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Ousted gold medal shot putter gets one-year doping ban

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Belarus shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who was stripped of her London gold medal after she tested positive for anabolic steroids, received a reduced one-year sentence (instead of the standard two-year ban) from the NADA after her coach, Alexander Yefimov, fessed up to spiking her food with metenolone before the Games.

“You must be a complete idiot to take doping just before the competition,” Ostapchuk, who was tested 16 times between April and the Olympics, said last month. “Especially such an outdated drug as a steroid, knowing you’re going to be tested not once but probably several times.”

The real shame is Ostapchuk, the 2005 world champ and 2010 Euro champ, was considered a favorite after tossing her shot 21.58 meters at a July meet in Minsk. It was the best outdoor throw since 1998 and 0.22 meters farther than her gold medal distance. Yefimov received a four-year suspension for his involvement, which admittedly seems light given his misdeeds.

WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET

Fenway Big Air
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Fenway Park will host some of the world’s best freeskiers in the one-of-a-kind Big Air at Fenway, live on NBC Sports Live Extra on Friday night.

Big air skiers will descend from a ramp that’s four times higher than the Green Monster inside the hallowed Boston Red Sox home.

Ski big air is most like slopestyle of the current Olympic disciplines, except skiers get one jump per run.

WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET

On Thursday, Canadian Max Parrot and American Julia Marino won the snowboard big air competitions at Fenway Park.

Big Air at Fenway coverage will conclude with an NBC show on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

MORE: Olympic champ suffers concussion at Big Air at Fenway practice

Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympics open with homages to 1994

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In an homage to the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway lit the Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympic cauldron to cap the Opening Ceremony on Friday night.

The princess’ father, Crown Prince Haakon, lit the 1994 Olympic cauldron in a very similar fashion (video here). Princess Ingrid Alexandra was born in 2004.

The Opening Ceremony, held outdoors at a ski jump (same venue as 1994) in sub-freezing temperatures, included a speech from International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

“I’m just a little bit too old to compete in the YOG,” Bach said, urging listeners to use the hashtag #IloveYOG during the nine-day Winter Games.

The ceremony included Olympic legends, such as 2010 figure skating gold medalist Yuna Kim and eight-time Olympic cross-country champion Bjorn Daehlie carrying the Olympic flag.

Marit Bjoergen, a 10-time Olympic medalist cross-country skier, handed the Olympic flame to the princess.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will air coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday at 12:30 a.m. ET, plus daily coverage throughout the Winter Games. A full broadcast schedule is here.

MORE: Two years to Pyeongchang: Updates on U.S. Olympic medalists from Sochi