Rebecca Soni

Rebecca Soni, Pilates teacher, asked about 2016 Olympics

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To those wondering if and when Rebecca Soni will return to swimming competition: keep waiting.

Soni, 26 and a six-time Olympic medalist, was asked about the 2016 Olympics by the (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) Beach Reporter weekly newspaper in an article published Thursday.

I have to ask about you about 2016 Summer Olympics; have you decided to go for it again?

At the moment, I’m focusing on things away from the pool, but you never know.

That’s in line with what the Los Angeles Times reported in March, that “for now, she is not sure about her future in the pool, beyond taking off this year.”

Soni was still in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s drug-testing pool as of the second quarter of 2013, meaning she wouldn’t have to wait nine months before returning to international competition (like Michael Phelps would).

Soni attended the World Championships in Barcelona in August, where Dane Rikke Møller Pedersen broke her world record in the 200-meter breaststroke semifinals (video here).

If Soni decides to come back for 2016, she’ll put a sterling Olympic record on the line. She has won a medal in every Olympic event she has entered (two golds in the 200 breast, two silvers in the 100 breast and one of each in the medley relay). She won’t catch Natalie Coughlin, who went 11 for 11 over three Games.

But Soni can break former rival Leisel Jones‘ record of most Olympic medals in breaststroke events. Soni has four. The retired Jones has five.

Soni also told the Beach Reporter she will start teaching Pilates classes next week (Tuesdays at 6 and 7 a.m. at Redondo RockIt Body Pilates) after working to become a certified instructor this year.

Missy Franklin expected to make Cal debut Friday

Russian Olympic champion positive in Beijing doping retest

Anna Chicherova
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London Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is one of many Russians among 31 athletes overall who tested positive in recent retests of Beijing Olympic samples, according to Russian news agency TASS.

TASS named nine 2008 Olympic medalists among 14 Russian athletes, citing a Russian TV report, including eight medalists in track and field, with Chicherova being the superstar of the group.

“Perhaps it’s just a mistake,” Chicherova said, according to an Associated Press translation of a Russian TV report. “I can’t explain how my doping test gave a positive result. I’ve competed a lot since then and given hundreds of samples.”

Last week, the International Olympic Committee said 31 unnamed athletes from 12 nations across six sports failed drug tests in retesting of 454 samples from 2008 using the latest drug-testing methods.

Chicherova, 33, took high jump gold at the London Games and bronze in Beijing. She is one of two track and field athletes to earn an individual-event medal at the last five World Championships and last two Olympics. The other is Usain Bolt.

Chicherova, who has had no previously widespread reported doping history, would be one of Russia’s top Olympic track and field medal hopes in Rio, should the ban on Russian track and field athletes competing be lifted before the Games.

Russia is expected to learn if it will be allowed to send a track and field team to Rio on June 17.

“The Ministry of Sport is extremely disappointed to hear the speculation that Russian athletes are among those found to have violated anti-doping rules at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after re-testing their samples,” the Russian Ministry of Sport said in a statement through Burson-Marsteller public relations firm. “Any athletes found cheating should face corresponding sanctions.

“We have taken numerous steps to eradicate the issue of doping, and understand that the roots of the problem, particularly in athletics, go back to the past.”

MORE: Russia track and field boss: ’50-60 percent’ chance of Olympics

U.S. Olympic tennis player refuses to answer meldonium questions

Varvara Lepchenko
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Varvara Lepchenko, a 2012 U.S. Olympic tennis player, reportedly refused comment eight times Tuesday on a report that she tested positive for meldonium earlier this year.

“At the moment I have no comment on any of this,” Lepchenko said after losing her first-round match at the French Open, according to multiple reports. “I’m here just to answer tennis questions. If you have any questions about my match, I would gladly answer them, but otherwise, I just have no comments.”

Lepchenko, a 30-year-old who lived in Uzbekistan until 2001, was found to have meldonium at about the same time as Russian Maria Sharapova, a physiotherapist who worked with Sharapova said, according to Russia’s Sports-Express last week.

Sharapova announced on March 7 that she tested positive for meldonium in January.

Lepchenko didn’t play on the WTA Tour from late February until early May, withdrawing before the BNP Paribas Open in March with a left knee injury and the Sony Open two weeks later with a right knee injury, according to the WTA.

The World Anti-Doping Agency relaxed meldonium punishments in April, allowing bans to be lifted. Sharapova’s ban has not been lifted.

Lepchenko, who lost in the second round at London 2012, is ranked No. 64 in the world and will not qualify for the Rio Olympics.

MORE: Djokovic calls for rankings points at ‘arguably the fifth Grand Slam’