Justin Gatlin

Justin Gatlin not among IAAF Athlete of the Year award finalists

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Justin Gatlin was not voted a finalist for the World Athlete of the Year, following criticism over his original nomination two weeks ago due to his doping past.

Gatlin was scrutinized for his inclusion on a 10-man candidate list announced Oct. 3 since he was banned four years for taking performance-enhancing drugs in 2006.

The men’s award finalists announced Friday were Qatar high jumper Mutaz Barshim, Kenyan marathon runner Dennis Kimetto and French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie.

The finalists were determined by an email poll of track and field officials that closed Thursday. The winners will be announced Nov. 21 after an IAAF council decision.

This season, Gatlin went undefeated over 100m and 200m and was the world’s fastest man in both distances. He never raced against Usain Bolt in 2014.

Barshim this season moved up from being tied as the fifth highest high jumper in history to alone at No. 2 behind world-record holder Javier Sotomayor. He took several attempts at breaking Sotomayor’s world record.

Kimetto broke the world record in the marathon in Berlin on Sept. 28.

In February, Lavillenie broke Sergey Bubka‘s nearly 21-year-old world record in the pole vault.

Two weeks ago, German Olympic discus champion Robert Harting asked for his name to be taken off the 10-man candidate list due to the inclusion of an athlete previously banned for doping (it wasn’t, but he wasn’t a favorite to be a finalist anyway).

IAAF vice president Seb Coe said he had “big problems” with Gatlin’s name being on the 10-man list.

The women’s finalists are New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams, Ethiopian middle distance runner Genzebe Dibaba and Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers.

None of the six men’s and women’s finalists has won an IAAF Athlete of the Year award before.

The 2013 finalists were Bolt (winner), British distance runner Mo Farah and Ukrainian high jumper Bohdan Bondarenko and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (winner), Czech Republic 400m hurdler Zuzana Hejnova and Adams.

Bolt, who won the IAAF World Athlete of the Year Award in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, was not on the 10-man candidates list after he ran a total of 400m in an injury-shortened season.

This is Adams’ fourth straight year as a finalist.

Simone Biles still buzzing after World Championships whirlwind

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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