Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix wins 400m, breaks U.S. record for Worlds medals; Rio preview?

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Allyson Felix won her record-breaking ninth World Championships gold medal and 11th overall, but first in the 400m, taking the one-lap race in Beijing on Thursday night.

It may set her up for a daunting Rio Olympic double.

At the Bird’s Nest, Felix clocked a personal-best 49.26 seconds to break her tie with Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson for the most Worlds gold medals won by an American. She also broke her tie with Lewis and LaShawn Merritt for the most Worlds medals by an American. She also became the first woman to win World titles in the 200m (she has three) and the 400m.

Felix took gold over the Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller (49.67) and Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson (49.99).

“I never really thought I’d see this day,” Felix told Lewis Johnson on Universal Sports.

Felix, the Olympic 200m champion, had the option of racing the 200m, the 400m or both in Beijing. She chose the 400m solely, partly because she deemed the 200m-400m double wasn’t doable given the 200m semifinals and 400m final were about an hour apart Thursday.

She chose the 400m over her longtime trademark 200m because she wanted to challenge herself over the longer distance.

The challenge could have been greater. Neither Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross nor the world’s fastest woman in the event before Thursday, Francena McCorory, made the team in the event at the U.S. Championships in June.

Felix ran the 200m and 400m at the 2011 World Championships, with one day off between events, and won silver in the 400m and then bronze in the 200m. For the 2012 Olympics, Felix chose the 100m to complement her 200m, finishing fifth in the 100m before capturing her first individual Olympic gold in the 200m.

Now that the three-time Olympian Felix has her individual Olympic title, she has more freedom to explore in 2016.

Felix has said her coach would voice his opinion to officials about the Rio Olympic track and field schedule, where the 200m first round and 400m final are a little more than an hour apart.

“If I’m fit enough to do it, I would [run the 200m and 400m at the Olympics],” Felix told Johnson on Universal Sports, later telling media in Beijing, “It has to be one of those perfect storm type of things.”

Felix said if she could run only one event at the Rio Olympics, she would choose the 200m.

If the Rio schedule could be changed to allow one day off between the 200m and 400m (as it was for Johnson to race the 200m and 400m in Atlanta 1996), Felix might be more inclined to attempt the 200m-400m double at the Olympics.

“I’ve put in my time,” Felix said, according to The New York Times. “But that’s all on the people in charge of the scheduling, and I understand that there are a lot of things that go into that. There are also some other great people who can do that double, as well. It’s a pretty common double, so I think for us and for the future, it would be a good thing for the sport.”

Two women have won the 200m and 400m at one Olympics (when there was at least one day off between events) — American Valerie Brisco-Hooks in 1984 and France’s Marie-Jose Perec in 1996.

Felix could earn two more medals in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays this weekend.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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