Elana Meyers

Elana Meyers, Steve Holcomb sweep Park City bobsled openers (video)

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The U.S. Bobsled Team continued its golden start to the season, sweeping the two-woman and two-man World Cup races in Park City, Utah, on Friday.

Olympic bronze medalist Elana Meyers and Olympic champion Steve Holcomb drove USA-1 sleds to victory at the 2002 Olympic track.

Meyers, 29, notched her first career World Cup victory as a driver in her fourth season and the first U.S. women’s victory since January 2011. She came in with five career World Cup podiums and World Championships silver and bronze medals.

Meyers, with push athlete Aja Evans, came from behind to upset Olympic and world champion Kaillie Humphries in a two-run time of 1 minute, 37.67 seconds.

“Definitely didn’t have two perfect runs, but I’ve got a great brakeman [Evans] behind me,” Meyers said. “She helps me out at the start and allows me to make a couple mistakes.”

The Canadian Humphries was .13 back in second after posting the fastest opening run.

“I know I made a mistake at the top of the track,” Humphries said. “Competition is stiff. It’s their home track. … I drove the very best that I could.”

Americans Jamie Greubel and Katie Eberling and Jazmine Fenlator and Emily Azevedo were third and fourth.

Meyers, who finished second to Humphries in the season opener last week, handed the Canadian her first loss on North American ice since 2010.

Greubel took third for the second straight World Cup race. Fenlator bounced back after finishing 15th last week, her worst World Cup finish in three seasons as a driver. The 2010 Olympian Azevedo replaced Lolo Jones as Fenlator’s push athlete Friday. The teams could be changed for Saturday’s race.

Holcomb, 33, won the two-man event with Chris Fogt in 1:35.51, beating another American sled with Nick Cunningham and Dallas Robinson by. 25. Cunningham notched his best career World Cup finish in his second season on the circuit.

Germans Francesco Friedrich and Jannis Baecker were third. Americans Cory Butner and Chuck Berkeley were fourth.

Holcomb has won all three men’s races this season, adding the Park City two-man to two- and four-man events in Calgary, Alberta, last weekend. He has now won five straight World Cup two-man events on North American tracks.

“I grew up on these tracks, so I know these better than any tracks,” said Holcomb, a Park City native. “We had two great starts. It’s easy to stay in the lead. Just point it in the right direction.”

The Park City World Cup concludes with two-woman and four-man races Saturday beginning at noon ET.

Park City Day 1

Two-woman
1. Elana Meyers/Aja Evans (USA) 1:37.67
2. Kaillie Humphries/Heather Moyse (CAN) 1:37.80
3. Jamie Greubel/Katie Eberling (USA) 1:37.86
4. Jazmine Fenlator/Emily Azevedo (USA) 1:38.05

Two-man
1. Steve Holcomb/Chris Fogt (USA) 1:35.51
2. Nick Cunningham/Dallas Robinson (USA) 1:35.76
3. Francesco Friedrich/Jannis Baecker (GER) 1:35.80
4. Cory Butner/Chuck Berkeley (USA) 1:35.93

Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards plans to ski jump at age 50

Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned 4 years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
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Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

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NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)