TIME celebrities

Michael Phelps Just Got Engaged to Former Miss California USA

Subway Press Conference With Pele And Michael Phelps
Rafael Neddermeyer—Getty Images Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps attends a Subway press conference to promote healthy living and lifestyle among childrenon December 04, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Olympic champion is taking the plunge

Olympic champion Michael Phelps is engaged to girlfriend Nicole Johnson, the swimmer announced on Instagram Sunday.

The 22-time Olympic medalist posted a photo of the couple lying in the snow with the caption, “She said yes.” Johnson posted a similar photo to her Instagram with with the caption “I’m gonna be a Mrs.”

The couple began dating in 2009 but broke up in 2012 before getting back together, according to Page Six. Johnson was Miss California USA 2010.

She said yes😁😁😁 @nicole.m.johnson. (Photo credit to @arschmitty )

A photo posted by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on

I'm gonna be a Mrs. 🙊🙈 @m_phelps00 💍❤️ 📷: @arschmitty

A photo posted by Nicole Michele (@nicole.m.johnson) on

TIME cities

Bostonians Dubious About Olympic Bid, Poll Finds

Boston
Getty Images Boston, Mass.

A majority are kind of "meh" about the city's bid, according to a new poll

Boston residents are not too excited about the city’s 2024 Olympic bid, according to a new poll.

In fact, the share of Boston residents “excited” about the city’s shot at hosting the Summer Olympics (48%) is almost the same as those who say they’re not excited (43%), a new survey released by Boston’s NPR news station WBUR on Tuesday found.

The poll surveyed just 500 Boston area residents after the city was named one of four identified by the United States Olympic Committee to apply to host the 2024 games, and it had a margin of error of 6.7 percent.

But the numbers will make dispiriting readers for Olympic organizers; only half of those polled said they “support” the Olympic games coming to Boston, and a full third (33%) said they are opposed to them.

The city will need more support from residents if they want to persuade the International Olympic Committee that Boston should host. For next year’s summer games in Rio de Janeiro, WBUR reports, 85% of residents supported the city’s bid.

[WBUR]

TIME olympics

Boston May Be the Next Olympic Sucker

Boston Is Fifth Ranked U.S. City In Value Of Commercial Real Estate Transactions
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Buildings stand in the city skyline in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014.

Boston will bid for the 2024 Olympics. According to many economists, Beantown will regret it if it wins

Boston wins! Boston wins!

But Boston may lose, big time.

On Thursday the U.S. Olympic Committee chose Boston as America’s bidding city for the 2024 Olympics. Beantown beat out San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles in the Olympic sweepstakes. The latter’s loss is a mild surprise, considering LA’s Olympic experience: the city has hosted the Games twice, and has plenty of venues already built. Not that Boston has no Olympic attractions. Beach volleyball in Boston Common and field hockey at Harvard Stadium sound cool. The city is pretty compact. Hopefully they’ll find some use for Fenway Park. (Equestrian events? Yankees fans might appreciate horses crapping all over the outfield).

The host city won’t be named until 2017, and Boston’s rival bidders potentially include Rome, Casablanca, Paris, Nairobi, Doha and Berlin. While many Bostonians are excited about the the prestige and emotional lift that an Olympic win would provide, critics — like members of the No Boston Olympics opposition group — worry about the price tag. For good reason: academic research has consistently shown that for the host city, the Olympics aren’t the economic boon they’re cracked up to be. In fact, they do long-term harm.

Cities consistently spend more than the original budget projections: before the London Olympics, Will Jennings, a professor of political science and public policy at the University of Southampton, found that the average cost overrun for staging the Olympics was 200% since 1976. Boston has estimated that its bid would cost some $4.5 billion in private funding plus an additional $5 billion in regional infrastructure improvements. “That’s farcical,” says Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College, which is located some 80 miles west of Boston, and the author of the new book Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup. Organizers in London, for example, initially said the Games would cost $4 billion. The final bill came out to to $15 to $20 billion.

Zimbalist was surprised that Boston got the right to bid. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) just passed reforms seeking to control the spiraling costs of hosting the Games: he’s convinced that Los Angeles, with its existing Olympic infrastructure, made the most economic sense. Boston’s biggest challenge will be building an Olympic stadium to host the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as track and field. Zimbalist is also skeptical of Boston’s plan to utilize its many universities to host events and athletes in an Olympics village. It’s one thing for MIT to have fields for archery, and for other universities to have pools. It’s another to convert these places into full-fledged Olympic venues, with seating and infrastructure to support a flood of spectators.

In his book, Zimbalist cites stacks of research showing that the Games aren’t worth it. The Olympics, cities are often told, will boost tourism. One econometric study, however, showed that when other factors were controlled for, Atlanta saw no statistically significant change in retail sales, hotel occupancy, or airport traffic during the 1996 Olympics. During the Beijing Olympics in August of 2008, hotel bed nights dropped 39% compared to the prior year. For the 2000 Sydney Olympics, two researchers concluded that “in terms of purely measurable economic variables the [Games] had a negative effect on New South Wales and Australia as a whole.”

During the Olympics, athletes, officials, media and fans often replace traditional tourists who are more likely to explore the city and spread the word about its virtues. Olympic tourists may brag about their swimming tickets in Boston. But jealous friends can’t then replicate that experience, cause the Olympics are over. So why go to Boston? The idea that the Olympics puts a city on a “world stage,” which will subsequently attract new investment and tourist dollars, in largely bunk.

“More often that not, Olympics wind up as a public burden,” says Zimbalist. “I have no reason to believe that Boston will be an exception rather than the rule.”

TIME olympics

Boston Selected as U.S. Bid for 2024 Summer Olympics

Boston Harbor at Sunrise
Shobeir Ansari—Getty Images

Beantown beat out San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

The United States Olympic Committee announced Thursday that Boston will represent the country’s bid to host the 2024 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Beantown beat out San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. for the spot. Assuming the International Olympic Committee approves the New England hub as an applicant, Boston and the other international candidates will then prepare a plan for hosting the events that includes logistics like venues, transportation and security.

Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh tweeted his delight Thursday and called the pick an “exceptional honor for Boston.”

“It is an exceptional honor for Boston to be chosen as the U.S.representative in the running for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” he said in a statement. “This selection is in recognition of our city’s talent, diversity and global leadership. Our goal is to host an Olympic and Paralympic Games that are innovative, walkable and hospitable to all. Boston hopes to welcome the world’s greatest athletes to one of the world’s great cities.”

Atlanta was the last American city to host the Summer Olympics, in 1996, but Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics.

TIME Video Games

4 Video Games That Could Be Olympic Sports

Running, swimming...Super Smash Bros.?

Over the years, the Olympics have chosen to include some pretty odd sports: Tandem bicycle sprints, pistol dueling and live pigeon shooting have all at one time or another been official Olympic sports.

But Olympic video gaming?

That’s not as crazy as it sounds, says Rob Pardo, formerly lead designer on games like Blizzard’s World of Warcraft and Starcraft: Brood War. Pardo told the BBC Wednesday “there’s a very good argument for e-sports being in the Olympics,” citing the rising popularity of video games as a spectator sport.

“I think the way that you look at e-sports is that it’s a very competitive skillset and you look at these professional gamers and the reflexes are lightning quick and their having to make very quick decisions on the fly,” Pardo said.

But which video games are worthy of Olympic competition? Here are four titles the International Olympic Committee might want to consider:

1. Call of Duty

The Call of Duty series has worldwide appeal, meaning no particular country would have a crazy advantage right off the bat (we’re lookin’ at you, U.S. Men’s Basketball Team). It’s also a game that, believe it or not, is pretty fun to watch other people play — especially when they’re really good.

Oh, and professional and semi-pro Call of Duty: Ghost players have already racked up nearly $1.5 million in competitive prize money, according to esportsearnings.com.

2. Dota 2

Dota 2 is the closest the Olympics might ever get to an actual Thunderdome — many teams enter, only one team leaves. It’s a multiplayer slice-and-dice battle arena game that can see 800,000 people playing worldwide at the same time during peak times.

There’s more strategy involved in Dota 2 than you might think at first, so once you understand what’s going on, it’s pretty entertaining to watch — kinda like curling. Competitive Dota 2 players have made a whopping $24.5 million in prize money, topping esportsearnings.com’s list.

3. League of Legends

Like Dota 2, League of Legends is an online multiplayer battle game, with nearly 27 million players logging on each day. In every new match, each player starts off fairly weak, then levels up to gain strength before taking on opposing players. It’s among the best choices for an Olympic sport because there’s already a massive competitive scene for it — professional League of Legends leagues have popped up in North America, Europe and across Asia, where the game’s particularly popular.

League of Legends players have made $18.7 million in prize money, says esportsearnings.com.

4. Super Smash Bros. Melee

The Super Smash Bros. games are among the only titles where it’s almost more fun to watch people play than actually play yourself. A perennial Nintendo classic, players choose from favorite characters like Mario, Peach, Pikachu and Kirby to do button-mashing battle with their rivals.

While Smash doesn’t have quite the competitive scene these other games do, it would be tremendously fun to watch people smashing Wii U buttons in a quest for Olympic gold.

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: December 17

Capitol
Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Terror Threat Nixes The Interview

Some cinema chains are pulling Sony’s film The Interview from their lineups after hackers threatened a 9/11-style attack against theaters who screen the upcoming movie. Sony said it is going forward with plans to release the film, but would support theaters’ decisions

Starbucks CEO Talks Racism

Howard Schultz outlined his concern about the effects of racism and increasing social polarization in America in a letter to all Starbucks employees

Putin’s Influence Wanes

Russia’s worst economic crash since 1998 may force the Russian President to rethink his adventures abroad

Jeb Bush Eyes Run for Presidency

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced Tuesday that he will “actively explore” running for president in 2016. “I think we need to have candidates lift our spirits,” he said, one day before announcing his formal intention to explore a campaign

U.S. Will Bid to Host the Summer Olympics in 2024

The United States Olympics Committee (USOC) unanimously approved on Tuesday a U.S. bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games. One of Boston,

Washington D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles will be picked for the bid in 2015

Pakistan Mourns After Peshawar School Massacre

Pakistanis mourned collectively and individually on Wednesday after a brutal attack on a school in Peshawar by Taliban militants that claimed more than 140 lives, including 132 children. But questions remain over the military’s relationship with extremist groups

Angelina Jolie Hires Experts to Protect Her Kids Online

Angelina Jolie and her husband Brad Pitt, who don’t use social media, have hired a cyber-security team to monitor their children’s Internet usage and exposure. “We wouldn’t even know what to look for,” she said

Australia’s PM Demands Answers After Sydney Siege

Tony Abbott has said that everything from the nation’s gun laws to its national security policies are up for serious review after a troubled Iranian migrant on bail was able to evade watch lists, buy a firearm and take over a Sydney café, leading to three deaths

Clifford the Big Red Dog Creator Norman Bridwell Dies at 86

Author and illustrator Norman Bridwell died on Friday, Dec. 12, in Martha’s Vineyard at age 86. His publisher, Scholastic, announced the news Tuesday, but did not give a cause of death. Bridwell was best known for creating the Clifford the Big Red Dog book series

Bill Cosby Won’t Be Charged Over L.A. Molestation Claim

Los Angeles prosecutors on Tuesday declined to file any charges against Bill Cosby after a woman recently claimed the comedian molested her around 1974. The rejection of a child sexual abuse charge by prosecutors came roughly 10 days after Judy Huth met city police

NHL Teams Postpone Seasonal Hospital Visits

Several NHL teams are postponing their annual holiday visits to hospitals, amid a mumps outbreak within the league. At least 15 NHL players have so far come down in the outbreak, including for the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers

Poll: 57% of Americans Say Race Relations in U.S. Are Bad

A majority of Americans now say that race relations in the United States are bad, according to a new poll, which showed the most pessimistic assessment of racial issues in almost two decades

We will hold an #AskTIME subscriber Q&A this Friday, December 19, at 1 p.m., with TIME managing editor Nancy Gibbs, who recently selected The Ebola Fighters as TIME’s choice for Person of the Year 2014.

You can submit your questions beforehand on Twitter using the #AskTIME hashtag or in the comments of this post. We depend on smart, interesting questions from readers.

You will need to be a TIME subscriber to read the Q & A. ($30 a year or 8 cents a day for the magazine and all digital content.) Once you’re signed up, you can log in to the site with a username and password.

Get TIME’s The Brief e-mail every morning in your inbox

TIME olympics

U.S. Will Bid to Host the Summer Olympics in 2024

The last Summer Olympics were held in London.
Dan Istitene—Getty Images The last Summer Olympics were held in London.

One of four cities will be picked for the bid in 2015

The United States Olympics Committee (USOC) unanimously approved on Tuesday a U.S. bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games.

The four possible bid cities are Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles, whose representatives gave pitches to the committee Tuesday morning, according to a USOC statement. A selection for the bid will be made in January, and the International Olympic Committee will select a host city in 2017 after reviewing all submitted bids.

The organization’s last decision to bid to host the Olympics was for the 2016 Games, which was awarded to Rio de Janeiro instead of Chicago. The USOC had decided not to bid for the 2020 Olympics, which will place in Tokyo.

The last Summer Olympics to be held in the U.S. were the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

TIME Disease

There’s a ‘Super Bacteria’ in Waters Where the 2016 Olympics Will Be Held

OLY-2016-RIO-SAILING-REGATTA
Yasuyoshi Chiba—AFP/Getty Images Athletes compete in the Men's Laser during the final day of Aquece Rio, the International Sailing Regatta 2014, the first test event for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games at Guanabara bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 9, 2014.

Newly discovered bacteria is resistant to much modern medicine

Scientists have discovered a hard-to-treat ‘super bacteria’ in the body of water where Olympic events are planned in 2016 in Brazil.

The bacteria, which contains a special enzyme that makes it highly resistant to medical treatment, was found in Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay, which will be the site of competitions in sailing and wind surfing, the Associated Press reports.

The Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, a Brazilian health institute, said it had not yet detected any infections from the contaminated water but that an infected person would need very strong antibiotics and possible hospitalization to fight off the bacteria. Infected people can spread the bacteria even if they don’t become sick, the institute said.

In Rio 70% of sewage goes untreated and flows into rivers, bays and beaches. Olympic planners have said they will reduce the amount of sewage flowing into Guanabara Bay by 80% in time for the Games.

[AP]

TIME Sports

See Athletes Who Have Taken a Stand on Political Issues

Here are 8 examples of professional athletes who demonstrated social consciousness in the realm of sports

The St. Louis Rams caused a stir Sunday when some players emerged onto the football field with their arms raised in the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose that’s been used to protest the killing of Michael Brown. The St. Louis Police department condemned the gesture, calling it “tasteless, offensive, and inflammatory.” Meanwhile, the NFL said it would decline punishment of any kind for the players’ expression of free speech.

But this is not the only time athletes have made political demonstrations during an event. Here are six more examples of players getting political.

TIME olympics

Olympics Committee Broadens Rules for Host Cities

OLY-2014-NORDIC-MEN
Alberto Pizzoli—AFP/Getty Images Skiers compete past the Olympic Rings in the Men's Cross-Country Skiing 15km + 15km Skiathlon at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia on Feb. 9, 2014.

40 recommendations were made that can change the games

The list of prospective Olympics host cities may soon grow, as the International Olympics Committee announced 40 new recommendations for the 2020 games that include allowing some events to take place outside of the city itself or even, “in exceptional circumstances,” largely due to sustainability reasons, outside of the host country.

This would mostly impact the summer games, as the winter Olympics already allows events to take place in bordering countries.

“These 40 recommendations are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement. “When you put them together, a picture emerges that shows the IOC safeguarding the uniqueness of the Olympic Games and strengthening sport in society.”

The “Olympic Agenda 2020″ also put forth recommendations that would decrease the seven-year approval timeline to allow new sports to enter the games, and the introduction of an official Olympic broadcast TV channel.

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