Lance Armstrong met with USADA boss in effort to reduce ban, report says

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Lance Armstrong and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart met last week for the first time in more than two years, in a step that could lead to the reduction of Armstrong’s lifetime ban due to doping, according to The New York Times.

Armstrong was banned from competition for life by USADA on Aug. 24, 2012, and then stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles won from 1999 through 2005.

Tygart did not confirm that the meeting took place, according to the report:

But Armstrong, 43, has confided to close friends that the meeting went well and that he was hopeful of further talks.

Armstrong is eager to reach an agreement that would allow him to compete in top-level triathlons.

The meeting lasted six hours, according to The Associated Press.

Armstrong said in January he was frustrated he couldn’t, for example, run the Boston Marathon in 4 hours, 15 minutes and raise $100,000 for charity.

“I don’t know how anybody thinks that’s right,” Armstrong told the BBC. “Nothing benefits me by going and running a slow marathon.”

Last week, International Cycling Union president Brian Cookson said he had “no remit to reduce” the lifetime ban but that it was up to USADA. Cookson’s comment came after an independent commission released a 227-page report probing cycling’s doping culture for which Armstrong was interviewed.

“The commission did not feel that anything that Lance Armstrong had told them was sufficient for them to recommend a reduction in his sanction,” Cookson said, according to VeloNews. “I have found no evidence to contradict that.”

Under the World Anti-Doping Agency Code, athlete sanctions can be reduced if they provide “substantial assistance” to anti-doping officials.

“It is premature to talk about any sanction reduction,” Tygart said, according to The New York Times.

Lance Armstrong on forgiveness: ‘We’re getting close to that time’

Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

Sifan Hassan
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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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