Gwen Jorgensen, Sarah True make 2016 U.S. Olympic triathlon team

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London Olympians Gwen Jorgensen and Sarah True became the first U.S. triathletes to make the 2016 Olympic team with first- and fourth-place finishes at the ITU World Olympic Qualification Event in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

The former Ernst & Young accountant Jorgensen is one of the most dominant athletes in the world. She extended her winning streak to 12 top-level international triathlons dating to her lost loss on April 26, 2014. Her 11 straight wins on the International Triathlon Union World Series circuit are a record for women or men.

In Rio, Jorgensen and True will look to become the second and third Americans to win an Olympic triathlon medal, joining Susan Williams, who took bronze at Athens 2004. Triathlon debuted at the Sydney 2000 Games.

In 2012, Jorgensen finished a disappointing 38th at the Olympics after suffering a flat tire on the bike.

“This has been the first step in my goal of aspiring to win gold in Rio next year since the 2012 Olympics,” Jorgensen said, according to USA Triathlon. “I’m really excited and we now have two U.S. girls qualified, so I think that’s key. Sarah and I both have a year now to prepare for the race. This whole season, this has been the focus race.”

True finished fourth in the London Olympic triathlon as Sarah Groff, married U.S. distance runner Ben True last year and was (a distant) second to Jorgensen in last season’s World Series standings.

On Sunday, Jorgensen was 14 seconds behind after the 1500m swim and one second back after the 40km bike. Her strength is the run, and she proved it again by distancing the field over 10km to win by 19 seconds over Great Britain’s Non Stanford.

One more U.S. female triathlete can qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team next year. The favorite will be Katie Zaferes, who would be a first-time Olympian in Rio. Zaferes ranks second in podium finishes in this year’s World Series with five behind Jorgensen’s six.

U.S. triathlon could qualify up to three men for the 2016 Olympics but have no Rio medal favorites at this point.

The World Triathlon Series continues in Stockholm from Aug. 22-23.

Jorgensen and True are the sixth and seventh athletes to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team across all sports, joining modern pentathlete Nathan Schrimsher, table tennis player Jennifer Wu and open-water swimmers Jordan WilimovskySean Ryan and Haley Anderson.

Gwen Jorgensen’s triathlon bike helmet includes Paul Bunyan, Bucky Badger

Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned 4 years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
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Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

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NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)