Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt says ‘it will be a good time to retire’ after Rio 2016 Olympics

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Usain Bolt sees the Rio 2016 Olympics as the possible end of his career.

“So far, it’s after the Olympics in Rio,” Bolt said of his retirement plans Wednesday. “I think if I am in great shape, and I go there and do what I have to do. I think it will be a good time to retire, on top, and just being dominating for so long.”

Bolt was speaking two days before his final race of the season, a 100 in Brussels. You can watch Bolt’s entire press conference here.

Bolt, 27, is still dominating. He won triple gold at last month’s World Championships, just as he did at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Bolt also announced his goals for 2014, to possibly compete in the Commonwealth Games for the first time and to better his 200-meter world record of 19.19 set in 2009.

“I have learned, I have mastered the art of running the turn,” Bolt said. “So if I can stay injury free and be in good shape, then it’s possible for me to definitely go after the world record.”

Bolt has said he wants to win three more golds in 2016 in his usual events (100, 200, 4×100 relay). That would give Bolt nine career Olympic medals, all gold, matching Carl Lewis and Paavo Nurmi‘s record for most Olympic titles in track and field.

The Finnish distance legend Nurmi holds the record for most overall Olympic track and field medals with 12.

Bolt will be 29 come the next Olympics. The most notable sprinters over the last two decades all competed into their 30s.

Lewis was 35 in his final Olympics in 1996, though he only competed in the long jump in Atlanta. Michael Johnson was 33 in 2000, when he won the 400 in his last Games. Donovan Bailey was 32 in 2000, when he was ill and unable to reach the final in the 100. 2000 Olympic 100-meter champion Maurice Greene was 30 in his Olympic farewell in 2004.

In Brussels, Bolt will face a field that includes world silver and bronze medalists Justin Gatlin and Nesta Carter on Friday at 2:45 p.m. Eastern time.

Here’s NBC Sports track and field analyst Ato Boldon analyzing Bolt’s comments Wednesday on “SportsDash.”

Samuel L. Jackson wants Bolt in movie

More Olympic distance-running medalists banned for doping

Gamze Bulut
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MONACO (AP) — Turkish runner Elvan Abeylegesse has been banned for doping and stands to lose two Olympic silver medals.

The IAAF says Abeylegesse tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol in a retest of a sample she gave at the 2007 World Championships.

She has been banned for two years and had her results wiped out from 2007-09.

Abeylegesse won Olympic silver medals in the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Games and silver in the 10,000m at the 2007 world championships.

The IAAF also said it had imposed a four-year ban on another Turkish runner, Gamze Bulut, for a violation of its biological passport program. Bulut won 1500m silver at the 2012 London Olympics.

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Maria Sharapova not fully committed to 2020 Olympic run

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The rumors and reports have been out for months, but asked directly, Maria Sharapova wasn’t immediately quite sure how to answer when asked about going for the 2020 Olympics.

“Ooh, I don’t, umm,” Sharapova said, laughing lightly, sitting across from retired U.S. Olympic soccer champion Julia Foudy at a conference in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Tuesday (video here). “It’s a question I’ve been asked, and I’d love to sit here today and say yes, in three-so years that is where I want to be. But it’s hard. It’s hard to look that far, also being a woman that’s also [turning] 30 years [old in three weeks]. I want to have a family. I want to be a mother. Those are definitely long-term goals of mine. But of course to compete in another Olympics, that’s an athlete’s dream. I’d love to be a part of that.”

Sharapova is set to return from her 15-month meldonium ban next month. What stings the most about her suspension?

“Something was taken away from you that you’ve done so passionately since you were a little girl,” she said. “Although I’m at a stage and an age in my career and in my life where you’re closer to the end than you are to the beginning, you always want to end your career or a chapter in your life on your terms and in your voice. And to be in a moment where you feel or you felt like it could have ended on someone else’s voice and someone else’s terms was very difficult to accept. That’s why I fought so hard for the truth to be out. You don’t realize how much you love something and how much something it means to you until you lose it for some time. It gave me a chance also to live.”

Sharapova joked about going to Coachella last year.

“There’s 120,000 people doing drugs that I’m not aware of?” she said, laughing. “And completely being out of my element. I was like, OK? … I’m skipping Coachella this year, because I got my day-job back.”

The fans’ reaction when she gets back on the competition courts?

“I don’t know if there’s much that I can control,” she said.

Earlier this month, her agent reportedly said he thought that Sharapova will play through the 2020 Tokyo Games if healthy.

Sharapova will be 33 years old come the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, two years older than any previous Russian Olympic tennis player. She will likely have to be ranked among the top four Russians in the world in spring 2020 to qualify for the Games outright.

Sharapova’s passion for the Olympics is well documented.

She carried the Russian flag into the London 2012 Opening Ceremony and carried the Olympic flame into Fisht Stadium at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony, where she worked for NBC Olympics.

“It was the one thing that my parents allowed me to watch on TV late into the evening was the Olympics,” Sharapova said Tuesday. “I grew up watching figure skating and hockey and a little bit of tennis. … Just capturing the Opening Ceremonies and seeing all the countries and the little hats that they wore, and I, as a little girl, I just imagined that maybe it would be me. But I never, ever thought that I would be carrying the flag.

“I received that [flag] honor in a text message, which is a very Russian way of communicating. I originally thought it was a joke, a big fat joke. Then I showed it to my mother, and she [said], no, they probably wouldn’t joke like that.”

In February 2016, Sharapova entered a Fed Cup tie, despite saying she was injured, in order to receive Olympic eligibility.

One month later, her failed drug test was announced.

Two women’s players, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams, have achieved the singles career Golden Slam — winning all four majors and the Olympics. Sharapova, beaten by Williams 6-0, 6-1 in the London 2012 final, is a Tokyo title away from joining them.

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