The U.S. Olympic Committee chose Boston over finalists L.A., San Francisco and Washington as the country's hopeful for the 2024 Summer Games.

"I think the USA has a very good chance for the Games in 2024," IOC member Gerhard Heiberg of Norway said.

The declared other candidates are Rome and a German bid involving Berlin, Hamburg or both. South African officials have said they are likely to bid, and both Paris and Melbourne, Australia are discussing candidacies.

Formal application papers do not need to be filed with the IOC until next Sept. 15. The executive board will, if necessary, trim the field to about four finalists in the spring of 2016, and the IOC members will choose the winner at their September 2017 annual meeting in Lima, Peru.

America's last two attempts to land the Games resulted in embarrassing fourth-place finishes for New York (2012) and Chicago (2016).

President Obama, who went to Harvard Law School, congratulated the city and promised his support for bringing the Summer Olympics back to the United States for the first time since the 1996 Games were in Atlanta. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who attended the bid presentations last month, said it was "an exceptional honor" to be chosen.

"This selection is in recognition of our city's talent, diversity and global leadership," the first-term mayor said. "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."

In presenting its bid to the USOC, Boston promised a move away from the expensive and ultimately abandoned venues that plagued games in cities from Beijing to Sochi. The Olympics would take advantage of the 100 colleges and universities in the area to host events and house athletes and media.


Liberty ''unfire'' Laimbeer

Bill Laimbeer wasn't surprised when the New York Liberty offered him his old job back as coach. The former Timberwolves assistant never wanted to leave in the first place.

"They called and said we want to chat about you coming back and being coach, I said I'm all for that," Laimbeer said Thursday.

The Liberty rehired Laimbeer as coach nearly three months after they chose to not exercise the option year on his contract.

"At the end of the season we wanted to take a look and do a full review where we were as a franchise as a basketball team," said Kristin Bernert, who is the senior vice president of business operations for the Liberty.

"We started down a path of evaluation and hit a point where we needed to make a decision on Bill's contract option. We weren't ready to make a decision at that point. We continued on the path of diving deep into who we are, where we are and who we want to be. We were on the right path and wanted to bring Bill back as head coach."


Yankees bring back Drew

The Yankees agreed to pay 31-year-old shortstop Stephen Drew $5 million for one year in the hope that he can recover the success he had as recently as 2013, when he was the starting shortstop for the World Series champion Boston Red Sox. That season he had a .333 on-base percentage with 29 doubles, 13 home runs and 67 runs batted in, a far cry from last year, when he batted .162 overall and only .150 for the Yankees.


Tennis: Top-ranked Novak Djokovic was upset by Ivo Karlovic 6-7 (2), 7-6 (6), 6-4 while playing through a sandstorm in the Qatar Open quarterfinals.

Cross-country skiing: Six-time Olympic champion Marit Bjoergen remained on course for a first Tour de Ski victory as she won her fifth straight stage in Toblach, Italy. Bjoergen won the 15-kilometer pursuit to extend her lead over Norwegian compatriot Heidi Weng to 2 minutes, 3.8 seconds.