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Russia sports official says Russian coaches specialize in doping

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has a group of track and field coaches who “don’t understand how to work without doping,” Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said Tuesday.

Mutko’s comments follow a decision by the IAAF to uphold the ban on Russia’s track team from international competition.

The IAAF banned Russia in November 2015 for widespread drug use, and said Monday it is unlikely to reinstate the team until November. That means there won’t be an official Russian team at the world track and field championships in August, though there may be “neutral” athletes competing.

“There were many abuses and breaches. Athletes broke the rules and many coaches don’t understand how to work without doping and it’s high time for them to retire,” Mutko told state news agency R-Sport. “But over the last year, colossal work has been done.”

On Monday, Mutko was singled out for criticism by IAAF taskforce leader Rune Andersen because of his often-colorful criticism of anti-doping rulings against Russia.

Following a council meeting, the IAAF laid out a series of conditions for Russia to return to competition, including the reinstatement of the national drug-testing agency, which remains suspended over various allegations of covering up doping.

Russian track federation vice president Andrei Silnov said progress was being made, but questioned whether the country’s problems were as serious as the IAAF says.

“It’s all being solved, slowly but surely. We’re doing what we need to do,” Silnov said. “They say we have a culture of doping. What culture of doping?”

The IAAF is also considering 35 applications from Russians willing to compete as “neutral” athletes if they can show a record of independent drug-testing by agencies other than the suspended national body. Two others — doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova and U.S.-based long jumper Daria Klishina — already have this right.

Silnov said he was opposed to the idea of neutral athletes in principle and might have refused the status during his career as an Olympic gold medal-winning long jumper, but said he would accept others doing so if there was no other way to compete.

“They’re Russians regardless,” Silnov said. “There’s no other way out of this (situation).”

MORE: Russia could bid for 2028 Summer Olympics, mulls 3 cities

Yuzuru Hanyu to miss Japan Figure Skating Championships

Yuzuru Hanyu
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Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world figure skating champion, will miss his national championships this week after suffering ankle and knee injuries this fall, according to Japanese media citing the Japan Skating Federation.

Hanyu can (and very likely will) be named to Japan’s three-man Olympic team despite missing nationals.

Hanyu has reportedly been off the ice for more than one month since a Nov. 9 practice fall.

“It is an important selection competition, and the Olympics are a big goal, so with that in mind we would like to think things through together,” Japan Skating Federation director Yoshiko Kobayashi said last week, according to Kyodo News.

Hanyu, who turned 23 on Dec. 7, fell on a quadruple Lutz attempted and then favored his right ankle in a Nov. 9 practice at a Grand Prix event (video here).

He skated the run-through for his free skate, although he elected not to do any more jumps.

“I have been told by the doctor that I need 10 days of complete rest,” Hanyu said in a statement on Nov. 12, according to Kyodo. “Following that, it will take three to four weeks to return and get back to where I was.”

Hanyu and world silver medalist Shoma Uno are favored to lead Japan’s Olympic men’s figure skating team. The third spot is likely to go to Takahito Mura or Keiji Tanaka.

Hanyu competed twice this season.

He posted a world-record short program score in his debut at a small September event in Canada, but struggled to fifth place in the free skate and finished second overall behind two-time world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain.

He then finished second to U.S. champion Nathan Chen at the first Grand Prix event of the season in Moscow in October.

Chen is the only undefeated male singles skater this season.

Hanyu won four straight national titles before missing last season’s event with the flu.

He was still named to Japan’s team for worlds, where he won his second title in four years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Green Bay Packers pull another Olympic sport TD celebration

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We’re halfway to a decathlon of Olympic sport touchdown celebrations over the last two seasons.

After the hurdles, the long jump, the bobsled and the relay came the race walk on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, once part of a three-man bobsled team, led three other teammates in a race walk after scoring in Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. (Adams later left the game with a concussion.)

Adams won the race walk, which was much, much shorter than the standard Olympic distances of 20km and 50km, over teammates Jordy NelsonRandall Cobb and Geronimo Allison.

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