Tom Brady, Nate Ebner
AP

Patriots safety’s goal to compete in Rio Olympics

Leave a comment

New England Patriots safety Nate Ebner is taking a leave from offseason football training to join the U.S. rugby sevens program with a goal of making the Olympic team, according to USA Rugby.

Ebner, 27, has been mostly a special-teams player for the Patriots since being drafted in the sixth round in 2012.

He was a rugby standout a decade ago for U.S. junior teams at World Championships and at Ohio State, before he walked onto the Buckeyes football team as a junior.

“We are aware of Nate’s rugby background from his high school and college days, and this was the key to him being in a position to compete with the current squad,” U.S. coach Mike Friday said in a press release. “We will be able to condition him over the next six to eight weeks to be more aligned with rugby and work with him to get him up to speed on his skills and tactical understanding.”

Rugby returns to the Olympics in August for the first time since 1924, but the difference this year is that it will be the sevens version rather than the more traditional 15 players per side.

That will make Ebner’s quest more difficult, as the U.S. Olympic team will include 12 players total.

The U.S. rugby sevens team has four more World Series stops in April and May ahead of the Rio Olympics. It is ranked fifth in the series standings through six legs.

VIDEO: Carlin Isles discusses emotional start to rugby career

Allyson Felix named to US 4×400 relay pool for worlds

AP Photo
Leave a comment

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Decorated U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix will be part of the 4×400 relay pool for the world championships as she rounds into elite form after giving birth.

The American squad bound for the world championships in Doha, Qatar, was announced Monday by USA Track & Field. It includes eight reigning world champions and 55 Olympians. The championships run Sept. 27 to Oct. 6 at the air-conditioned Khalifa Stadium. That will come in handy with the temperatures during the event expected to hover around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius).

An 11-time world champion, Felix won’t compete in an individual event after finishing sixth in the 400 at the U.S. championships two months ago. Her performance earned her a place in the 4×400 relay pool as the Americans try to defend their title. The 33-year-old Felix’s race at nationals was her first since giving birth to her daughter last November during an emergency C-section.

Felix’s aim is to be back in top form for the Tokyo Games next summer.

The list of Americans trying to defend their world titles in Doha include Justin Gatlin (100), Tori Bowie (100), Phyllis Francis (400), Kori Carter (400 hurdles), Christian Taylor (triple jump) , Brittney Reese (long jump), Sam Kendricks (pole vault) and Emma Coburn (steeplechase).

One of the most anticipated races at worlds will be the 200 meters, featuring a showdown between Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles in what could be a sneak peek ahead to the Tokyo Olympics. Coleman, who’s also a favorite in the 100, is eligible for worlds and next year’s Olympics after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency dropped his case for missed tests due to a technicality.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

South African sprinter Carina Horn fails doping test

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MONACO (AP) One of Africa’s fastest female sprinters, Carina Horn, has been suspended for failing a doping test.

The Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees doping cases in track and field, says the South African is provisionally suspended after testing positive for the banned substances ibutamoren and ligandrol. Both substances can develop muscles with a similar effect to anabolic steroids and have been used by bodybuilders.

No date has been set for a hearing.

Horn won silver in the 100 meters and gold in the 4×100 relay at the African championships in 2016.

Her personal best of 10.98 seconds for the 100 is the South African record. Her best time this season of 11.01 is well inside the qualifying standard for the upcoming world championships.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports