Lolo Jones

U.S. Bobsled announces first World Cup competitors

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One of the most intriguing battles for U.S. Olympic spots will come in bobsled, where six women’s push athletes are on the national team battling for three likely spots in Sochi.

The Olympics are more than two months away. The biggest competitions between now and then are World Cup events. Therefore, the push athletes chosen for World Cup events are an early (but certainly not definite) indicator of the Olympic Team pecking order.

Here are U.S. Bobsled’s women’s pairings for the first World Cup in Calgary:

Elana Meyers-Aja Evans
Jamie Greubel-Katie Eberling
Jazmine Fenlator-Lolo Jones

These are the same pairings as the final World Cup event last season at the Sochi Olympic track.

Meyers is a 2010 Olympic bronze medalist and the reigning world silver medalist. Greubel and Fenlator each won silver medals on the World Cup circuit last year.

Evans and Eberling were the top two U.S. push athletes last season. Jones, in her first year bobsledding in 2012-13, was not used in the two-woman competition at the World Championships in February. 2010 Olympian Emily Azevedo was instead, but Jones then replaced Azevedo for that final World Cup.

Azevedo, three-time Olympic sprinter Lauryn Williams and Kristi Koplin are the other three push athletes on the national team. They are not set to compete this week but could replace Evans, Eberling or Jones as early as next week’s World Cup stop in Park City, Utah.

The U.S. Olympic Team is expected to be named in mid-to-late January.

Universal Sports will provide coverage from Calgary.

Another retired Olympic sprinter would likely consider bobsledding if asked

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’