Shaun White looking to step up his game for Sochi

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Shaun White may have just won his sixth straight X Games superpipe gold, which will sit nicely next to his two Olympic halfpipe titles, but he’s still not satisfied and believes he’ll have to step up his game before Sochi comes around next February.

“A lot of things I’m doing this season I hope are just outdated by the next season,” White, who earned the top two scores in Sunday night’s final, told the AP. “I’m hoping to progress a lot.”

He’ll certainly need to if he wants to hold off the “next Shaun White,” aka 14-year-old Japanese phenom Ayumu Hirano, who finished with the silver in the superpipe and who White admitted had an “amazing future” ahead of him.

White is also arguably well-behind back-to-back X Games champ Mark McMorris in slopestyle. Shaun finished fifth in the finals on Saturday after being unable to pull-off the triple cork during competition that he landed in practice, but he apparently used that failure to fuel his performance Sunday.

“I’ve got some work to do in the slopestyle department. I used to get super stressed out, about something that would happen like in slopestyle. I’m old enough to just turn that into such a positive thing for myself – to really take that step back as a giant leap forward.”

He earned a perfect 100 during last year’s superpipe, and a 98 on Sunday while pulling off tricks no one in the field could, so we’re admittedly excited to see what this giant leap forward looks like for White.

USOPC seeks to revoke USA Badminton’s status

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U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland filed a complaint to revoke USA Badminton’s status as the national governing body for the sport, a year after a USOPC audit found the organization lacked athlete safety requirements.

USA Badminton “failed to meet its responsibilities as an NGB and consistently failed to meet its obligations to its members and to U.S. athletes,” according to the USOPC. “Further, USAB has failed to conduct itself in a manner that demonstrates it can fulfill those responsibilities.”

Asked for reaction, USA Badminton interim CEO Linda French said, “I’m very disappointed in the USOPC and the conduct of their staff.”

USA Badminton recently had mass resignations among its board and top officials amid governance issues and the USOPC threatening decertification. A 2018 USOPC audit found four “high risk” areas in USA Badminton’s athlete safety and SafeSport compliance that, by March, had not been fully resolved.

“We have attempted to work with USAB’s leadership over the course of the last year to address our concerns, however those efforts have not yielded the results necessary to give me confidence in USAB’s ability to continue to serve its athletes as an NGB,” Hirshland wrote. “We remain committed to working with USAB’s leadership to address our concerns but have so far not found a willing partner.”

The next step is for Hirshland to appoint an independent panel to hear the complaint. There is no specific timeline for a resolution, though Hirshland said it will take a minimum of several weeks.

If USA Badminton’s status is revoked, the USOPC would assume control on an interim basis.

Last November, the USOPC filed the same complaint against USA Gymnastics, seeking to revoke its status after the Larry Nassar sexual-abuse crimes came to light followed by several leadership changes.

USA Gymnastics since filed for bankruptcy and named former college gymnast and NBA executive Li Li Leung its new CEO in February. It remains the sport’s NGB with eight months until the Tokyo Olympics.

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Sun Yang should get lengthy ban if he loses doping hearing, WADA says

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency wants China’s star swimmer Sun Yang banned for up to eight years for alleged doping rules violations.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Tuesday ahead of a rare appeal hearing in open court on Friday that WADA requests a ban of two to eight years. Sun served a three-month ban in 2014 for a positive test.

If WADA wins, the three-time Olympic freestyle champion will miss the Tokyo Games.

WADA has challenged world swimming body FINA’s ruling to merely warn Sun after a disputed attempt by sample collectors to take blood and urine from him at his home in China in September 2018. The late-night confrontation lasted from 11 p.m. to beyond 3:30 a.m.

The day-long hearing will examine why a secure box storing a glass vial of blood came to be destroyed by Sun’s entourage, who questioned the sample team’s authority. A FINA tribunal panel agreed the officials lacked proper credentials to make the sample collection valid.

WADA believes Sun broke anti-doping rules by refusing to submit to a sample collection.

All sides agreed to Sun’s request to hold a first CAS appeal in public for 20 years.

A verdict is unlikely until early next year.

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