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.”

Usain Bolt says he will work out for Borussia Dortmund on Thursday

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Usain Bolt said he will work out for German soccer club Borussia Dortmund on Thursday. At the very least, it will aid in Bolt’s preparation for a June 10 charity match.

Bolt confirmed the date of the training in an Italian TV interview on Wednesday in Basel, Switzerland, after he kicked the ball around with retired soccer stars in front of Diego Maradona and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

“We’re going there to be serious,” Bolt said on Jamaican TV two weeks ago of his trip to Germany. “I want to go there to test my skills.”

Bolt said two weeks ago that his two-day trial will include a public session and a more serious private session. After Bolt’s comments Wednesday, Dortmund said the public session will be Friday.

Bolt recently trained three days a week with one of the club’s in Jamaica’s top domestic league, Harbour View.

“I’ve done enough to keep a semblance of fitness,” said Bolt, who tore his left hamstring in the final race of his career at the world championships on Aug. 12.

Bolt added that he could easily make any team in Jamaica’s top division, but that he needs more time to reach a fitness level required to play serious minutes.

Bolt previously said he could easily make Jamaica’s national team, according to Reuters.

Bolt has dreamed of playing for his favorite club, Manchester United.

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Carolina Kostner tops Alina Zagitova in world champs short program

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Italian Carolina Kostner is the surprise leader after the short program at figure skating worlds, topping a woman half her age, Olympic champion Alina Zagitova, by .76 of a point in Milan on Wednesday.

Kostner, 31, tallied a personal-best 80.27 as she eyes a second world title to join her 2012 crown. Kostner earned the 2014 Olympic bronze medal and was fifth in PyeongChang as the oldest woman in the field by more than six years.

She can become the oldest women’s world champion by more than four years if she hangs on in Friday’s free skate, according to reports when Maria Butyrskaya won at age 26 in 1999.

“If I think back 15 years ago, when I started skating internationally, nobody in Italy followed figure skating,” said Kostner, who could retire after worlds. “Now, there’s a venue full of people sharing this passion with me.”

Zagitova, 15 and trying to become the youngest world champion since Tara Lipinski in 1997, struggled on the back end of her triple-triple jump combination. Her score of 79.51 was 3.41 points fewer than her world record at the Olympics.

“I felt, somehow, tight in my body,” Zagitova said through a translator. “I think it was nerves, but I don’t know why.

“I was more nervous here than at the Olympic Games.”

Zagitova, undefeated in her first senior international season, entered as the clear favorite with Olympic silver medalist and 2016 and 2017 World champion Yevgenia Medvedeva withdrawing from the event due to a right foot injury.

Japan’s Satoko Miyahara and Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond are in third and fourth, reversing their final placements from the Olympics. The U.S. women are in seventh (Bradie Tennell), ninth (Mirai Nagasu) and 17th place (Mariah Bell).

Full results are here.

The top two U.S. women’s results must add up to no more than 13 (sixth and seventh, for example), or they will be dropped to two spots at the 2019 World Championships. The last time the U.S. had fewer than the maximum three spots at an Olympics or worlds was 2013.

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Tennell, the 20-year-old U.S. champion who led the Americans at the Olympics in ninth, swung her fist after a clean short that scored 68.76 points. She was .18 off her personal best from the Olympic team event.

“This is my first world championships, so to go out there and put out a program like that, I’m very proud of myself,” Tennell said, according to U.S. Figure Skating.

Nagasu, who was 10th at the Olympics, performed a double Axel rather than the triple she landed in the Olympic team event. She also had her triple-triple combination downgraded to a triple-double.

Bell, the second alternate who made the team after Olympian Karen Chen withdrew and Ashley Wagner passed, struggled on her opening combination, only able to tack on a single jump.

Later Wednesday, Olympic pairs’ champions Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot topped the short program with a personal best.

Key Free Skate Start Times (Friday ET)
Mariah Bell (USA) — 2:32 p.m.
Bradie Tennell (USA) — 4:05 p.m.
Mirai Nagasu (USA) — 4:12 p.m.
Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) — 4:36 p.m.
Satoko Miyahara (JPN) — 5 p.m.
Alina Zagitova (RUS) — 5:08 p.m.
Carolina Kostner (ITA) — 5:16 p.m.

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