Germany, France earn 2016 Olympic women’s soccer spots; playoff for others

Leave a comment

Germany and France clinched berths in the Rio 2016 Olympic women’s soccer tournament by reaching the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals, while the third and final European berth will be decided in a later four-nation playoff.

Europe is the only continent to use the Women’s World Cup as an Olympic qualifying tournament. The three-time reigning Olympic champion U.S. will try to qualify via a later CONCACAF tournament.

The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland all lost in the World Cup round of 16 and will compete against each other in a tournament in early March 2016 for one Olympic berth, according to reports.

Germany and France are the top two European nations in FIFA’s rankings. Germany is No. 1, followed by the U.S. at No. 2 and France at No. 3.

Germany failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics because it lost in the 2011 Women’s World Cup round of 16. It ranked No. 2 behind the U.S. by FIFA going into the London Games and was the highest-ranked nation not competing in London.

Sweden is currently ranked No. 5. Norway is No. 11. The Netherlands is No. 12. Switzerland is No. 19.

England reached the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals but doesn’t count for Olympic qualifying because Great Britain will not attempt to field a team for the Rio Games.

If Norway wins the European playoff, the U.S. and Canada earn the two CONCACAF berths and China and Japan get the two Asian berths, then every nation that has won an Olympic women’s soccer medal will be represented at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Predicting U.S. Olympic women’s soccer roster based off World Cup

Alysa Liu rallies to win Junior Grand Prix with another quadruple jump

Getty Images
Leave a comment

U.S. figure skating champion Alysa Liu landed a quadruple Lutz for a second straight Junior Grand Prix, rallying from fourth after the short program to win an event in Poland on Friday.

Liu, who in January became the youngest U.S. champion in history at age 13, won both of her starts in her first season on the Junior Grand Prix to become the first U.S. woman to qualify for the six-skater Junior Grand Prix Final since 2013 (Polina Edmunds and Karen Chen). The Final is held with the senior Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy, in December.

She won Friday by 6.63 points by surpassing a pair of Russians, a rarity in this era. Her free skate is here.

Liu trailed by 4.03 points after doubling a planned triple loop in the short program. She was the lone skater in the field to attempt a triple Axel (landing three of them, including two in combination and one with a negative grade of execution) or a quad.

Liu tallied 138.99 points in the free skate and 203.10 overall. She ranks sixth in the world this season by best total scores among junior and senior skaters, though some top skaters have yet to compete.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: 2019 Senior Grand Prix assignments

Rafaela Silva, first Brazilian gold medalist at Rio Olympics, claims innocence after positive drug test

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rafaela Silva, the judoka who grew up in Rio’s most famously violent favela to become Brazil’s first gold medalist at the Rio Olympics, reportedly tested positive for a banned substance last month.

Silva tested positive for fenoterol, a substance that can be legal to treat asthma if an athlete has a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). Silva did not have a TUE before testing positive at the Pan American Games in August, according to Brazilian media.

A possible punishment has not been announced.

Silva claimed innocence at a news conference Friday afternoon, saying that a young child with whom she had bodily contact at her training location used the substance, and she plans to compete at a domestic event this weekend, according to O Globo.

Silva, 27, backed up her Rio Olympic 57kg title by taking bronze at the world championships later in August. If she is punished for the positive test, Silva could lose that bronze medal, though she said Friday that she had a clean drug test at worlds, according to O Globo.

Silva, from Rio’s Ciadade de Deus favela, has the Olympic rings tattooed on her right bicep with the inscription “God knows how much I’ve suffered and what I’ve done to get here.”

Brazil’s top female swimmer, Etiene Medeiros, reportedly tested positive for fenoterol in May 2016 but was cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics.

In PyeongChang, Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic tested positive for fenoterol and was scratched before his nation’s last game before it was announced. Jeglic was suspended from the Games and, later, was suspended eight months.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Iran banned from judo for Israel policy