Mo Farah’s medical data to be investigated by UK Athletics

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Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah will be investigated by British Athletics in an independent review into “blood data, supplements data, everything surrounding his medical treatment,” UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner said on BBC Radio on Monday.

“We need to make sure there’s nothing else there that we haven’t seen, we’re not aware of, hasn’t been analyzed,” Warner said. “It may well be that the outcome of our own investigation says there’s nothing untoward been going on as far as we can uncover in any way, shape or form around British athletics and a British athlete.”

Farah’s coach, American Alberto Salazar, was accused of cheating by former members of their Nike Oregon Project training group in a BBC and ProPublica report last week.

Farah was not implicated in “inappropriate drug use” by any of the former Nike Oregon Project team members interviewed, according to ProPublica. He has never failed a drug test.

Warner said he thought the UK Athletics investigation would take weeks, not months.

“One of the possible outcomes of all of this is, even though — and I’m sure that’s probably going to be the case — there’s nothing untoward being proven around Mo Farah and British Athletics, we might still recommend to Mo and might still decide ourselves to suspend our relationship [with Salazar] because of the reputational damage that could be caused,” Warner said.

Warner also said a formal process will review “every aspect of our relationship” with Salazar. The chairman called the BBC and ProPublica report a “seismic shock to the sport.”

“If I was a close mate of Mo’s, and he was asking me personally — not as the chairman of British Athletics — ‘What do you think I should do?’ I might have been inclined to say, ‘Do you know what? The easiest thing for you to do right now is to suspend that relationship [with Salazar], take a breather, see how it all plays out, run the circuit in the summer in Europe, on to the World Championships in Beijing, and see what transpires,'” Warner said. “It’s a very fine decision. There’s loyalty issues. Nothing has been proven against Alberto Salazar.”

Farah made his first public comments since last week’s report in a press conference Saturday ahead of a scheduled race in Birmingham, Great Britain, on Sunday. Farah later pulled out of the race.

“This week has been very stressful and taken a lot out of me,” Farah said in a statement announcing he would withdraw. “I have not been able to focus properly on [Sunday’s] race and after the events of the last few days feel emotionally and physically drained.  I want to run well in the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing and have decided it is better for me to go back to the U.S., seek answers to my questions and get back into training.”

On Saturday, Farah said he wouldn’t leave Salazar because he hasn’t seen “clear evidence” against the coach but said he would leave if the allegations were proven true.

“I need some answers,” Farah said he told Salazar. “He goes, ‘Mo, I can prove this to you. These are just allegations. I’ll show you some evidence.'”

Farah said it’s not fair that his name “is getting dragged through the mud” despite not being accused of wrongdoing.

“If Alberto has crossed the line, I’m the first person to leave him,” Farah said.

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Shelby Houlihan shatters American 5000m record

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Shelby Houlihan chopped 10.52 seconds off her own American 5000m record, clocking 14:23.92 at a Bowerman Track Club intrasquad meet in Portland, Ore., on Friday night.

Houlihan, who was 11th in the Rio Olympic 5000m, has in this Olympic cycle improved to become one of the greatest female distance runners in U.S. history.

She first broke Shannon Rowbury‘s American record in the 5000m by 4.47 seconds in 2018. In 2019, she broke Rowbury’s American record in the 1500m by 1.3 seconds in finishing fourth at the world championships in 3:54.99.

On Friday, Houlihan and second-place Karissa Schweizer both went under the American record. Schweizer, 24 and three years younger than Houlihan, clocked 14:26.34, staying with Houlihan until the winner’s 61-second final lap.

“I knew Karissa was going to try to come up on me and take the lead. She does that every time,” Houlihan told USATF.tv. “I had decided I was not going to let that happen.”

Houlihan improved from 41st to 12th on the world’s all-time 5000m list, 12.77 seconds behind Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba‘s world record.

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Can T.J. Oshie, other established Olympic hockey stars hold on for 2022?

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T.J. Oshie will be 35 years old during the next Winter Olympics. Jonathan Quick will be 36. Now that the NHL is one key step closer to returning to the Winter Games, the question surfaces: which 2014 Olympians will have a difficult time returning to rosters in 2022?

Oshie was the last of the 14 forwards chosen for the U.S. Olympic team for Sochi, beating out Bobby Ryan and Brandon Saad, in part for his shootout prowess.

In group play against Russia, Oshie was memorably tapped by U.S. head coach Dan Bylsma six times in a shootout, including all five in the sudden-death rounds. Oshie beat Sergei Bobrovsky four times, including the game winner.

“After I went out for my third attempt, I figured I was going to keep going,” Oshie said, according to USA Hockey. “Each time I would look up to see what [Bylsma] had to say, and he would just give me a nod every time. I kind of started laughing toward shot five and six because it was getting kind of ridiculous.”

Oshie became known as “T.J. Sochi” on social media. President Barack Obama congratulated him on Twitter. The U.S. eventually lost to Canada in the semifinals and Finland in the bronze-medal game.

When the NHL chose not to send its players to the PyeongChang Winter Games, it may have spelled the end of Oshie’s Olympic career.

Consider that the oldest forward on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team was 29, six years younger than Oshie will be come 2022. A recent Olympic roster prediction from The Hockey Writers put Oshie in the “Just Missed Out” list.

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire has Oshie among the finalists for the last forward spots in his early U.S. roster prediction.

“I wouldn’t discount T.J. Oshie because shootout is still part of it,” McGuire said. “He still has his shootout moves, even though he’s not getting any younger.”

Quick, the unused third goalie in 2010, played 305 out of 365 minutes in net for the U.S. in Sochi. He was coming off a Stanley Cup in 2012 and en route to another one in 2014.

Since, he was sidelined by a knee injury that required surgery. He remains the Los Angeles Kings’ No. 1 goalie, which almost automatically puts an American in the Olympic roster discussion these days.

“Somebody like Jonathan definitely merits consideration just because of his achievement level over time, but I think he’d be the first person to tell you injuries have definitely affected him,” McGuire said of Quick, looking to become the second-oldest U.S. goalie to play in the Olympics after Tom Barrasso in 2002. “It’s not going to be easy for him.”

The U.S. could bypass Quick for three Olympic rookies in 2022. Connor Hellebuyck, John Gibson and Ben Bishop have superior save percentages and goals-against averages and more games played than Quick since the start of the 2018-19 season.

A wild card is Spencer Knight, the 19-year-old No. 1 from the world junior championships who last year became the highest-drafted goalie since 2010 (No. 13 to the Florida Panthers). Knight would break defenseman Bryan Berard‘s record as the youngest U.S. Olympic hockey player in the NHL era.

The Canadian roster has traditionally been deeper than the U.S. The talent is overwhelming at center, led by Sidney CrosbyConnor McDavidPatrice Bergeron and Nathan MacKinnon. The Canadians must get creative if the likes of veterans Jonathan Toews and John Tavares will join them in Beijing.

Toews, then 21, was the best forward at the 2010 Vancouver Games and Canada’s only one on the all-tournament team. While Toews’ last NHL All-Star selection was in 2017, his last two seasons have been his best in terms of points per game since 2011.

“The one thing that Canada is very good at, they do it extremely well, they select players that fit roles,” McGuire said, noting Mike Richards shifting to the wing during the 2010 Olympics. “When you look at the overwhelming depth that Canada has, that’s going to be the thing that’s going that’s going to be very interesting to watch to see how it plays out at center.”

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