Shani Davis

Shani Davis, Heather Richardson sweep again at U.S. Olympic Trials (video)

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Shani Davis will get a chance to defend Olympic medals in two distances in Sochi. Heather Richardson has a shot at the podium in three individual races.

Davis won his second event at the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials, while Richardson took her third in the 1500m at the Utah Olympic Oval on Tuesday. They both won the 1000m on Sunday. Richardson also won the 500m on Saturday.

The U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials conclude with the women’s 5000m and men’s 10,000m on New Year’s Day at 3:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN, 5 p.m.). The U.S. has one Olympic quota spot in each of those events.

Davis, the two-time reigning Olympic 1500m silver medalist, clocked 1 minute, 43.20 seconds and led three other men who had already qualified in other distances. Brian Hansen was second, a half-second behind, followed by Joey Mantia and Jonathan Kuck.

Davis’ shot at gold in the 1500m in Sochi is not quite as high as in the 1000m. Four World Cup 1500m races this season were won by four different men, including Davis and Mantia. Six different men won the six World Cup races last season. Hansen made four podiums over the last two seasons.

“Any medal at this level would mean a lot to me, preferably gold,” Davis said on NBCSN. “I go out there, I do the best I can. Hopefully, I’m the best man that given day.”

In the women’s race, Richardson prevailed in 1:54.19, a mild upset by .77 over Brittany Bowe.

“My legs are kind of tired,” Richardson said on NBCSN after her third event in four days, “so I really had to work.”

Bowe, reportedly sick after finishing Tuesday, also finished second to Richardson in the 500m and 1000m at trials.

Both will go to the Olympics in the 1500m, as will third-place Jilleanne Rookard, who also won the 3000m on Friday.

Richardson was the top U.S. finisher in the 2010 Olympic 1500m, taking 16th. Rookard was 24th. Richardson is better in the 500m and 1000m, while Rookard is better in the 3000m and 5000m.

Bowe has won two World Cup medals in four 1500m races this season, including a victory in Astana, Kazakhstan. Richardson and Bowe will battle Dutch skaters for 1500m medals in Sochi.

Here are the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials results so far:

Men’s 500m (four Olympic quota spots)
1. Mitchell Whitmore
2. Tucker Fredricks
3. Brian Hansen
4. Shani Davis

Men’s 1000m (four Olympic quota spots)
1. Shani Davis
2. Brian Hansen
3. Joey Mantia
4. Jonathan Garcia

Men’s 1500m (four Olympic quota spots)
1. Shani Davis
2. Brian Hansen
3. Joey Mantia
4. Jonathan Kuck

Men’s 5000m (three Olympic quota spots)
1. Jonathan Kuck
2. Emery Lehman
3. Patrick Meek

Women’s 500m (four Olympic quota spots)
1. Heather Richardson
2. Brittany Bowe
3. Sugar Todd
4. Lauren Cholewinski

Women’s 1000m (four Olympic quota spots)
1. Heather Richardson
2. Brittany Bowe
3. Sugar Todd
4. Kelly Gunther

Women’s 1500m (three Olympic quota spots)
1. Heather Richardson
2. Brittany Bowe
3. Jilleanne Rookard

Women’s 3000m (two Olympic quota spots)
1. Jilleanne Rookard
2. Anna Ringsred

WADA could introduce hair tests for doping

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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