Alan Ashley

USOC has no specific medal goals for Sochi Olympics

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As is custom, the U.S. Olympic Committee is not announcing specific medal targets for the Sochi Olympics.

“I thought a lot about the medal count,” said Alan Ashley, U.S. chef de mission and USOC chief of sport performance. “The one thing I’ll tell you is I don’t have a specific number. … I think Team USA goes into this in a really good place and can do well like we did in Vancouver.”

The U.S. topped the overall standings at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics with 37 medals. That was the second time it led the Winter Games medal table after Lake Placid 1932.

It also marked the most medals ever won by a single nation at a Winter Olympics, an unsurprising statistic given more events are added to the Olympic program every four years.

The U.S. is expected to contend to win the most overall and gold medals with Germany, Norway, Canada and perhaps Russia. It will be boosted by the addition of new Olympic events snowboard slopestyle, ski slopestyle and ski halfpipe.

The USOC and national governing bodies have also worked together to match “needs with resources” since Vancouver, Ashley said. That’s why sports such as cross-country skiing and biathlon that aren’t traditionally American dominated could see medal breakthroughs in Sochi.

“We’ve been able to really customize and drill down where we can have the greatest impact,” Ashley said. “I’d like to try to get as many athletes opportunities as possible to become obviously Olympians, then become successful Olympians as well.”

U.S. Olympic Team roster with Twitter handles

WADA investigates report that 10,000 Chinese athletes doped

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BERLIN (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency is looking into allegations made by a German broadcaster that Chinese athletes benefited from systematic doping in the 1980s and 90s.

“The allegations were brought forward by former Chinese physician, Xue Yinxian, who is said to have looked after several national teams in China during the decades in question,” WADA said Monday.

Xue, who recently arrived in Germany and is seeking political asylum with her son, told broadcaster ARD that more than 10,000 athletes were affected, some as young as 11, and that anyone who was against doping was considered “a danger to the country. And anyone who endangered the country is now in prison.”

The 79-year-old Xue said she lost her job with the national gymnastics team after refusing to treat an athlete with doping substances before the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

She said she had not felt safe in her home city of Beijing since 2012, when she first made her allegations of doping. She first started working with China’s national teams in the 1970s.

“In the 1980s and ’90s, Chinese athletes on the national teams made extensive use of doping substances,” she told ARD. “Medals were showered in doping. Gold, silver and bronze. All international medals should be withdrawn.”

WADA said it will examine “whether such a system may have prevailed beyond these decades.”

The first step, WADA said, was for its “independent intelligence and investigations team to initiate an investigative process in order to collect and analyze available information in coordination with external partners.”

Xue, who continued to work at lower levels after being dismissed from the national team in 1988, said she was only approached afterward when athletes developed problems because of the substances they were given.

“One trainer came to me and said, ‘Doctor Xue, the boys’ breasts keep getting bigger,’” Xue said. “These boys were about 13 to 14 years old.”

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PyeongChang Olympic organizers downplay North Korea concern

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ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (AP) — PyeongChang Olympic organizers played down concern over ongoing tensions with North Korea and also say work has been completed on all venues for the Winter Games.

Lee Hee-beom, president of the PyeongChang organizing committee, said the International Olympic Committee has made it very clear that the Feb. 9-25 Winter Games will go ahead as scheduled.

Speaking at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics shortly after the last rehearsal for Tuesday’s official flame-lighting ceremony, Lee said “there is no Plan B.”

Lee said South Korean officials are working closely with all relevant parties to ensure the Winter Games are safe and secure.

He said his main concern for the Olympics is the weather.

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