London 1500m champ tests positive for banned substance

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Turkey’s lone female gold medalist from the London Games, 1500m champ Asli Cakir Alptekin, is one of eight athletes who the World Anti-doping agency says has tested positive for banned, albeit yet unnamed, substances.

The IAAF is calling for the Turkish Athletics Federation to punish Alptekin, possibly with a lifetime ban, since she already served a two-year suspension for doping back in 2004.

That previous ban, plus the fact that Alptekin went from failing to even make the 1500m finals at the 2011 world championships to being the best runner at her distance in mere months was, not surprisingly, considered pretty suspicious.

In fact, British 1500m runner Lisa Dobriskey, who finished tenth, told the Mirror: “I’ll probably get into trouble for saying this but I don’t believe I’m competing on a level playing field,” likely hinting at Alptekin.

If Alptekin is stripped of her medal, her countrywoman Gamze Bulut would actually move up from silver to gold. But given their affiliation, she might have to prove her innocence before accepting the award.

Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain finished third to win her country’s first ever medal. Of course, her countryman Rashid Ramzi won the men’s 1500m in Beijing before being stripped of his gold for doping.

I’m just going to stop typing now.

Laurie Hernandez eyes return to competition in 2018

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NEW YORK – Laurie Hernandez hardly considers her 14 months away from competitive gymnastics a break.

Since earning Olympic team gold and balance beam silver in Rio, the 17-year-old won “Dancing with the Stars,” authored a book and even enrolled in ballet lessons.

But her most rewarding experience has been speaking at schools. Students have asked her seemingly every question, from when she started taking gymnastics classes (age 5) to whether she climbed trees when she was younger (yes, all the time).

Seeing how many children were inspired by her Rio performance motivated Hernandez as she prepares to return to the sport.

“I didn’t realize at the Olympics how many people were truly watching,” Hernandez said Wednesday night at the annual Women’s Sports Foundation Salute to Women in Sports. “Now I’m excited to get back into the gym.”

Hernandez recently added handstand holds, back tucks and front flips to her conditioning program, in addition to continuing to run and lift weights.

“It’s a little difficult, but it’s fine,” she said. “I’ll push it a little more after the holidays.”

She has her eye on returning to competition in 2018.

“That’s definitely the hope,” Hernandez said. “I’m not going to rush anything, but I would love to compete in 2018.”

Hernandez, who said her next goal in gymnastics is to compete at the world championships for the first time and hopefully the 2020 Olympics, has not yet identified her comeback meet.

She noted that Aly Raisman took more than two years off after the London Olympics.

“I know every athlete is different,” Hernandez said. “But I wouldn’t mind following in her footsteps.”

Simone Biles, who has not competed since winning four gold medals in Rio, recently announced that she plans on returning to full-time training Nov. 1 and competition next summer.

“I look up to her, even though we are teammates,” Hernandez said. “I can’t wait to see her out there, but hopefully I’ll be out there with her soon.”

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Olympic cycling champion running for Congress

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Olympic cycling gold medalist Marty Nothstein is the latest to announce he’s running for the eastern Pennsylvania congressional seat being vacated by fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Dent.

Dent, a former state senator, is a centrist Republican who has held the seat since 2005. He’s retiring after his term expires next year.

Nothstein, who won sprint silver in 1996 and gold in 2000, is the only American track cyclist to win an Olympic title at a fully attended Games.

Two Republican state representatives, Ryan Mackenzie and Justin Simmons, previously announced they’re running for Dent’s 15th District seat.

Democrat Bill Leiner, a former Lehigh County commissioner, is also running.

Dent’s district includes Allentown and all of Lehigh County, and parts of four surrounding counties.

Republicans in 2011 stretched the district almost 90 miles to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania to make it more Republican.

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