LaShawn Merritt

U.S. cruises to men’s 4×400 relay victory at World Championships (video)

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The U.S. men’s 4×400-meter relay team won its fifth straight world title, bouncing back from a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics for gold at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Friday.

David Verburg, Tony McQuay, Arman Hall and LaShawn Merritt won in 2 minutes, 58.71 seconds. Jamaica earned silver in 2:59.88, edging Russia, which took bronze in 2:59.90.

The U.S. led after every leg with Hall, 19, handing off to the anchor Merritt with a comfortable cushion. Merritt, who won the individual 400 meters in Moscow, now owns six career World Championship gold medals.

World Track and Field Championships broadcast schedule

Merritt was unable to take part in the 4×400 at the London Olympics after pulling up in his first-round heat of the 400 with a hamstring injury. The Bahamas nipped the U.S. by .33 of a second for gold, the first time the U.S. was beaten to the finish line of an Olympic final since 1952.

The Americans have won the 4×400 world title at the last five meets and had not been beaten to the finish line since the 1991 World Championships. The U.S. has been disqualified at worlds since 1991, though.

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WADA investigates report that 10,000 Chinese athletes doped

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BERLIN (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency is looking into allegations made by a German broadcaster that Chinese athletes benefited from systematic doping in the 1980s and 90s.

“The allegations were brought forward by former Chinese physician, Xue Yinxian, who is said to have looked after several national teams in China during the decades in question,” WADA said Monday.

Xue, who recently arrived in Germany and is seeking political asylum with her son, told broadcaster ARD that more than 10,000 athletes were affected, some as young as 11, and that anyone who was against doping was considered “a danger to the country. And anyone who endangered the country is now in prison.”

The 79-year-old Xue said she lost her job with the national gymnastics team after refusing to treat an athlete with doping substances before the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

She said she had not felt safe in her home city of Beijing since 2012, when she first made her allegations of doping. She first started working with China’s national teams in the 1970s.

“In the 1980s and ’90s, Chinese athletes on the national teams made extensive use of doping substances,” she told ARD. “Medals were showered in doping. Gold, silver and bronze. All international medals should be withdrawn.”

WADA said it will examine “whether such a system may have prevailed beyond these decades.”

The first step, WADA said, was for its “independent intelligence and investigations team to initiate an investigative process in order to collect and analyze available information in coordination with external partners.”

Xue, who continued to work at lower levels after being dismissed from the national team in 1988, said she was only approached afterward when athletes developed problems because of the substances they were given.

“One trainer came to me and said, ‘Doctor Xue, the boys’ breasts keep getting bigger,’” Xue said. “These boys were about 13 to 14 years old.”

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PyeongChang Olympic organizers downplay North Korea concern

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ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (AP) — PyeongChang Olympic organizers played down concern over ongoing tensions with North Korea and also say work has been completed on all venues for the Winter Games.

Lee Hee-beom, president of the PyeongChang organizing committee, said the International Olympic Committee has made it very clear that the Feb. 9-25 Winter Games will go ahead as scheduled.

Speaking at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics shortly after the last rehearsal for Tuesday’s official flame-lighting ceremony, Lee said “there is no Plan B.”

Lee said South Korean officials are working closely with all relevant parties to ensure the Winter Games are safe and secure.

He said his main concern for the Olympics is the weather.

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