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Veronica Campbell-Brown could avoid doping ban

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Three-time Olympic champ Veronica Campbell-Brown is hoping to avoid a maximum suspension for doping because the drug she tested positive for was reportedly contained in a cream she declared on her doping control form, according to Reuters.

The Jamaican sprinter tested positive for the diuretic furosemide, which was found in urine samples taken at the Kingston Invitational on May 4. The substance is banned for its use as a masking agent for performance enhancing drugs.

She was facing a two-year ban from the IAAF after her B-sample confirmed the results last week, but if the drug doesn’t appear listed on the label of the cream, then Campbell-Brown may have some wiggle room with WADA.

“As soon as we get notification of the B-sample we will be moving to empanel a disciplinary team to carry out a speedy hearing,” Jamaican Athletics president Warren Blake said Tuesday.

Campbell-Brown is one of the country’s most decorated Olympians, having won seven medals, including back-to-back 200m gold in Athens and Beijing. If her appeal isn’t upheld then she’s likely to miss national trials this weekend and be unable to defend her 200m world title in Moscow this August.

Adding to the intrigue, just yesterday Usain Bolt’s coach Glen Mills called for the government to create an accredited anti-doping lab to “ensure the purity of substances” the Jamaicans are using in training, which he thinks will help top athletes navigate the current minefield of things like contaminated creams.

UPDATE: Campbell-Brown’s manager Claude Bryan has released a statement from his client apologizing to those hurt by the news while not accepting guilt for taking the banned substance:

“Veronica is not a cheat, she has via hard work and dedication accomplished a record on the track which is absolutely remarkable. Her faith which rest not in device or creed will see her through this dark period. Due to her determination to vigorously pursue the clearing of her name, she will desist from being vocal suffice it to say, while not accepting guilt of willfully taking a banned substance, she wholeheartedly apologizes to her family, Jamaica, her sponsors, the governing body, the world athletics family, her supporters as well as those she worked with in various non-athletic causes for any embarrassment and or hurt this devastating news has caused. She remains an ardent believer in the purity of competition, the beauty of the sport and resolute in the fact that unearned suffering has redemptive qualities.”

Yuzuru Hanyu wins record fourth straight Grand Prix Final; Nathan Chen on podium

Yuzuru Hanyu
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Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu became the first singles skater to win four straight Grand Prix Finals, while 17-year-old Nathan Chen is the second-youngest men’s medalist in the event’s 22-year history.

The Olympic champion Hanyu held on to win despite scoring 10 points fewer than Chen in the free skate in Marseille, France, on Saturday.

Chen finished second, 11.05 points behind, rising from fifth of six skaters after Thursday’s short program.

“It’s kind of a shock,” said Chen, the U.S. bronze medalist who is in his first season as a senior skater. “I wasn’t really expecting to be able to come out with a medal here.”

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in his free skate with no falls after erring on both of his quads in the short program.

Hanyu fell once and singled a Lutz, scoring 32.11 points fewer than his record free skate last year.

“I feel total disappointment with my long program,” Hanyu said to open the post-event press conference. “But the result is good.”

Chen became the first U.S. men’s medalist at the Grand Prix Final since Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir earned gold and bronze in 2009.

Only Russian Yevgeny Plushenko won a men’s Grand Prix Final medal at a younger age, a bronze at 16 in the 1998-99 season.

U.S. champion Adam Rippon fell three times Saturday and finished last of six skaters.

Chen, the darling attraction of the 2010 U.S. Championships at age 10, is now the clear favorite for the U.S. Championships in January. Chen can become the youngest U.S. champion since Scott Allen in 1966.

“There’s always room to improve in terms of artistry and stuff like that,” said Chen, who has been working with noted ice dance coach and choreographer Marina Zoueva this fall. “I guess that will be the biggest goal for me next.”

NBCSN will air Grand Prix Final coverage Sunday from 8:30-11 p.m. ET.

MORE: Javier Fernandez builds toward last Olympic chance

Men’s Results
GOLD: Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 293.90
SILVER: Nathan Chen (USA) — 282.85
BRONZE: Shoma Uno (JPN) — 282.51
4. Javier Fernandez (ESP) — 268.77
5. Patrick Chan (CAN) — 266.75
6. Adam Rippon (USA) — 233.10

Yevgenia Medvedeva repeats as Grand Prix Final winner, misses Yuna Kim record

Yevgenia Medvedeva
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Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva extended one of the most dominant runs in recent history, repeating as Grand Prix Final champion on Saturday.

Medvedeva recovered from stepping out of her opening jump — a shocking error for her — to total 227.66 points, the second-highest score under an 11-year-old judging system. The 17-year-old just missed Yuna Kim‘s record 228.56 from the 2010 Olympics.

Medvedeva, who last lost in November 2015, won by 9.33 points over Japan’s Satoko Miyahara in Marseille, France. Russian Anna Pogorilaya was third, followed by Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond.

Miyahara, Pogorilaya and Osmond all tallied personal-best free skates.

Medvedeva made that early mistake skating to music from “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” a 2011 film relating to the 9/11 attacks. It’s a controversial program choice that includes, at one point, the voice of George W. Bush declaring that two airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center.

“I’m happy, but I’m so sad about my mistake on my first jump,” Medvedeva said.

Nobody has finished within five points of Medvedeva during this winning streak, which included the 2016 European and World Championships and this perfect Grand Prix season. She’s seeking the first perfect season, including Grand Prix Final and world titles, since countrywoman Irina Slutskaya in 2004-05.

No U.S. woman qualified for the Grand Prix Final for the first time since 2008.

NBCSN will air Grand Prix Final coverage Sunday from 8:30-11 p.m. ET.

MORE: Javier Fernandez builds toward last Olympic chance

Women’s Results
GOLD: Yevgenia Medvedeva (RUS) — 227.66
SILVER: Satoko Miyahara (JPN) — 218.33
BRONZE: Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) — 216.47
4. Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) — 212.45
5. Maria Sotskova (RUS) — 198.79
6. Yelena Radionova (RUS) — 188.81