More Russian athletes banned for doping

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Athens Olympic hammer throw champ Olga Kuzenkova of Russia has had two years of her career annulled and is set to lose her 2005 world title after samples from the event, held in Helsinki, tested positive for a yet-to-be-named substance when they were recently reexamined.

She’ll lose everything between August 12, 2005 to August 11, 2007, but this shouldn’t affect Kuzenkova going forward, since she retired after failing to make the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Still, it brings into question her 2004 Athens gold medal in the hammer just as samples from those Games are being retested before the eight year statute of limitations on changing results runs out.

Speaking of which, Kuzenkova’s compatriot Svetlana Krivelyova has had her shot put bronze from the 2004 Games taken away after her samples tested positive for anabolic steroids during reexamination.

Strangely, Krivelyova was only promoted to bronze after Russian teammate Irina Korzhanenko was stripped of her gold in the shot put for similar reasons. No word yet on whether Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus will now be promoted to that 2004 bronze medal, mostly because she was just stripped of her gold from London in the same event. There are no words…

Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

Sifan Hassan
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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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