HRH Gets Madrid Bid Book; Record Heat Down Under; Olympic Medal Tops Auction

(ATR) Prince Felipe backs Madrid 2020 ... Extreme temperatures force change at Australian Youth Olympic Festival ... Chamonix silver up for sale ... More inside this Olympic Newsdesk ...

HRH Receives Madrid Bid Book

Madrid 2020 says the Prince of Asturias, Felipe Borbon, unconditionally backs the bid.

Leaders of Madrid 2020 gave a copy of the bid book to the prince and his aunt, Infanta Doña Pilar de Borbó, at the Palacio de la Zarzuela on Thursday.

In attendance were Spain’s IOC members: Marisol Casado, Jose Perurena and Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr.

"We are counting on His Royal Highness and his leadership to help us complete the last stage in our race towards our Olympic dream," said Samaranch Jr.

Casado said: "The Prince expressed great support, as the royal family has always done."

"He is very involved in the project and excited about it," added Perurena. "Thanks to the work everyone is putting in together, we are convinced we have a winning bid."

Heat Prompts Competition Change

Record-high heat in Australia prompted changes in the competition schedule for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney.

Some competition sites had temperatures at more than 116 degrees Fahrenheit, or 45.6 Celsius.

"With the mercury in the CBD reaching 45.3 degrees Celsius and out west 46.5, the health of these young athletes is top priority," Australian Oympic Committee chief of sport Fiona de Jong said.

"We are working with the competition managers of each sport to avoid heat associated issues at all venues and villages.

"Athletes and spectators are being reminded to stay well hydrated and we are monitoring all the Olympic venues and villages."

Multiple sports were impacted, including 3-on-3 basketball with games postponed and changes made for Saturday’s schedule, with medal events in canoe canceled.

"With a 44 degree temperature differential between Sydney and London today we particularly sympathise with our Team GB and other European and North American friends who left their cold winter conditions to come down under this week," an AOC statement said.

European Games Organizing Committee Formed

Mehriban Aliyeva , wife of Azeri president Ilham Aliyev, will chair the organizing committee for Baku 2015, the inaugural European Games.

On Thursday, Aliyev signed an executive order creating the committee.

Joining Aliyeva will be representatives from the Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee, the national sports ministry and the Baku mayor’s office.

Silver Medal Tops Olympic Auction

A rare winner’s medal from the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix highlights the latest mail bid auction from Ingrid O’Neil, which closes Saturday at 11 p.m. Eastern time. The 1924 silver medal carries an estimate of $35,000.

A stuffed jaguar named "Chac Mool" from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, which was sold as a souvenir and could be considered a mascot of the Games, is listed at $1,250.

The 686-item auction also includes an outstanding group of 28 original platinotype photos from the 1896 Athens Olympics. Some of the images are familiar, such as the ones of James Connolly, Robert Garrett and Spiridon Louis. They were taken by Albert Meyer of Berlin, one of seven accredited photographers at the Games, and the estimate is $13,500.

To see the complete catalog for Auction 70, click here.

CGF Visits Gold Coast

Gold Coast 2018 is "well and truly on track," says the Queensland Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games.

"We had a very busy and productive 2012, achieving several key milestones including the establishment of the Games Corporation and its move to new premises," Jann Stuckey said Friday in a statement.

"There was also the appointment of a Board and several committees to assist in the delivery of the Games, as well as the development of crucial foundation plans."

Her comments came after a briefing with Commonwealth Games Federation representatives including President Prince Imran of Malaysia, CEO Mike Hooper and Chair of the Coordination Commission Bruce Robertson on progress toward finalizing a master plan for the 2018 Games.

Stuckey, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate and GOLDOC Chairman Nigel Chamier also joined the CGF delegation for a tour of Gold Coast 2018 headquarters and an inspection visit to the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, where renovations will soon begin as part of the first major infrastructure project since the Australians won hosting rights in November 2011.

"It is important for us to have a close working relationship with the CGF, said Stuckey, "and I am sure they will continue to be impressed with our current planning and progress."

Stern Slams British Basketball

NBA Commissioner David Stern says he’s "confounded" by Great Britain Basketball’s cut in funding on the heels of the Summer Olympics.

After getting $13.7 million in the lead-up to London 2012, the sport will receive zero government support ahead of Rio 2016.

"Before the Olympics, basketball was being talked about as a sport being played in neighborhoods in a country bemoaning the fact they had shut down so many playing fields," he was quoted by The London Evening Standard.

"The decision confounded me."

Stern was speaking Thursday at the O2 Arena, venue for basketball’s knockout rounds during the Olympics, as the New York Knicks beat the Detroit Pistons in the NBA’s third regular-season game there in the past two years.

Media Watch

Lynn Zinser of The New York Times says Thursday night's confessional was simply "more of the same" from disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Written by Ed Hula III, Karen Rosen and Matthew Grayson.

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