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Madrid hopes new anti-doping law will strengthen Olympics bid

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On top of Madrid’s relatively minuscule budget of $1.9 billion for the 2020 Olympics – one-tenth of the $19 billion Istanbul has earmarked – Spain hopes the introduction of a new doping law three months before the vote will strengthen its bid.

The new “Law for the Protection of Athletes’ Health and the Fight Against Doping” allows for increased fines and adds the threat of a lifetime ban.

“It strengthens the Madrid 2020 bid,” Spain’s secretary of state for sport, Miguel Cardenal, said in parliament. “Doping is no longer on the agenda as a concern for Madrid’s candidacy. It is a determined step forward for Spain in the fight against those who do not respect the purity of sport.”

The law, which Spain thinks will help shed the perception that the country is soft on doping, also includes the creation of the Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sport, an independent organization that will replace the current Spanish anti-doping agency in managing and conducting tests.

“(Not having the law) had a negative effect on the Madrid 2016 candidacy,” politician Antonio Roman said. “It should not… happen again with Madrid 2020 or the Barcelona bid for the Winter Games of 2022.”

Shaun White discusses ‘shock’ of missing X Games

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Two-time Olympic halfpipe champion Shaun White said he has no hard feelings toward the X Games, after the event didn’t invite him to compete last month for the first time this millennium.

“Basically, I got the phone call that I was uninvited,” White told a Fox TV station in California while promoting his Los Angeles Air & Style event next weekend. “It was a bit of a shock to me. I don’t have any hard feelings. It’s definitely interesting because I was invited to the event for X Games in Norway [in two weeks]. So, I don’t know, they may have some sort of strange politics happening. … I got my own event coming up, which is pretty amazing. Maybe there’s some friction.”

X Games organizers have not elaborated on why White was not invited.

White, an eight-time X Games halfpipe champion, plans to compete in X Games Oslo, his coach said before X Games Aspen two weeks ago, when announcing that White would not compete in Aspen.

White’s relationship with the X Games changed when, before the Sochi Olympics, he purchased a majority share in Air & Style, a touring big air ski and snowboard event that also includes music. Air & Style events have been held in Europe, Beijing and, debuting last year, Los Angeles.

White expanded on Air & Style in October, saying his acquisition came after his conversations with X Games organizers for a similar plan fell apart.

MORE: Fenway Park set to host big air competition

Fenway Park big air broadcast schedule, plus video of jump

Fenway Park
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What will it be like to jump off a ramp inside Fenway Park that’s four times the size of the Green Monster?

“The coolest thing will be standing on top and just seeing Fenway filled with people and people cheering and then basically sliding into home plate,” U.S. Olympic ski slopestyle silver medalist Devin Logan said. “That’s a dream come true, right?”

U.S. skiers and snowboarders will compete in Big Air Fenway, a one-of-a-kind event at the hallowed home of the Boston Red Sox, on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra on Thursday night (snowboard, 8:30 ET) and Friday night (ski, 9 ET). NBC will air coverage Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

PHOTOS: Fenway Park builds big air jump

“I hear numbers like 20,000 [fans], and I’m like, wow, I’ve never skied in front of that many people,” U.S. Olympic ski slopestyle bronze medalist Nick Goepper said.

Olympic ski and snowboard viewers may not be familiar with big air events, since it will debut at the Winter Games at Pyeongchang 2018. It most resembles slopestyle.

“Slopestyle is six to eight features to deal with on the whole way down, you don’t really get to showcase your best most challenging tricks,” U.S. Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion Jamie Anderson said. “With big air, it’s kind of like the one-hit wonder. You get to really go for it and try your hardest tricks. It really takes that level of progression up a lot.”

Ski big air, however, is not yet part of the Olympics.

“It’s really cool that we have the opportunity to do this and to showcase the skiing aspect of big air competition to the world and to [the International Ski Federation] and to all the fans to gain some validity to hopefully be included into the next, next Olympics,” Goepper said.

VIDEO: Chloe Kim scores perfect 100 at U.S. Grand Prix

Alone in Fenway Park. ⚾️⛷

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Game on! #bigairfenway ready to rock. @ussnowboarding @usfreeskiing #boston

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