Asli Cakir Alptekin

Turkey suspends 31 track and field athletes for doping 1 month before 2020 Olympic host city vote

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Turkey’s track and field federation announced two-year drug bans for 31 of its athletes Monday, a news story that bordered an Istanbul 2020 Olympic candidate city panel on its website with the slogan, “Bridge Together.”

The timing for terrible news is certainly not ideal. The nation has been flooded with negative press for months leading into the Sept. 7 vote in Buenos Aires, where the International Olympic Committee will choose from Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo for the host of the 2020 Olympics.

The latest setback for Turkey was not surprising. The 31 bans came after reports of massive positive tests from Turkish athletes leading into the Mediterranean Games in June. Five days ago, nine other Turkish track and field athletes received two-year bans.

The list of athletes, which includes the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in the men’s hammer throw, can be found on the Turkish track and field website here.

More suspensions could be on the way, including one for the 2012 Olympic champion in the women’s 1,500 meters, Asli Cakir Alptekin. She was provisionally suspended in May through the biological passport program as irregularities were found in her blood levels. She could face a lifetime ban because she’s already served a two-year ban for previous doping.

“The files of Asli Cakir Alptekin, Nevin Yanit and Pinar Saka were not assessed because the process of investigation following their defense statements is continuing,” the federation in the statement on its website.

Turkey’s track and field chairman resigned amid the scandal last week.

Long list of star track and field athletes who won’t compete at world championships

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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