Anna Chicherova
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Russia’s Anna Chicherova stripped of 2008 Olympic bronze medal

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Russian high jumper Anna Chicherova was stripped of her bronze medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics on Thursday, the latest athlete sanctioned after the retesting of stored doping samples.

Chicherova, who won the gold medal at the 2012 London Games, tested positive for turinabol and has been retroactively disqualified from Beijing, the International Olympic Committee said.

The Russian Olympic Committee should secure the return of her bronze medal “as soon as possible,” the IOC said.

The IOC also asked track’s governing body, the IAAF, to consider any further sanctions against the 34-year-old Chicherova, who is still active but could face a two-year ban.

Another Russian – Yelena Slesarenko – finished fourth in the high jump in Beijing. She stands to move up to the bronze if the IOC decides to reallocate the medals.

The IOC ruling made no mention of Chicherova’s gold medal from London, which appears to be unaffected. She told Russian media earlier this year that retests of her 2012 sample came back negative.

The IAAF said it would cancel all of Chicherova’s results from 2008 to 2010, including her silver medal at the 2009 world championships in Berlin. Chicherova won gold at the 2011 worlds.

The IOC stores doping samples for 10 years to allow for them to be reanalyzed when improved testing methods become available. The new tests can detect the use of steroids going back weeks and months, rather than days.

The IOC has recorded 98 positive cases in recent retests of more than 1,000 samples from Beijing and London.

The IOC’s 22-page written decision in the Chicherova case cited a pattern of delay and obstruction by the athlete and her legal team.

“The IOC first noted that the athlete and her counsel had been deliberately attempting to obstruct the process, first the analytical process and then the disciplinary proceedings,” the ruling said.

The IOC also noted that turinabol “was a doping substance commonly used in Russia in the concerned period.”

Chicherova won the high jump at the Russian nationals in June, clearing 1.98 meters.

She would have been a potential medal contender at the Rio Games. The IAAF banned the Russian track team – apart from U.S.-based long jumper Darya Klishina – from the games over allegations of state-sponsored doping.

Ghana Olympic skeleton slider’s helmet: rabbit escapes lion

Ron Leblanc
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It’s called The Rabbit Theory.

That’s what Akwasi Frimpong, Ghana’s first Olympic skeleton slider, calls his new helmet.

The one that he will wear in PyeongChang as the second athlete from his nation to compete at a Winter Games.

Frimpong, 31, tells an incredible story.

He said he was raised by his grandmother Minka in a one-room home with nine other children before joining his mom in the Netherlands at age 8 as an illegal immigrant and eventually moving to Utah.

Frimpong’s full story is here.

Frimpong’s life — before he converted from sprinting to bobsled to skeleton — was chronicled in a 2010 Dutch documentary tilted “Theorie van het Konjin” (translation: The Rabbit Theory).

“My former sprint coach Sammy Monsels talks about the analogy of a rabbit in a cage, ready to escape from a lion,” Frimpong said in an email Monday. “I am that rabbit, and I have escaped the lions [of my past]. I am no longer being eaten by all the things around my life.”

The helmet that he will wear sliding head-first down an icy chute in South Korea in three weeks draws attention to it.

The design is of a lion’s head with mouth agape and a pair of rabbits coming out. Plus the colors of the Ghanaian flag.

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MORE: Jamaica qualifies first Olympic women’s bobsled team

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USA Gymnastics leaders resign as more victims speak

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — USA Gymnastics announced the resignations of three key leaders Monday while more women and girls told a judge about being sexually assaulted at the hands of a sports doctor who spent years with Olympic gymnasts and other female athletes.

The resignations of chairman Paul Parilla, vice chairman Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley were announced in Indianapolis while a judge in Lansing heard a fifth day of statements from women and girls who said they were molested by Larry Nassar.

“We support their decisions to resign at this time,” said Kerry Perry, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, which is the national governing body for gymnastics. “We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization.”

The board positions are volunteer and unpaid, but the resignations add to the months of turmoil. Steve Penny quit as president last March after critics said USA Gymnastics failed to protect gymnasts from abusive coaches and Nassar.

“New board leadership is necessary because the current leaders have been focused on establishing that they did nothing wrong,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement Monday. “USA Gymnastics needs to focus on supporting the brave survivors.”

USA Gymnastics last week said it was ending its long relationship with the Karolyi Ranch, the Huntsville, Texas, home of former national team coordinator Martha Karolyi and her husband, Bela. Some Olympians said they were assaulted there by Nassar.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, Nassar’s sentencing hearing continued Monday, raising the number of girls and women who have spoken to nearly 100 since last week.

“I want to you know that your face and the face of all of the sister survivor warriors — the whole army of you — I’ve heard your words,” Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said after a woman spoke in her Michigan courtroom. “Your sister survivors and you are going through incomprehensible lengths, emotions and soul-searching to put your words together, to publicly stop (the) defendant, to publicly stop predators, to make people listen.”

Nassar, 54, has admitted molesting athletes during medical treatment when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. He has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography crimes.

Under a plea deal, he faces a minimum prison sentence of 25 to 40 years in the molestation case. The maximum term could be much higher.

“Larry, how many of us are there? Do you even know?” asked Clasina Syrboby, as she fought back tears while speaking for more than 20 minutes Monday. “You preyed on me, on us. You saw a way to take advantage of your position — the almighty and trusted gymnastics doctor. Shame on you Larry. Shame on you.

She and other victims also continued their criticism of Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee for not doing enough to stop Nassar when initial complaints were made.

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MORE: Watch, read Aly Raisman’s full testimony