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

Emily Sweeney posts fastest time in qualifier for luge World Cup opener

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World championship bronze medalist Emily Sweeney placed first in the Nations Cup luge race Friday in Innsbruck, Austria, qualifying with ease for the first World Cup event of the season.

Twelve women, including fellow American Summer Britcher, were seeded directly into the World Cup race. Sweeney, Brittney Arndt and Ashley Farquharson all qualified from the Nations Cup race. Britcher has finished third in the overall World Cup standings for two straight years and is a contender in a wide-open year with seven-time defending champion Natalie Geisenberger taking a year off while pregnant.

MORE: Geisenberg will not race in 2019-20

In the men’s competition, Jonny Gustafson and Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer finished third and fifth in the Nations Cup race to advance. Tucker West claimed the second-to-last qualifying spot to get all three U.S. sliders in Sunday’s World Cup race.

Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman qualified for the doubles competition, ensuring all eight U.S. sliders will see the weekend races.

OlympicChannel.com will have live streaming this weekend (all times ET):

  • Women: Saturday, 4:15 a.m. and 5:40 a.m.
  • Doubles: Saturday, 7:05 a.m. and 8:25 a.m.
  • Men: Sunday, 4 a.m. and 5:35 a.m.
  • Team relay: Sunday, 7:40 a.m.

Highlights will be on television at the following times:

  • Saturday: Olympic Channel, 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Olympic Channel, 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: NBCSN, 4:30 p.m.

Next weekend, the World Cup series heads to Lake Placid, N.Y.

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Russian track and field federation faces expulsion threat over new doping allegations

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MOSCOW (AP) — The governing body for track and field will consider expelling Russia from membership following new charges that senior officials faked medical records.

Russia has been suspended by World Athletics, formerly known as the IAAF, over widespread doping since 2015. There will be a review of whether vetted Russians should still be allowed to compete in international events as neutrals.

“We need to deal with renegade factions like this,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said Friday in Monaco.

World Athletics has frozen talks about lifting the long-running suspension and asked its Russia task force for recommendations on expelling the country’s track federation.

“It’s not symbolic,” said Coe, who said the charges and suspensions against Russian officials were so wide-ranging that they left the task force with almost no one left to talk to.

One route could be to close the Russian track federation and set up a new national governing body. Russia’s sports minister said he had referred the federation to a commission which oversees such matters.

Federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin and four other senior officials are accused of obstructing the investigation into 2017 world championship silver medalist Danil Lysenko, who was accused last year of failing to make himself available for drug testing.

Lysenko allegedly provided fake medical documents as an alibi with help from the officials. He and his coach have also been suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit pending full disciplinary hearings.

Also Friday, the three-time world high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene assailed Russian track leaders after they were charged Thursday, saying they have made a “doping nightmare” even worse.

Lasitskene called for swift and radical reforms, and the removal of officials appointed by Shlyakhtin.

Shlyakhtin took office shortly after the federation was suspended from international competition for widespread doping. The suspension remains in place four years later.

“The new team, whose task was to take us out of this doping nightmare, has turned out no better than the old one. And in some ways worse,” Lasitskene wrote on Instagram. “Shlyakhtin and his team must quit their posts immediately and never come back. And I will make sure this happens.”

Lasitskene has won two of her three world titles as a neutral athlete as a result of Russia’s suspension, which also caused her to miss the 2016 Olympics.

“Our track and field is in its death throes and we can’t procrastinate anymore,” she wrote. “We’ve lost four years already. Clean athletes are still defenseless and not sure they’ll be able to compete tomorrow.”

Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov expressed concern about the “emergency situation” and referred the federation to a ministry commission which could officially withdraw its government recognition.

“The future fate of the track and field federation will be examined,” Kolobkov said Friday in a video statement. “For us now, the main thing is that the training process isn’t interrupted. That means all of the athletes will get the help they need to continue the training and competition process.”

Earlier, the Kremlin said the charges against Shlyakhtin and others won’t derail the country’s preparations to compete in next year’s Olympics.

“Undoubtedly, this (situation) requires attention from the sports authorities, and I’m sure they’re dealing with it,” said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin. “But I don’t see a direct connection with Russia’s participation in the Olympics here.”

With Shlyakhtin suspended, the federation is set to select an interim president at a board meeting on Saturday.

Russia is also facing a World Anti-Doping Agency ruling next month on whether it manipulated data from a lab in Moscow.

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