He Chong

China bypasses Olympic diving champions for World Championships team

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All three active Chinese divers with individual Olympic gold medals will not compete individually at the World Championships this summer, according to Xinhua News Agency, a testament to the nation’s extraordinary depth.

He Chong, the three-time reigning World champion on the 3m springboard and 2008 Olympic champion, was left off the roster entirely after underperforming at national trials.

Chen Ruolin, the two-time reigning Olympic women’s platform champion who won platform medals at the last four World Championships, will compete only in the synchro platform at Worlds in Kazan, Russia, according to the report.

Wu Minxia, the 2012 Olympic women’s springboard champion, will also compete only in synchro at the World Championships. Wu, who earned individual springboard medals at every Worlds from 2001 through 2011, also did not compete individually at the 2013 World Championships.

Si Yajie, the 2013 World champion in women’s platform at age 14, was also left off the individual platform team but will compete in the new mixed-gender synchro platform and team events.

The Chinese roster of individual divers for this summer’s Worlds is led by men’s platform stars Qiu Bo, the two-time defending World champion, and Yang Jian. They are primary competition for U.S. Olympic champion David Boudia and British Olympic bronze medalist Tom Daley.

He Zi, who swept the women’s 1m and 3m springboard at 2013 Worlds, is entered in both events again this year.

In 2013, China won nine of 10 gold medals at Worlds after sweeping all 10 at the 2011 Worlds.

USA Diving names Worlds roster

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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