Russia kiss

Russian sprinters deny kiss on podium was out of protest

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Two members of the Russian women’s 4×400-meter relay team who gained attention for kissing at the World Track and Field Championships denied it was out of protest of Russia’s anti-gay law.

One of the 4×400 team members called one of the published images a photographer’s “sick fantasy,” according to R-Sport.

The photograph to the right is of Ksenia Ryzhova and Yulia Guschina kissing, according to R-Sport. It was reported previously that it was of Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova.

“The storm of emotions going through us was incredible,” Ryzhova said, according to The Associated Press. “And if we, accidentally, while congratulating each other, touched lips, excuse me. We think the whole fuss is more of a sick fantasy not grounded in anything.”

All four members of the 4×400-meter final team exchanged kisses on the podium after receiving their gold medals (video here).

“Yesterday I got calls from probably 20 different media outlets and instead of congratulating us for the gold medal, they decided to insult me and Julia (Guschina) and the entire federation,” Ryzhova said at a Moscow press conference Tuesday, according to R-Sport.

Ryzhova said she and Guschina have no personal relationship and are both married.

Video: Entire Russian 4×400 team kisses on podium

Young U.S. relay team can’t match Great Britain, Russia (video)

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It’s no coincidence that the U.S. men’s 4x200m freestyle relay team had its worst finish since 2001, a bronze in Budapest on Friday.

From 2002 through 2016, either Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte was part of the quartet (and usually both of them were).

But with Phelps retired and Lochte suspended, a much younger foursome swam at worlds, including three men who had no Olympic final experience.

The U.S. led after three of four legs, but Great Britain anchor James Guy (2015 World 200m free champion) had the fastest split of all 32 swimmers by .78.

Guy zoomed past American Zane Grothe as the Brits repeated as world champs in the relay by .98 over Russia, which was a half-second ahead of the U.S. for silver.

Grothe, who is better in the 400m and 800m frees, split three seconds slower than Guy. He was the slowest American by nearly a second (when accounting for slower leadoff legs due to flat starts).

One swimmer the U.S. left off the final quartet was Conor Dwyer, a relay finalist member at every Olympics worlds since 2011. But Dwyer, the Rio 200m free bronze medalist, was fourth in the 200m free at nationals and even slower leading off the U.S. 4x200m in the morning heats.

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Simone Biles gets biopic

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Simone Biles is executive producing her own biopic, “The Simone Biles Story” (working title) set to premiere in early 2018 on Lifetime.

The film is based on her biography, “Courage to Soar,” and will reveal “the sacrifices and dedication it took her to become one of the greatest and most celebrated athletes in the world,” according to a press release.

Biles is a co-executive producer with three others, including her agent.

Biles follows Gabby Douglas, whose biopic, “The Gabby Douglas Story,” premiered on Lifetime in early 2014 after her 2012 Olympic all-around title.

Biles is expected to return to gymnastics training late this year or early next year.

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