With ski and snowboard slopestyle and ski halfpipe debuting at the 2014 Sochi Games, it’s getting difficult to tell where the X-Games end and the Olympics begin. Now the International Ski Federation (FIS) is considering pushing for Big Air to be added to the 2018 Peyeongchang Games.
“These are conversations being had at a committee level, but there is a push for Big Air,” Michael Spencer, co-founder of the Association of Freeskiing Professionals, told ESPN.com about the negotiations. “If athletes like the idea, what kind of formatting would they want? There are a lot of moving parts that would need to be figured out.”
The discussion was tabled until the FIS could speak with athletes, but one competitor, freeskier Sammy Carlson, said he was all for adding Big Air to the Olympics to grow the sport, but wanted to make sure its addition didn’t dilute the it significance and popularity during the four years between Games.
If it is eligible for the Rio Olympics, Russia’s track and field federation (ARAF) said Tuesday it will not send any athletes convicted of doping in previous years to the Games.
The move was made as Russia’s track and field federation hopes to be reinstated to international competition on June 17 after it was suspended indefinitely in November for doping violations.
“The ARAF presidium has introduced amendments to the criteria of selecting athletes who will go to the Olympics,” a statement read Tuesday, according to a Russian news agency TASS translation. “The list of requirements now contains a special clause saying that any potential participant in the Olympics who proved to have used doping in the previous years cannot be a member of the Russian national team. The ARAF made this harsh decision for the sole purpose of doing its utmost to let clean athletes participate in the Olympics.”
The statement came after Russia media reported 11 Russian track and field athletes from the 2008 Beijing Games, including eight medalists, are among 31 athletes from 12 nations across six sports whose 2008 doping samples retested recently came up positive.
London Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is on that list of 11 athletes.
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London Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is one of many Russians among 31 athletes overall who tested positive in recent retests of Beijing Olympic samples, according to Russian news agency TASS.
TASS named nine 2008 Olympic medalists among 14 Russian athletes, citing a Russian TV report, including eight medalists in track and field, with Chicherova being the superstar of the group.
“Three days ago, Anna received a notice that her doping sample from the Beijing Olympic tested positive after a re-check, and she called me,” Chicherova’s coach said, according to TASS. “So far, this is at the development stage and this has not yet been finally confirmed. But all are aware of this and are dealing with the issue.”
Last week, the International Olympic Committee said 31 unnamed athletes from 12 nations across six sports failed drug tests in retesting of 454 samples from 2008 using the latest drug-testing methods.
Chicherova, 33, took high jump gold at the London Games and bronze in Beijing. She is one of two track and field athletes to earn an individual-event medal at the last five World Championships and last two Olympics. The other is Usain Bolt.
Chicherova, who has had no previously widespread reported doping history, would be one of Russia’s top Olympic track and field medal hopes in Rio, should the ban on Russian track and field athletes competing be lifted before the Games.
Russia is expected to learn if it will be allowed to send a track and field team to Rio on June 17.
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