Report: Lindsey Vonn faced surprise drug test at “Fashion Oscars”

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According to New York Post sources, Vancouver downhill champ Lindsey Vonn had to undergo mandatory drug testing Monday night while attending the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards, aka: the “Fashion Oscars.”

Vonn was at New York’s Lincoln Center with designer Cynthia Rowley, who designed the skiers dress for the evening, when the gold medalist got a surprise call from US Anti-Doping Agency testers. They were outside the venue and wanted to take an immediate sample from the athlete.

Rowley reportedly escorted the testers into the event, where they met Vonn in the restroom about five minutes later. Vonn gave them a urine sample and was then apparently told to “have fun.”

The timing is curious, since Vonn has just recently started training again after suffering a grisly knee injury in February. But it also wouldn’t be the first time an Olympic champ has been surprised with a drug test this spring: Aly Raisman was similarly met by USADA testers while shooting a segment about Dancing with the Stars for Access Hollywood Live last month.

“They haven’t [tested me] since the Olympics,” Raisman said. “And they choose the finale week of Dancing with the Stars… Out of all the days since the Olympics, they choose, like, the craziest week.”

But according to Tom Kelly of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, athletes are well aware of the practice, and should be prepared to be tested at anytime, in or out of season.

“All elite athletes in all sports are always on call for testing 24/7/365,” Kelly explained. “Testing can and does occur at any time. Athletes are required to report their whereabouts at all times.”

Update:

USADA spokesperson Annie Skinner confirmed to Olympic Talk that Vonn was tested in New York:

“She provided USADA with her location information indicating she would be in New York and we performed a test collection on her there. We appreciate her professionalism and for accommodating this process, which at times can be inconvenient. Her sample was collected in accordance with the standard protocols and will be processed by a WADA-accredited laboratory. This real-life example demonstrates the commitment of our elite Olympic athletes and the accommodations they make for the inconvenience of drug testing, in order to ensure the ideals of clean sport are upheld.”

Ragan Smith delivers in first U.S. championship title win

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ragan Smith embraced the role of heavy favorite coming into the U.S. gymnastics championships.

Thrust into the spotlight for the first time in her career, the 17-year-old hardly appeared intimidated by the stage. Smith pulled away from the field to claim her first national title Sunday, posting a score of 115.250, more than three points clear of Jordan Chiles in second place and Riley McCusker in third.

Smith opened up a 1.3-point lead over McCusker in the opening round Friday but admitted afterward she wasn’t particularly impressed by her own performance. She was considerably sharper less than 48 hours later, her 57.850 total in the finals was the best in the 16-woman all-around field by nearly two points.

Smith is one of the few holdovers from the 2016 Olympic cycle, serving as an alternate for the “Final Five” team that won half of the available medals in Rio de Janeiro last fall. Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez are taking breaks or have moved on, leaving Smith as the standard bearer for new national team coordinator Valeri Liukin.

The program appears to be in solid hands. Smith ditched “The Addams Family” themed floor routine she used last year for something a little more mature. It’s not the only part of her gymnastics that has grown up. Smith finished first on floor and beam and tied for third on bars.

Smith will be in the mix for the all-around title at the world championships in Montreal, where she’ll have a chance to extend the U.S.’s dominance. An American woman has won the world or Olympic title each of the last six years. Barring injury, Smith should be right there.

Liukin said he wasn’t alarmed following an uneven performance by the field in preliminaries, calling it a positive step for a group lacking in experience. The gymnastics were markedly improved in the finals.

Chiles slipped by McCusker into second thanks to a fabulous save on beam in which she turned a near disaster into something decidedly artful.

Chiles was in the middle of “wolf turn” (basically spinning on one foot while in a crouch on a 4-inch wide piece of wood) when she nearly fell over. Instead she rose to her feet, kept rotating, and went right into the next part of her routine as if it was planned all along.

Chiles’ steadiness gives Liukin another option as he tries to put together the rest of the four-woman team that will join Smith in Montreal. McCusker, only recently recovered from foot and wrist injuries, tried to keep the heat on Smith but stepped out of bounds following the last tumbling pass on her floor routine. McCusker finished first on bars — her legs practically magnetized together as she went from bar to bar — to win the event with ease.

Ashton Locklear, like Smith an alternate last summer, wound up second on bars with a watered down routine as he makes her way back from her own injury issues and should have time to install upgrades before Montreal.

Whoever heads to Canada in October will go with the usual expectations for what has become the sport’s most dominant program.

MORE: Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles has competed in the six previous U.S. National Championships, winning the last four, but in Anaheim this year, she’s watching from the sidelines. Biles won four gold medals (team, all-around, vault and floor) and one bronze (on beam) last summer at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

This week she revealed she has returned to the gym to prepare for a yet to be determined event, in her return to competition.

When asked how she’s been doing in the gym by NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce, Biles responded with her signature smile accompanied by an endearingly bashful eye roll, “the beginning is…OK.”

MORE: Danell Leyva on why he’s retiring

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