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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.”

2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships to be in San Jose

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The 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the final competition to determine the Pyeongchang Olympic team, will be in San Jose, California, at the SAP Center, concluding Jan. 7.

It appears to be the earliest the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will end in an Olympic year in at least 50 years.

The competition will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed live on Icenetwork.com.

San Jose previously hosted the U.S. Championships in 1996 and 2012, but it has never hosted in an Olympic year.

Sochi Olympian Polina Edmunds is from San Jose and figures to receive a boost of crowd support. Edmunds, 18, begins classes at nearby Santa Clara University next month.

The January 2017 U.S. Championships will be in Kansas City. The international figure skating season starts next month, with Skate America kicking off the Grand Prix season in October.

Recent Nationals host cities in Olympic years were Boston in 2014 and Spokane, Washington, in 2010.

MORE: Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold headline Skate America

Fiji Olympic rugby coach given 3 acres of land, special name

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11:  Gold medalists Ro Dakuwaqa of Fiji and Fiji head coach Ben Ryan celebrate after the medal ceremony for the Men's Rugby Sevens on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympics at Deodoro Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
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Olympic coaches don’t receive gold medals. Fiji Olympic men’s rugby coach Ben Ryan may have gotten something better anyway.

Ryan’s reward for guiding Fiji to its first Olympic medal in any sport — gold in rugby sevens’ Olympic debut — included three acres of land in Fiji and a new name, Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara, according to Fijian reports.

Ryan, a London native, is stepping down as coach of the Fijian team. The 44-year-old coached the team for three years after leading the England national sevens team for six years.

MORE: Fiji wins nation’s first Olympic medal