Jonas Hiller

Switzerland Olympic hockey roster could surprise with Jonas Hiller in goal

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Looking for a nation that could shock one of the traditional hockey powers? Look no further than the Swiss team announced Monday.

They’ve got a goalie that can get hot and carry a team in Jonas Hiller of the Anaheim Ducks, a sprinkling of other NHL players on defense and a recent string of optimistic results.

Switzerland and Latvia are the only nations outside the power seven to reach each of the last four Olympics. The Swiss have certainly had more success than the Latvians.

The Swiss beat Canada and the Czech Republic at the 2006 Olympics and forced Canada to a shootout at the 2010 Olympics before losing to the U.S. in a close quarterfinal.

Olympic hockey rosters: U.S. | Canada | Russia | Sweden | Finland | Czech Republic | Slovakia | Switzerland | Latvia | Norway | Austria | Slovenia

They won a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships without Hiller, ending a 50-year medal drought. Switzerland was the only nation to go undefeated in pool play and beat the U.S. in the semifinals.

In front of Hiller is the young-and-old defense tandem of four-time Olympian Mark Streit and Roman Josi, who was MVP of the 2013 World Championships and has learned from Shea Weber with the Nashville Predators.

Here’s the full Switzerland roster:

Reto Berra — Calgary Flames
Jonas Hiller — Anaheim Ducks
Tobias Stephen

Raphael Diaz — Montreal Canadiens
Roman Josi — Nashville Predators
Mark Streit — Philadelphia Flyers
Yannick Weber — Vancouver Canucks
Julien Vauclair — former Ottawa Senators player
Severin Blindenbacher
Philippe Furrer
Mathias Seger

Damien Brunner — New Jersey Devils
Nino Niederreiter — Minnesota Wild
Andres Ambuhl
Matthias Bieber
Simon Bodenmann
Luca Cunti
Ryan Gardner
Denis Hollenstein
Simon Moser
Martin Pluss
Kevin Romy
Reto Suri
Morris Trachsler
Roman Wick

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
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

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)