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10 visually impaired Russian athletes banned for doping

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MOSCOW (AP) — Ten visually impaired Russian athletes in powerlifting have been banned for doping in a case linked to claims that some of them may have been doped without their knowledge.

The 10 athletes made up almost the entire national team. Nine of them were medalists at the 2015 World Championships for blind and visually impaired powerlifters, and only three of the 13-strong Russian team from that competition remain eligible to compete.

The Russian anti-doping agency said in a statement Thursday that eight athletes were banned for four years, with two earning eight-year bans. It didn’t give further details of their offenses.

The agency says the sanctions were backdated to May 2015, the time of the championships, meaning the athletes stand to lose their medals.

Documents released by a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation into Russian drug use show that in May 2015 the then-head of Moscow’s drug-testing laboratory complained that blind powerlifters were being exploited by unscrupulous coaches.

That followed a string of positive tests for steroids.

Calling the situation “a disgrace,” laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov wrote that coaches were “picking on the blind … they can’t even see what people are giving them.”

Those documents haven’t been independently verified by The Associated Press.

Russia’s entire team was barred from last year’s Paralympics after WADA investigations found evidence of widespread drug use and a cover-up.

The powerlifters who have been banned wouldn’t have been able to compete at the Paralympics, though, since Paralympic powerlifting is only open to athletes with impairments to their lower limbs or hips.

The International Blind Sports Federation and the International Paralympic Committee didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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After accident, Olympian Jamie Nieto walks at his wedding

Ramon Galindo/NBC San Diego
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After two-time Olympic high jumper Jamie Nieto suffered a spinal cord injury while attempting a standing back flip in April 2016, he decided to set a goal for himself. Nietro was determined to walk down the aisle at his own wedding.

On Saturday, July 22, 2017, Nieto walked to the altar in front of everyone gathered at Christ Temple Apostolic Church in east San Diego – something his doctors said might not be possible.

Nieto, with some assistance, entered the church where he then married his bride, Jamaican hurdler Shevon Stoddart, exactly how he set out to – on his feet.

Images courtesy of Ramon Galindo/NBC San Diego

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Kerri Walsh Jennings dislocates shoulder in Poland (video)

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Five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings dislocated her shoulder during the semifinals of a beach volleyball tournament in Poland and forfeited the bronze medal match.

Walsh Jennings and new partner Nicole Branagh were tied in the third set of their match against Canada on Saturday when Walsh Jennings dove for the ball with her right arm and twisted her hand in the sand. After a four-minute delay, Canada went on to win the third set 16-14 and advance to the gold medal match.

“I just went for a short dig and the surface in Europe is so shallow and so hard and there’s no give for our bodies,” Walsh Jennings explained after the match in an interview with her shoulder wrapped in ice.

Walsh Jennings had surgery on the same shoulder during the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she and April Ross won the bronze medal. Walsh Jennings won three gold medals with Misty May Treanor.

Walsh Jennings said she is looking forward to returning to the FIVB World Tour in Vienna in one week.

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