Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps signs with new swimsuit company

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Michael Phelps found a new swimsuit company after parting with Speedo, but he can’t swim in the new suit just yet.

He’s now with Aqua Sphere, a company designing a racing suit for the first time, according to The Associated Press.

At his first meet since the London Olympics in April, Phelps said his 12-year relationship with Speedo ran out at the end of 2013, he was a suit “free agent” and wore an Arena model in the meantime.

Aqua Sphere was founded in Italy in 1998 with an emphasis on swimming eyewear. Since the company is creating a new suit for Phelps, it must be approved by FINA and can’t be worn in competition until 2015 at the earliest.

Seven-time Olympic medalist Amanda Beard has trained in Aqua Sphere suits.

Phelps signed his first-ever endorsement deal with Speedo in 2001 when he was 16 and had extended the deal for four years in 2009, one year after earning a $1 million bonus from the company for winning eight gold medals in Beijing. He used that money to start his own charity foundation.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been able to do a lot of things with Speedo. The relationship was great,” Phelps told the AP. “But we came to a point where we had an opportunity to really change the sport and grow the sport even more.”

Though Phelps has yet to commit to racing through the Rio Olympics, the Aqua Sphere contract runs through the 2020 Tokyo Games, according to the AP.

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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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