IOC to investigate Armstrong; Brits to burn effigy

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Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after a USADA investigation revealed he was part of the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen,” but it was believed Armstrong would keep his Sydney Olympic medal, if only on the technicality of an expired eight-year statute of limitations.

Now his 2000 time trial bronze is in jeopardy, too.

“USADA’s report has given some pointers that the statute of limitation was interrupted through Lance Armstrong lying about doping,” IOC lawyer Thomas Bach told Reuters. “We will have to examine to see if this is a way we can follow according to Swiss law.”

The IOC said it will begin an immediate investigation into Armstrong, the other riders, and particularly their entourages during the scandalous time window and determine what course of action to take next. The UCI will also begin an investigation regarding allegations made against its organization during the Armstrong era.

Armstrong, who  was mocked on Wednesday’s “South Park” when the town’s people were shown having yellow bracelets removed, stepped down from his post as chairman of the Livestrong organization, lost his sponsorships, and forfeited his fight against the allegations, but maintains he never doped.

Tough to argue with since he also never tested positive for banned substances, but the people of Edenbridge, England don’t seem to care: they’ll burn an effigy of the tarnished cyclist during an annual Nov. 5 commemoration of Guy Fawkes’ unsuccessful plot to blow up Parliament in 1605.

U.S., Great Britain to hold track and field dual meet

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The U.S. and Great Britain go head-to-head in a track and field meet on July 21 at the London Olympic Stadium.

“The Meet” will include nine running, jumping, hurdles and relay events and last two hours. Specific events and athletes will be announced early next year.

The U.S. topped the overall medal standings at every Olympics and world outdoor championships since 2004.

Great Britain is one of three countries to earn at least five medals at every Olympics and worlds since 2007, joining the U.S. and Kenya.

British athletes made six podiums at the just-completed worlds at the London Olympic Stadium, including in all four relays. The other two medals came from Mo Farah, who is moving to road racing and marathons after this season.

“The Meet” is similar to swimming’s “Duel in the Pool,” a biennial head-to-head competition between the U.S. and rival Australia from 2003 through 2007 and between the U.S. and Europe between 2009 and 2015.

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Maria Sharapova gets U.S. Open wild card

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NEW YORK (AP) — Maria Sharapova was granted a wild-card invitation for the U.S. Open’s main draw on Tuesday and will take part in a Grand Slam event for the first time in more than 1 ½ years.

Sharapova is among eight women given entry into the 128-player field by the U.S. Tennis Association — and by far the most noteworthy.

The former No. 1-ranked player and owner of five major titles, including the 2006 U.S. Open, has not entered a major tournament since the Australian Open in January 2016, when she tested positive for the newly banned drug meldonium.

That led to a 15-month doping ban, which expired in April. She returned to the tour, but her ranking — currently 148th — was too low to allow entry into major tournaments, and the French Open denied her a wild card. Sharapova planned to try to qualify for Wimbledon, but the 30-year-old Russian wound up skipping the grass-court portion of the season because of an injured left thigh.

Sharapova has been participating in tournaments via wild-card invitations, beginning in April on red clay at Stuttgart, Germany. She’s only played nine matches this season.

Sharapova was 19 when she won her U.S. Open trophy. Two years before, at 17, Sharapova won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. She has since completed a career Grand Slam and become one of the most recognizable — and marketable — athletes in the world.

The U.S. Open starts in Flushing Meadows on Aug. 28.

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