Veronica Campbell-Brown

Veronica Campbell-Brown receives warning, no suspension from Jamaican track and field panel

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Jamaica’s most decorated Olympic champion is set to be cleared to compete, five months after failing a drug test.

A Jamaican track and field disciplinary panel issued a warning and no suspension to Veronica Campbell-Brown, 31 and a seven-time Olympic medalist, Wednesday night.

“The disciplinary committee has issued a ruling that Veronica Campbell-Brown has committed an anti-doping violation, contrary to IAAF Rule 32.2a,” the Jamaican Athletics Administrative Association said in a statement. “They have recommended that a reprimand without any period of ineligibility would be appropriate.”

The IAAF has to ratify the recommendation, according to the Jamaica Gleaner. The newspaper reported on Thursday that the ruling was unlikely to be upheld by the IAAF, citing at least two unnamed officials.

IAAF Rule 32.2a outlines what constitutes an anti-doping rule violation. It is 243 words long and can be found in the IAAF rule book here. The Jamaican panel ruled Campbell-Brown did not use the banned substance to enhance her performance.

Campbell-Brown tested positive for a banned diuretic on May 4. The positive test was first reported June 14. The drug was reportedly either Lasix (Furosemide) or Hydrochlorothiazide, similar substances that can be used as masking agents for performance-enhancing drugs.

The banned drug came from a cream that Campbell-Brown was using to treat a leg injury and which she had declared on her doping control form, according to Reuters, citing unnamed sources close to Jamaican track and field.

Campbell-Brown was provisionally suspended and has not competed since June. Another Jamaican sprinter, Steve Mullings, tested positive for Furosemide in 2011 and was banned for life. Mullings had tested positive before. This was Campbell-Brown’s first failed test.

Campbell-Brown has not made any public comments since the test came to light and missed the Jamaican National Championships and the World Championships. She was considered a medal contender in the 100 meters, 200 and 4×100 relay.

In June, an IAAF spokesman said Campbell-Brown’s case appeared to be a “lesser” offense of unintentional use. In July, the Times of London reported Campbell-Brown was expected to receive a six-month ban.

The standard ban for positive drug tests is two years, but under a “lesser” offense, just a warning is an option if the athlete can prove he or she ingested the substance without intent to enhance performance.

“Veronica is not a cheat,” read part of a statement sent to media by Campbell-Brown’s agent in June.

She effectively did serve a six-month ban given she sat out all summer competitions, and the next track and field season doesn’t pick up again until 2014.

Campbell-Brown was the first in a series of positive drug tests for sprinters this season that included American record holder Tyson Gay, former world record holder Asafa Powell and 2008 Olympic 100-meter silver medalist Sherone Simpson.

Gay, Powell and Simpson have not received their official suspensions yet but haven’t competed since their positive tests were first reported.

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Kobe Bryant announces retirement but remains in contention for Rio team

Kobe Bryant
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Veteran basketball player and 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant has announced he will retire from professional basketball after the end of this season. However, ESPN reported that the chairman of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo, said that Bryant “remains in contention for Team USA spot for Rio 2016.”

In the form of a poem titled “Dear Basketball” on the Player’s Tribune, Bryant wrote:

This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

Bryant played on the U.S. national team from 2007 to 2012. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics he scored 20 points in the gold medal game to win gold over Spain. He helped the U.S. men to gold again in 2012, then said that it would be his last Olympics.

But he’s changed his tune in recent months. Bryant told the Associated Press in November that he’d like a shot at another Olympics.

“I would like to play,” Bryant said. “I think it’d be awesome. A beautiful experience.”

If he were selected and won again, Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony would become the first U.S. male basketball players to win three gold Olympic medals.

In the AP interview Bryant spoke glowingly of his Olympic teammates. “It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” he said. “I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it’s just us being together, that would be fun.”

He also said he believes he’d be an asset to the team, stating, “I feel like I can add value from a leadership perspective and a defensive perspective. I can still move extremely well defensively.”

Bryant’s age will likely be a concern, as his 38th birthday is just two days after the gold-medal game on August 21st, 2016.

Colangelo said that they will be looking at “all of our players” this season, and Bryant’s retirement announcement “doesn’t have any bearing” on whether he’d be selected for the 2016 Olympic team.

The 12 player team will be selected in June 2016.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins back-to-back slalom races at Aspen World Cup

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“I think there’s something special about Aspen,” Mikaela Shiffrin told NBC after winning two slalom races in as many days.

After Saturday’s history-making win, when Shiffrin won her first World Cup race in the U.S. and was the first American woman to win a slalom race at the Aspen World Cup stop, the twenty-year-old won again by a large margin. After winning by 3:07 seconds on Saturday, Shiffrin told reporters, “I don’t think [my competitors] are going to let me get away with three seconds ever again.”

But on Sunday her lead over the second place finisher, Frida Hansdotter of Sweden, wasn’t much shorter: 2:65 seconds. And this was with an early mistake that left her off balance for a moment in her final run.

In third place was Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic.

Watch Shiffrin’s final run:

This weekend also saw a podium finish for American Travis Ganong. Racing the downhill event at Lake Louise yesterday, Ganong finished third behind Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who is recovering from an Achilles injury that prevented him from competing the majority of the last season, and Peter Fill of Norway. Ganong cAksel Lund Svindal of Norwayouldn’t quite repeat his success in the Super G event on Sunday, finishing fourth.

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