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AP: WADA launching ‘extraordinary’ investigation of Jamaica drug-testing agency

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said Jamaica’s drug-testing issues needed to be looked at in August, and it’s following up on those assertions.

WADA confirmed to The Associated Press that the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) had a lack of testing in the months leading into the 2012 Olympics, where Jamaica won 12 track and field medals, led by Usain Bolt‘s triple gold performance.

WADA “is concerned enough to investigate,” the AP reported Monday. It wouldn’t be the first audit of Jamaica’s anti-doping.

“It’s an extraordinary visit,” WADA Director General David Howman told the AP, adding that Jamaica is “a high priority … they’re on our radar.”

WADA is unhappy that Jamaica hasn’t agreed to a swift inspection. Elliott said JADCO couldn’t accommodate the auditors at the date WADA wanted and now isn’t expecting the visit before the end of the year.

Bolt, 27, addressed the reports of Jamaica’s lack of drug testing before his final Diamond League meet of the season one month ago.

“It’s funny when I heard that they said they’re gonna ban Jamaica from the next Olympics,” Bolt said. “I kind of laughed because that would be kind of interesting to see.”

Bolt, who has never failed a drug test, was tested at least 12 times last year, according to the AP, citing track and field’s international governing body (IAAF). Of course, that includes tests outside of JADCO.

“Sometimes they will come like six times in one month and then you won’t see them for two months and then they come three times in one week,” Bolt told the AP a month ago. “So I don’t really keep track. I just get drug tested when I do.”

Seven-time Olympic medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown tested positive for a banned diuretic May 4 and hasn’t competed since June. Former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell and 2008 Olympic 100m silver medalist Sherone Simpson said they tested positive for a banned stimulant in June.

In August, WADA said “serious issues” were raised in a report that Jamaica carried out one out-of-competition drug test in the five months leading up to the 2012 Olympics.

“There was a period of — and forgive me if I don’t have the number of months right — but maybe five to six months during the beginning part of 2012 where there was no effective operation,” Howman told the AP in Monday’s story. “No testing. There might have been one or two, but there was no testing. So we were worried about it, obviously.”

Howman told the AP that WADA expects to check out JADCO at the end of this year or early next year, to see if “what they’re doing is of significant quality.”

Jamaica’s most decorated female Olympic champion gets warning, no ban

Laurie Hernandez eyes return to competition in 2018

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NEW YORK – Laurie Hernandez hardly considers her 14 months away from competitive gymnastics a break.

Since earning Olympic team gold and balance beam silver in Rio, the 17-year-old won “Dancing with the Stars,” authored a book and even enrolled in ballet lessons.

But her most rewarding experience has been speaking at schools. Students have asked her seemingly every question, from when she started taking gymnastics classes (age 5) to whether she climbed trees when she was younger (yes, all the time).

Seeing how many children were inspired by her Rio performance motivated Hernandez as she prepares to return to the sport.

“I didn’t realize at the Olympics how many people were truly watching,” Hernandez said Wednesday night at the annual Women’s Sports Foundation Salute to Women in Sports. “Now I’m excited to get back into the gym.”

Hernandez recently added handstand holds, back tucks and front flips to her conditioning program, in addition to continuing to run and lift weights.

“It’s a little difficult, but it’s fine,” she said. “I’ll push it a little more after the holidays.”

She has her eye on returning to competition in 2018.

“That’s definitely the hope,” Hernandez said. “I’m not going to rush anything, but I would love to compete in 2018.”

Hernandez, who said her next goal in gymnastics is to compete at the world championships for the first time and hopefully the 2020 Olympics, has not yet identified her comeback meet.

She noted that Aly Raisman took more than two years off after the London Olympics.

“I know every athlete is different,” Hernandez said. “But I wouldn’t mind following in her footsteps.”

Simone Biles, who has not competed since winning four gold medals in Rio, recently announced that she plans on returning to full-time training Nov. 1 and competition next summer.

“I look up to her, even though we are teammates,” Hernandez said. “I can’t wait to see her out there, but hopefully I’ll be out there with her soon.”

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Olympic cycling champion running for Congress

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Olympic cycling gold medalist Marty Nothstein is the latest to announce he’s running for the eastern Pennsylvania congressional seat being vacated by fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Dent.

Dent, a former state senator, is a centrist Republican who has held the seat since 2005. He’s retiring after his term expires next year.

Nothstein, who won sprint silver in 1996 and gold in 2000, is the only American track cyclist to win an Olympic title at a fully attended Games.

Two Republican state representatives, Ryan Mackenzie and Justin Simmons, previously announced they’re running for Dent’s 15th District seat.

Democrat Bill Leiner, a former Lehigh County commissioner, is also running.

Dent’s district includes Allentown and all of Lehigh County, and parts of four surrounding counties.

Republicans in 2011 stretched the district almost 90 miles to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania to make it more Republican.

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