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

World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

AP
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

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U.S. women’s soccer team begins Olympic qualifying, which should rest on one match

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The U.S. women’s soccer team has never been in danger in Olympic qualifying, but that doesn’t change this fact: It must win on Feb. 7 to reach the Tokyo Games.

The CONCACAF tournament begins Tuesday in Houston, where the world champion Americans face world No. 72 Haiti. The last two group games are against No. 68 Panama on Friday and No. 37 Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The top two nations from the group advance to Feb. 7 semifinals.

The U.S. roster, with 18 of its 20 players coming from the 2019 World Cup team, is here.

Since CONCACAF qualifies two nations to the Olympics, the semifinals are the deciding games.

Should the U.S. win its group, it would face the runner-up from the other group in a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match. The other group (world ranking):

Canada (8)
Mexico (37)
Jamaica (53)
St. Kitts and Nevis (127)

Chaos could result in the unlikely event that either the U.S. or Canada finishes second in its group, and the two North American powers play a semifinal.

The U.S. is undefeated in Olympic qualifying history, since the tournament format began in 2004 — 15-0 with a goal differential of 88-1 (not counting matches played once they’ve already clinched qualification). The lone goal allowed came in a group-stage match in 2008, when the U.S. was already assured a spot in the semifinals.

Still, the U.S. knows the feeling of one poor outing in an important match. In 2010, it lost to Mexico in a winner-to-the-World Cup match. The U.S. was forced to win a last-chance, home-and-home playoff against a UEFA team — Italy — for the last spot in the World Cup.

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