Carl Lewis from US holds the American flag after w

Carl Lewis offers his support to Tokyo’s 2020 Bid

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Nine-time gold medalist Carl Lewis offered his endorsement to Tokyo’s 2020 bid when he visited the site Monday where he had the “race of my life.”

Lewis was in town working with young athletes who were victims of the 2011 earthquake and Tsunami, along with former triple jump world record holder Willie Banks and current long jump world record holder Mike Powell, whose 8.95 meters mark has stood for twenty-two years.

“I wish them the best of luck because I think they will put on a tremendous games,” Lewis told the Associated Press. “I will be at the 2020 Games wherever it is, and I hope it’s here.”

Lewis believes that Japan’s distinction as a country of technology and innovation is what sets them apart from fellow 2020 bidders Madrid and Istanbul.

“I’m all for progress,” he said. “I believe in high-technology. I believe in state-of-the art new stadiums for people. It makes it more comfortable and leads to improved performances by the athletes.

“Japan has always been a very high-tech community and I think it will be a showcase for a stadium probably more high-tech than any stadium that’s ever been made. I think it will be a great place to be.”

Of course, Lewis admitted he held a bias toward Tokyo because it was where he reclaimed the 100m world record from compatriot Leroy Burrell, running 9.86 seconds at the 1991 world championships.

Coincidentally, Mike Powell broke his record at the same meet:

“Japan has always had a special place in my heart. Breaking the world record here changed my life.”

Russian Olympic champion positive in Beijing doping retest

Anna Chicherova
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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.

“Perhaps it’s just a mistake,” Chicherova said, according to an Associated Press translation of a Russian TV report. “I can’t explain how my doping test gave a positive result. I’ve competed a lot since then and given hundreds of samples.”

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.

“The Ministry of Sport is extremely disappointed to hear the speculation that Russian athletes are among those found to have violated anti-doping rules at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after re-testing their samples,” the Russian Ministry of Sport said in a statement through Burson-Marsteller public relations firm. “Any athletes found cheating should face corresponding sanctions.

“We have taken numerous steps to eradicate the issue of doping, and understand that the roots of the problem, particularly in athletics, go back to the past.”

MORE: Russia track and field boss: ’50-60 percent’ chance of Olympics

U.S. Olympic tennis player refuses to answer meldonium questions

Varvara Lepchenko
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Varvara Lepchenko, a 2012 U.S. Olympic tennis player, reportedly refused comment eight times Tuesday on a report that she tested positive for meldonium earlier this year.

“At the moment I have no comment on any of this,” Lepchenko said after losing her first-round match at the French Open, according to multiple reports. “I’m here just to answer tennis questions. If you have any questions about my match, I would gladly answer them, but otherwise, I just have no comments.”

Lepchenko, a 30-year-old who lived in Uzbekistan until 2001, was found to have meldonium at about the same time as Russian Maria Sharapova, a physiotherapist who worked with Sharapova said, according to Russia’s Sports-Express last week.

Sharapova announced on March 7 that she tested positive for meldonium in January.

Lepchenko didn’t play on the WTA Tour from late February until early May, withdrawing before the BNP Paribas Open in March with a left knee injury and the Sony Open two weeks later with a right knee injury, according to the WTA.

The World Anti-Doping Agency relaxed meldonium punishments in April, allowing bans to be lifted. Sharapova’s ban has not been lifted.

Lepchenko, who lost in the second round at London 2012, is ranked No. 64 in the world and will not qualify for the Rio Olympics.

MORE: Djokovic calls for rankings points at ‘arguably the fifth Grand Slam’