Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong yet to return stripped Olympic bronze medal

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Lance Armstrong, the International Olympic Committee wants its medal back.

The disgraced cyclist hasn’t given back the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, eight months after the IOC stripped him of it and ordered its return.

“We still do not have the medal back,” IOC vice president Thomas Bach said during the IOC’s session Monday, according to Reuters. “We will continue to work with the United States Olympic Committee to get this medal back as requested in our decision.

“This (the IOC’s January) decision has been communicated to Mr. Armstrong and the USOC. This decision has not been appealed neither by Mr. Armstrong, nor by the USOC and what we are lacking, sadly, is getting back the medal. Legally the case for the IOC is closed.”

Armstrong, a three-time Olympian, was stripped of his only Olympic medal three months after the International Cycling Union took away his record seven Tour de France titles from 1999-2005.

Armstrong finished third in the time trial at the 2000 Olympics, behind one of his longtime U.S. Postal Service Team members, Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov, and German rival Jan Ullrich.

According to court documents, another stripped Tour winner, Floyd Landis, said Ekimov received blood transfusions with other USPS team members during the 2004 Tour de France.

In June, Ullrich admitted to blood doping during his career but has not been stripped of his 1997 Tour de France title.

“I am no better than Armstrong, but no worse either,” Ullrich said.

The fourth-place finisher from that 2000 Olympic time trial, Spain’s Abraham Olano, was fired from his technical director role with the Vuelta a Espana Grand Tour in July after his name came up in French senate report of cyclists who doped in the 1998 Tour de France.

The fifth-place finisher from that race, France’s Laurent Jalabert, acknowledged a positive drug test from the 1998 Tour de France in July.

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Mark Spitz takes on Katie Ledecky’s challenge

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Swimmers around the world took on Katie Ledecky‘s milk-glass challenge since it became a social media sensation, including one of the few Americans with more Olympic gold medals.

Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Munich Games, took 10 strokes in an at-home pool while perfectly balancing a glass of what appeared to be water on his head.

“Would’ve been faster with the ‘stache, @markspitzusa, but I still give this 7 out of 7 gold medals,” Ledecky tweeted.

Spitz joined fellow Olympic champions Susie O’Neill of Australia and American Matt Grevers in posting similar videos to what Ledecky first shared Monday.

In Tokyo next year, Ledecky can pass Spitz’s career gold-medal count of nine if she wins all of her expected events — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles and the 4x200m free relay.

Then she would trail one athlete from any country in any sport — Michael Phelps, the 23-time gold medalist who has yet to post video of swimming while balancing a glass on his head.

MORE: Spitz puts Michael Phelps’ career in perspective

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Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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