Ricardo, Emanuel
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Brazil leaves beach volleyball legends off Olympic team

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Brazilian beach volleyball partners Ricardo and Emanuel, who combined to earn medals at each of the last four Olympics, together or separately, were left off the nation’s Olympic team Wednesday.

Brazil’s volleyball federation named its complete Olympic beach volleyball team, the already qualified Larissa and Talita and Alison and Bruno, and Agatha and Barbara and Evandro and Pedro.

The team announcement was no surprise. Agatha and Barbara won the World Championship in July. Evandro and Pedro were the only Brazilian men’s pair other than World champions Alison and Bruno to make an FIVB World Tour final this season.

Ricardo, 40, and Emanuel, 42, reunited last summer and made zero FIVB World Tour semifinals this season. Emanuel owns more international victories than any other man or woman.

Ricardo and Ze Marco won silver at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Ricardo and Emanuel won Brazil’s last Olympic beach volleyball title at Athens 2004 and bronze at Beijing 2008.

At London 2012, Emanuel and Alison took Olympic bronze.

Ricardo and Emanuel are reserves in case Alison and Bruno or Evandro and Pedro can’t play at Rio 2016.

Brazil may go into the Rio Olympics with gold-medal favorites in both men’s and women’s beach volleyball.

Larissa and Talita and Alison and Bruno lead the FIVB World Tour in wins this season.

Larissa and Talita beat three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings and Olympic silver medalist April Ross in the World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, Calif., in August, though Walsh Jennings played that tournament with a right shoulder injury that required surgery.

MORE BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Kerri Walsh Jennings out until March

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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MORE: 2019 Senior Grand Prix assignments

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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