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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.”

Jim Craig: Minor changes, but no hesitation, in second ‘Miracle’ sale

Jim Craig
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It has been 300 days since Jim Craig first announced he would sell a bundle of his “Miracle on Ice” memorabilia, including his gold medal, for $5.7 million.

They didn’t sell last year. So he took most of the items in the original bundle and is splitting them up in an auction that runs though June 17.

On Tuesday, Craig said he had no thoughts about keeping the most precious items in the 10 months in between sales.

“We wanted to sell an entire collection to a person that would have the financial means to be able to display it, hopefully that everybody would be able to come and enjoy it like they have the last 35 years,” Craig said. “It’s a lot better than being tucked in a closet.”

There are a few items from the original bundle that Craig decided not to auction this time around — a 1980 Sports Illustrated Sportsmen of the Year trophy, two watches that he gave to his kids and an Olympic ring.

VIDEO: Which Miracle item is toughest for Craig to sell?

Christie Rampone not at fitness level to compete for Olympic spot

Christie Rampone
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Christie Rampone, the 40-year-old captain of the 2015 U.S. Women’s World Cup team, has yet to return to full fitness after December knee surgery and pulled out of a U.S. camp ahead of two pre-Olympic friendlies in June.

Her bid for a fifth Olympics, and to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player of all time, is in danger.

The camp begins Friday. The friendlies against rival Japan (which failed to qualify for Rio) are June 2 and June 5.

“I don’t feel 100 percent healthy enough to train and compete at that level,” Rampone said in a press release Tuesday. “I’ve been able to manage myself and contribute to Sky Blue [her club team] this season, which I will continue to do, but I also have an understanding of the level of fitness and health needed to push for an Olympic roster spot, and I know I’m not there right now. It’s not the right choice for myself or the team to put myself in that environment.”

Rampone, a defender, hasn’t played for the U.S. since her December arthroscopic knee surgery. At the 2015 Women’s World Cup, she played a total of 14 minutes.

The U.S. national team is currently without nine players from the 23-player World Cup team, though some are expected back for the Olympics, but only one of the missing other than Rampone is a defender (the retired Lori Chalupny).

The U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team for London was named in May 2012, but the Rio roster of 18 players is expected to be announced by early July.

VIDEO: Hope Solo ‘begrudgingly’ going to Rio Olympics