I am in good nick.”

Marschall competed at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio before winning a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

However, a back stress fracture hampered his 2019 before an untimely global pandemic struck the following year.

The West Australian has pursued pole vaulting greatness since the age of 13, inspired by Steve Hooker’s unforgettable performance at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

“You don’t really have to be that talented, you have to be kind of co-ordinated, a little bit fast and like springy as a kid,” Marschall said last week, as reported by The Australian.

“You can just develop the technique over time. I’m always looking for the perfect jump. The pursuit of perfection is what keeps me going.

“I feel like I’m in pretty good physical condition compared to the rest of guys in the world. I’ve got all the stats behind me.

“Just technically, I still need a little bit of work. The technical pursuit of being perfect — it’s like teasing me. It’s a like a sport that I’m good at, but I’ll never be perfect.

“I’m always like trying to chase more and trying to get better and better and better. I feel like when I’m out there, like it’s just me and my pole and I can just do my thing.

“It’s like I’m being rewarded for something that I’m good at. It’s such a good feeling.”

Tokyo Olympics track-and-field team (as of Sunday, April 18)

Rohan Browning — 100m

Jye Edwards — 1500m

Kurtis Marschall — pole vault

Cedric Dubler — decathlon

Ash Moloney — decathlon

Riley Day — 200m

Bendere Oboya — 400m

Catriona Bisset — 800m

Linden Hall — 1500m

Liz Clay — 100m hurdles

Genevieve Gregson — 3000m steeplechase

Nicola McDermott — high jump

Brooke Stratton — long jump

Nina Kennedy — pole vault

Dani Stevens — discus

Stewart McSweyn — 5000m and 10,000m

Dane Bird-Smith — 20km walk

Jessica Hull — 5000m

Jemima Montag — 20km walk

Kelsey Lee-Barber — javelin

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Gabba earmarked to be ‘home’ of 2032 Olympic Games if Brisbane bid successful


The Gabba is set to become the centrepiece of the 2032 Olympic Games, hosting the opening and closing ceremonies and athletics, if Brisbane’s bid to be the host city is successful.

South-east Queensland is on track to host the 2032 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in the wake of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) naming Brisbane its preferred bid in February. 

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the stadium would likely be upgraded to increase capacity from 42,000 to 50,000 spectators and she anticipated the redevelopment would cost “around the $1 billion mark”.

“Every games needs a home,” she said.

“The Gabba has been home to our sport since 1895.

“A home for the 2032 Olympic Games could be its crowning glory.”

Ms Palaszczuk told ABC News Breakfast the Gabba would be “completely rebuilt and raised up and it’s going to be sensational”.

“We’ve had some of the best Olympic architects in the world Populous that have done this design and it is phenomenal,” she said.

“It is so exciting. Yesterday Cabinet could not believe what they were seeing. They ticked it off, they endorsed it and today we’re making sure the rest of the nation gets to see it.”

The upgrade would include a new pedestrian plaza linking the stadium to Woolloongabba’s new Cross River Rail station, which is currently under construction.

Ms Palaszczuk said the plaza could transform the area into a games hub and could be used to host concerts and medal presentations.

“I can see the river lined with people watching big screens, all taking part in the fun and excitement of the games,” she said.

“There’s South Bank leading to West End, which is connected to Roma Street via the Kurilpa Bridge, with a new bridge under construction for the new Queen’s Wharf development.

“There are CityCats offering even more options for transport.

“All of this is infrastructure we already have.”

Ms Palaszczuk said the upgrades would need the continued support of all levels of government, including the Commonwealth.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the announcement was “very consistent with what the IOC has been saying, and also consistent with what we’ve been saying, which is use existing venues”.

He told ABC Radio Brisbane the Gabba had needed an upgrade for quite some time. 

“The Olympics is the project that will bring that to light,” he said.

“Not many cities have a stadium so close to the CBD and so accessible with multiple forms of transport — there’s so many boxes that it ticks.”

Cr Schrinner said a 50,000-seat capacity was a “good sweet spot” in contrast to Sydney’s 2000 Olympics Stadium, which “they very rarely have been able to fill up ever since”.

“Getting these improved facilities as part of the Olympics is the outcome we all want to see. It’s things that we will need on an ongoing basis. That’s why we’re not building a 100,000-seat stadium.”

The Gabba would join 19 existing earmarked venues for the Games. They include sites in Cairns, Townsville, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

Woolloongabba resident Michael Arndt told the ABC he thinks the stadium upgrade would be good for the area.

“The Gabba is in desperate need of renovations,” he said.

Brad Francis liked the idea of having the world’s best athletes on his doorstep, but both residents were mindful the reconstruction would create more traffic and noise.

“We already get a lot of that with traffic and events at the Gabba so it would be a frustration, but the opportunity to see some of the world’s best athletes, most people I’m sure would allow for that,” Mr Francis said.

He also had a child attending the 122-year-old East Brisbane State School, which sits in the shadow of the Gabba.

While the state government committed to saving the school’s heritage buildings, there is no decision yet about whether the teachers and students will have to relocate.

Fellow local parent Scott Mouat is keen to hear how the school will be affected.

“I guess there’ll be a lot of road closures,” he said.

“They’re going to have a major international event right next to a small local primary school.

“It will be disappointing if the school itself moves away but it’s a very upcoming area and there are more and more people so the school has to expand in some way.”

A final decision on Brisbane’s bid is expected to be made as early as July, ahead of Tokyo 2021.

If Brisbane is selected, it will be the first Olympics Games to be hosted in Oceania in more than 30 years.

Queensland’s 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Taskforce found the Games could create about 130,000 direct jobs and tens of thousands of indirect jobs, particularly in tourism.

In its value proposition assessment, it estimated the economic benefits of the Games for the state at about $7.4 billion, with “social and community benefits” lasting for potentially two decades.

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