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Russia loses more Sochi Olympic medals in latest doping bans

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The IOC banned five more Russian Olympians — and stripped the nation of two more Sochi Olympic medals — in its latest round of punishments for the nation’s doping violations leading up to and during the 2014 Winter Games.

Russia has now been stripped of 11 of its leading 33 medals from the Sochi Olympics. The U.S. is temporarily the medal standings leader with 28 overall, though medal upgrades and more disqualifications will impact the table.

Nineteen Russian Sochi Olympians have been banned overall.

The IOC will announce whether Russia will be allowed to take part in the PyeongChang Olympics on Dec. 5.

Bobsledders Dmitry Trunenkov and Aleksey Negodaylo, who made up half of Russia’s four-man gold-medal team, led Monday’s banned list.

The driver of that four-man sled (and Russia’s two-man gold-medal sled), the retired Aleksandr Zubkov, was retroactively disqualified and banned for life last week. So Trunenkov and Negodaylo had already lost their gold medals before Monday’s announcement.

A Latvian team led by driver Oskars Melbardis is in line to move up from silver to gold. The late Steven Holcomb and his U.S. team could get silver.

The fourth-place team, piloted by Russian Alexander Kasjanov, could get bronze. None of the members of Kasjanov’s sled have been sanctioned by the IOC or the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (IBSF).

MORE: Updated Sochi Olympic medal standings

Two Russian biathletes were stripped of two combined medals on Monday.

Olga Vilukhina and Yana Romanova, two of the four members of Russia’s biathlon relay team that took silver, are banned from any future Olympics.

Vilukhina also took silver in the 7.5km sprint.

Vilukhina and Romanova were also banned by the International Biathlon Union last winter after being named in a Russian doping investigation. Vilukhina hasn’t competed in nearly two years; Romanova since March 2015.

Norway and the Czech Republic could be upgraded to silver and bronze, respectively, in the relay. Ukraine’s Vita Semerenko and Italy’s Karin Oberhofer could move up to silver and bronze, respectively, in the sprint.

The fifth athlete retroactively disqualified and banned for life Monday was skeleton slider Sergei Chudinov, who finished fifth in Sochi.

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MORE: No end in sight for Russia track and field ban

Yuzuru Hanyu to miss Japan Figure Skating Championships

Yuzuru Hanyu
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Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world figure skating champion, will miss his national championships this week due to ankle and knee injuries suffered in a Nov. 9 practice fall, according to Japanese media citing the Japan Skating Federation.

Hanyu can (and very likely will) be named to Japan’s three-man Olympic team despite missing nationals.

Hanyu has reportedly been off the ice for more than one month since the fall.

“It is an important selection competition, and the Olympics are a big goal, so with that in mind we would like to think things through together,” Japan Skating Federation director Yoshiko Kobayashi said last week, according to Kyodo News.

Hanyu, who turned 23 on Dec. 7, fell on a quadruple Lutz attempted and then favored his right ankle in a Nov. 9 practice at a Grand Prix event (video here).

He skated the run-through for his free skate, although he elected not to do any more jumps.

“I have been told by the doctor that I need 10 days of complete rest,” Hanyu said in a statement on Nov. 12, according to Kyodo. “Following that, it will take three to four weeks to return and get back to where I was.”

Hanyu and world silver medalist Shoma Uno are favored to lead Japan’s Olympic men’s figure skating team. The third spot is likely to go to Takahito Mura or Keiji Tanaka.

Hanyu competed twice this season.

He posted a world-record short program score in his debut at a small September event in Canada, but struggled to fifth place in the free skate and finished second overall behind two-time world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain.

He then finished second to U.S. champion Nathan Chen at the first Grand Prix event of the season in Moscow in October. Chen is the only undefeated skater this season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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MORE: Figure skating season TV schedule

Matt, Becca Hamilton are first U.S. Olympic mixed doubles curling team

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A brother and sister from Wisconsin will be the busiest athletes at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

A month ago the Hamilton siblings, Matt and Becca, qualified to compete at the Olympics with the U.S. men’s and women’s curling teams, and today they also qualified to play as a mixed doubles team.

With a win over two of their teammates, John Shuster (skip of Matt’s four-man team) and Cory Christensen (alternate on Becca’s four-woman team), at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for mixed doubles curling, the Hamiltons earned the opportunity to curl on potentially every day of the Olympics.

The Hamiltons will start their Olympic competitions with the mixed doubles tournament on Thursday, Feb. 8, the day before the the Opening Ceremony marks the official beginning of the Olympics. When mixed doubles wraps up on Tuesday the 13th, they’ll start playing separately in the men’s and women’s tournaments on Wednesday the 14th. The traditional curling tournaments go until Sunday, Feb. 25, the day of the Closing Ceremony.

Of course, if one of their teams doesn’t advance past the round-robin rounds to the semifinals and medal games, they’ll have some time off. But if they do go all the way to the gold medal matches, it’ll mean 18 straight days of competition for the Hamiltons.

Matt and Becca showed their readiness during the Olympic Trials. They had the second-best record of the round-robin stage, 5-2, then beat Shuster and Christensen twice in two days to win the Olympic berth. The score of the final was 6-5.

After the match, the siblings–who say their partnership works because they can be brutally honest on the ice–had nothing but kind words for each other.

Becca, the younger Hamilton by a year and a half, said her older brother “taught me everything I know.”

Matt then said of Becca, “it’s been impressive to watch her grow up and become the superstar she is now.”

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