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Russians face exclusion for not returning Olympic medals

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russian track and field athletes haven’t been giving up their medals in Olympic doping cases, and local officials have vowed to kick them off the national team until they do.

The Russian track federation said Thursday only one medal has been returned out of 23 which must be handed back because of failed retests of samples from the 2008 and 2012 Games.

The only medal returned so far is a bronze won by Anton Kokorin in the men’s 4x400m relay at the 2008 Olympics. Kokorin didn’t test positive, but teammate Denis Alexeyev‘s disqualification for a banned steroid means the whole team must give their medals back.

In an effort to speed up the process and win goodwill while under pressure for doping, the Russian track federation said athletes who don’t return medals won’t have the right to compete in its sports events and won’t be eligible for national teams or for drug-testing pools which could allow them to compete internationally as neutral athletes.

The federation itself has been suspended from international competition since November 2015 over widespread drug use. It said the new insistence on returning medals was part of the process of persuading the IAAF that Russia deserves to be reinstated.

The federation said it “is issuing a reminder that during work on reinstatement with the IAAF there are some criteria which have so far been ignored by a number of people.” Giving back prize money won by dopers at non-Olympic events is another priority, the federation said.

The decision not to select athletes who don’t return Olympic medals is unlikely to have an immediate effect in most cases, since athletes disqualified for Olympic doping are likely to face two-year bans from any sporting involvement anyway. Others are already retired.

However, it could affect runners from relay teams who tested clean but were disqualified because of a teammate’s failed test.

MORE: Alysia Montano finds little joy after Russian stripped of medals

Caitlyn Jenner: Olympic decathlon title one half of ‘ultimate double’

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Caitlyn Jenner says she has ultimate double — winning the 1976 Olympic decathlon and 2015 Glamour “Woman of the Year.”

Jenner sat down with Seth Meyers for an interview during a media tour for her memoir, “The Secrets of My Life,” which was released Wednesday.

She briefly mentioned her Olympic experience, winning the Montreal 1976 decathlon.

Jenner related it to her current work within the transgender community, one that she said is marginalized and misunderstood with high murder and suicide rates.

“What I’m doing today is mort important than winning the Games more than 40 years ago,” Jenner said.

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Syria-born Olympian takes advocacy role at U.N. refugee agency

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GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency has chosen as a goodwill ambassador a Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees and later became an Olympic swimmer.

Yusra Mardini was appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador on Thursday, joining other notables like actress Cate Blanchett and author Khaled Hosseini in the unpaid advocacy role.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said Mardini “represents the hopes, the fears and the incredible potential of the more than 10 million young refugees around the globe.”

Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped overboard and swam for hours alongside their overloaded boat to reach Greece from Turkey in 2015.

She swam on the first Refugee Olympic team in Rio last year and has discussed refugees’ challenges with leaders like Pope Francis and President Barack Obama.

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