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Kerri Walsh Jennings in world champs field with new partner

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Kerri Walsh Jennings and new partner Nicole Branagh are in the field for the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, that start July 28.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh, who last played together in 2012, earned the fourth and final U.S. women’s spot for worlds. They had a low number of combined ranking points due mainly to Branagh’s absence from international play the last two years.

The top three U.S. pairs in FIVB rankings received direct entry — Brooke Sweat and Summer RossApril Ross (Walsh Jennings’ former partner) and Lauren Fendrick and Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh made the field via continental representation after the top 23 from FIVB rankings and two host-country wild cards were named. The full field will be 48 teams.

The top two seeds are Brazilians Larissa and Talita (fourth at the Olympics) and German Olympic champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst.

The men’s field includes Olympic champions Alison and Bruno of Brazil, plus Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who are ranked No. 1 in the world.

Walsh Jennings won three straight world titles with Misty May-Treanor in 2003, 2005 and 2007, in addition to their three straight Olympic titles in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

Walsh Jennings and April Ross were upset in the round of 16 at the 2015 World Championships before taking bronze at the Rio Games.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh are to make their FIVB World Tour season debut in three weeks in Porec, Croatia, and the following week in Gstaad, Switzerland.

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MORE: Ross wins first event since split with Walsh Jennings

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly named Sara Hughes’ partner. She is Kelly Claes, not Emily.

IOC expects decisions on Russian doping cases next month

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Investigators at the International Olympic Committee expect to have “a number” of doping cases involving Russians at the Sochi Olympics resolved by the end of November, but they have no plans to dictate the eligibility of these athletes for next year’s Winter Games in PyeongChang.

The leader of an IOC delegation in charge of reviewing 28 cases involving athletes at Sochi wrote to the head of the IOC Athletes Commission this week to update the timeline of cases stemming from a report detailing a Russian doping scheme at the 2014 Olympics and beforehand.

Denis Oswald said that of the cases his committee is reviewing, priority has been given to those involving athletes looking to compete in PyeongChang. Top priority goes to six cross-country skiers whose provisional suspensions expire Oct. 31.

Oswald also said his committee would rule on these athletes’ results for Sochi, but will not determine their eligibility for PyeongChang, instead handing over evidence to their respective sports federations to decide.

The IOC also appointed a task force to look at the Russian doping scandal as a whole, the results of which could have wider repercussions on the country’s eligibility at next year’s Olympics.

In a separate letter sent to worldwide sports leaders, IOC President Thomas Bach said only that the Schmid Commission is continuing its evaluation and that “I hope that the IOC Executive Board will still be able to take a decision this year because none of us want this serious issue to overshadow” the upcoming Olympics.

The updates come amid a growing chorus of calls for a timely decision and for Russia’s ouster from PyeongChang.

The IOC commissions are operating off information from the McLaren Report, the first part of which was released in July 2016.

In explaining the timeline, Oswald wrote that because the Russian scheme involved exchanging dirty urine samples with clean ones, it took time to adopt methods to verify that samples had been tampered with — in part by finding evidence of scratch marks on collection bottles that had been opened and re-sealed.

“The task has not been easy in both establishing a methodology in an area in which there are no established protocols,” he wrote, “and then moving through the necessary scientific analysis of each individual sample in a way which would withstand legal challenge.”

MORE: USOC boss calls for immediate action on Russian doping

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Two-time Olympian becomes first woman to lead U.S. national swim team

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Two-time Olympian Lindsay Mintenko has been picked to lead the U.S. national swimming team. She is the first woman to hold the title.

USA Swimming made the announcement Wednesday.

Mintenko replaces Frank Busch, who retired Oct. 1 as managing director. She has been a member of the national team staff since 2006.

During her swimming career, Mintenko won gold medals as a U.S. team captain at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics 800m freestyle relay and added a silver in 2004 on the 400m freestyle relay.

USA Swimming also announced an organizational restructuring that will place all technical divisions, including the national team, under the oversight of chief operating officer Mike Unger.

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