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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

Christian Coleman breaks world indoor 60m record (video)

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Christian Coleman is the fastest man of all time — indoors.

The 21-year-old U.S. sprinter broke the world indoor 60m record by clocking 6.37 seconds at his first meet of 2018 in South Carolina on Friday night.

Maurice Greene, the 2000 Olympic 100m champion, held the previous record of 6.39, which he clocked in 1998 and 2001.

The record must still go through ratification procedures, which requires a drug test at the meet.

The 60m is the indoor equivalent of the outdoor 100m. They are the shortest sprints contested at their respective world championships.

Coleman, a 4x100m prelim relay runner at the Rio Olympics, has blossomed into arguably the early 2020 Olympic 100m favorite.

He most memorably clocked a 40-yard dash of 4.12 seconds last spring, which is one tenth faster than the NFL Combine record.

Then in August, Coleman took 100m silver behind Justin Gatlin at the world outdoor championships, beating Usain Bolt in the Jamaican’s final individual race.

There are no world outdoor championships this year, but Coleman could go for the world indoor 60m title in Birmingham, Great Britain, in March.

Coleman’s mark is the first men’s world record in an event contested at a world championships since Wayde van Niekerk broke Michael Johnson‘s 400m world record at the Rio Olympics.

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IOC creates pool of Russians eligible for PyeongChang Olympics

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee said Friday it has created a pool of 389 Russians who are eligible to compete under a neutral flag at next month’s Winter Olympics amid the country’s doping scandal.

An IOC panel whittled down an initial list of 500 to create what the IOC calls “a pool of clean athletes.”

That could potentially make it possible for Russia to meet its target of fielding around 200 athletes in PyeongChang — slightly fewer than in Sochi in 2014, but more than in Vancouver in 2010.

It wasn’t immediately clear why 111 other Russians were rejected by the IOC.

The IOC didn’t list the athletes who were accepted or rejected but said it hadn’t included any of the 46 the IOC previously banned for doping at the Sochi Olympics.

Valerie Fourneyron, the former French Sports Minister leading the invitation process, said the pool also left out any Russians who had been suspended in the past for doping offenses.

“This means that a number of Russian athletes will not be on the list,” she said. “Our work was not about numbers, but to ensure that only clean athletes would be on the list.”

That would appear to rule out potential Russian medal contenders like former NHL hockey player Anton Belov and world champion speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov, both of whom served bans in the past but have since resumed competing.

“More than 80 percent of the athletes in this pool did not compete at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014,” the IOC said in a statement. “This shows that this is a new generation of Russian athletes.”

The IOC will use the pool list to issue invitations to Russian athletes to compete in PyeongChang, after checking their record of drug testing and retesting some samples they gave previously.

The IOC also said it recommended barring 51 coaches and 10 medical staff “associated with athletes who have been sanctioned” for Sochi doping.

The IOC has allowed the Russian Olympic Committee to select its preferred athletes despite being suspended by the IOC last month over drug use and an elaborate cover-up at the Sochi Olympics, including swapping dirty samples for clean urine.

Russian sports officials say they simply want to give the IOC recommendations to ensure that top athletes aren’t accidentally left out in favor of reserves.

The Russians will officially be known as “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” and they will wear gray and red uniforms that don’t feature any Russian logos.

If they win gold medals, the Olympic flag will be flown and the Olympic anthem played.

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