Kosuke Hagino

Kosuke Hagino not satisfied with 7 medals at Asian Games

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Japan’s Kosuke Hagino rated his performance at the Asian Games as 50 to 60 on a scale of 100, not fully satisfied after winning four gold medals and seven medals overall at the competition.

“Four golds are the maximum I could get at these Games,” Hagino said Friday, according to Xinhua News Agency. “Having said that, there were many things that I wasn’t so satisfied with. If it’s a 100 scale, I would give myself 50 to 60 points.”

Hagino, 20, lamented finishing second behind China’s Olympic and World champion Sun Yang in the 400m freestyle and third behind countryman Ryosuke Irie in the 100m and 200m backstrokes. Irie is joint-fastest in the world this year in the 100m back and No. 1 alone in the 200m back.

“I have a lot to improve,” Hagino said, according to Xinhua.

If Hagino continues to speed up, he could be favored to win more individual-event medals than any other athlete at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia, and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

These are his event-by-event world ranking progressions from 2012 to 2014, via FINA and SwimVortex.com:

200m individual medley — 5-2-1
400m individual medley — 4-1-1
200m backstroke — 6-5-2
200m freestyle — 72-8-2
100m backstroke — NR-4-4
400m freestyle — 27-3-5

No swimmer has won six individual medals at a single Olympics. Michael Phelps won eight medals each at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, five coming in individual events both times.

Hagino made the finals of six events at the 2013 World Championships and won two silver medals.

However, he would appear unlikely to swim all six events at the Rio Olympics, because the 400m individual medley and the 400m freestyle finals are typically on the same night, the opening night, and within a half-hour of each other. They are not on the same night at the World Championships.

Phelps and Ryan Lochte have been known to swim two Olympic events in the same night, but never totaling 800 meters.

Even if Hagino swam five individual Olympic events rather than six, his chances of matching Phelps with eight medals at a single Games are very low because Japan does not excel in the three relays like the U.S. does.

Japan made the podium in the 4x100m medley relay at the last three Olympics but has not won a medal in the 4x200m free relay since 1964 and hasn’t won a medal period in the 4x100m free relay.

China swim star Sun Yang rips Japan anthem at Asian Games

World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

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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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