MOSCOW (AP) — Russia plans to send 19 athletes to the world track and field championships in London next week despite its suspension from international competition for widespread doping.
The 19, including three world champions, have been given exemptions from Russia’s suspension after the IAAF reviewed their history of drug testing.
Maria Lasitskene is the overwhelming favorite to retain her high jump title, following an unbeaten season in the Diamond League. No other woman has leapt over two meters this year, but Lasitskene has done it at 11 different outdoor competitions.
Sergey Shubenkov leads the charge for Russia’s men as he tries to win a second world title in the 110m hurdles.
Russian Athletics Federation director Elena Orlova told TASS news agency on Monday that, besides the 19, it also filed paperwork for doping whistleblower and 800m runner Yulia Stepanova, but the federation isn’t in contact with her and believes she doesn’t intend to compete.
Since they’re officially “neutral athletes” under IAAF rules, the Russians won’t be allowed to wear national colors and the Russian anthem won’t be played if they win gold.
A total of 38 Russians had exemptions that could have allowed them to compete at the championships, but many didn’t make the qualifying standards. Eleven more were approved only for youth events, and 106 applications were declined.
Russia has been suspended since November 2015, when the first in a series of World Anti-Doping Agency investigations alleged drug use and cover-ups were common on its track team.
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VIDEO: Bolt barely wins last race before worlds
Lindsey Vonn’s top rival for downhill gold is in danger of missing the upcoming Olympics.
Ilka Stuhec, a world champion Alpine skier from Slovenia, suffered a torn ACL after a practice crash in Austria this weekend.
Stuhec had become a strong medal favorite for PyeongChang after winning FIS World Cup titles in downhill and Alpine combined last season. She also won a gold medal in downhill at the 2017 World Championships, where Vonn placed third.
According to a post on the FIS website, surgery is set for this Wednesday, with more information to come after that. But preliminary reports suggest that she is likely to miss the Olympics.
“For now it looks like Ilka Stuhec will have to miss a large part or maybe the whole World Cup season, including the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea,” a spokesperson for Struhec told Reuters.
In a tweet, Struhec acknowledged that she would be sidelined “for a few months.”
The Olympics start in less than four months.
Mikey Lillis, a 17-year-old aerials skier, died in his sleep at his home in East Rochester, N.Y., overnight Saturday, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
“We are a family, and as a family our entire team grieves for Mikey, his own family and his teammates,” U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Tiger Shaw said in a statement. “We’ll remember him for the pathway he was following and the goals he was beginning to achieve. Our condolences go out to his parents Bernie and Jamie and the entire Lillis family.”
Lillis was working his way to join his two older brothers at the elite international level. He made three podiums on the Nor-Am Cup tour between the last two seasons.
Jon Lillis, 23, is the reigning world champion in aerials. Chris Lillis, 19, won the FIS Rookie of the Year award last season with four top-10 finishes on the World Cup.