Mary Keitany
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Kenya omits fastest active men’s, women’s marathoners from Olympic team

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Kenya named its six-person Olympic marathon team on Tuesday. It includes neither the men’s world-record holder nor the second-fastest woman of all time.

The team, according to its Twitter account:

Eliud Kipchoge — Berlin, London winner
Stanley Biwott — New York winner
Wesley Korir — top Kenyan at Boston (fourth)

Jemima Sumgong — London winner
Visiline Jepkesho — Paris winner
Helah Kiprop — Tokyo winner

Missing from the men’s team is world-record holder Dennis Kimetto, as reported last week to little surprise.

Tuesday’s revelation was that the women’s team does not include Mary Keitany, the 2014 and 2015 New York City Marathon winner and second-fastest woman of all time. Only the retired Paula Radcliffe has bettered Keitany’s 2:18:37 from the 2012 London Marathon.

Keitany won the 2014 and 2015 New York City Marathons but struggled in her last 26.2-mile race, finishing ninth in London on April 24. She also finished fourth at the London Games.

Instead, the roster includes Jepkesho, whose only major marathon was a 20th-place finish at the 2015 World Championships. Jepkesho, 28, won the Paris Marathon in 2:25:53 on April 3.

Kiprop won the World Championships silver medal last year and the Tokyo Marathon in 2:21:27 on Feb. 28, a personal-best time.

Keitany and Chicago Marathon winner Florence Kiplagat were on a reported preliminary roster last week but were relegated to reserves in Tuesday’s announcement.

For the second straight Olympics, all of Kenya’s runners will be making their Olympic marathon debut. Kipchoge earned 5000m bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008.

In 2012, Kenya’s Olympic team did not include Patrick Makau, then the world-record holder, or Geoffrey Mutai, who then had the fastest 26.2-mile time ever (but on a course that wasn’t record eligible).

MORE: Boston Marathon winners not assured Olympic spots

World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

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U.S. women’s soccer team begins Olympic qualifying, which should rest on one match

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The U.S. women’s soccer team has never been in danger in Olympic qualifying, but that doesn’t change this fact: It must win on Feb. 7 to reach the Tokyo Games.

The CONCACAF tournament begins Tuesday in Houston, where the world champion Americans face world No. 72 Haiti. The last two group games are against No. 68 Panama on Friday and No. 37 Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The top two nations from the group advance to Feb. 7 semifinals.

The U.S. roster, with 18 of its 20 players coming from the 2019 World Cup team, is here.

Since CONCACAF qualifies two nations to the Olympics, the semifinals are the deciding games.

Should the U.S. win its group, it would face the runner-up from the other group in a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match. The other group (world ranking):

Canada (8)
Mexico (37)
Jamaica (53)
St. Kitts and Nevis (127)

Chaos could result in the unlikely event that either the U.S. or Canada finishes second in its group, and the two North American powers play a semifinal.

The U.S. is undefeated in Olympic qualifying history, since the tournament format began in 2004 — 15-0 with a goal differential of 88-1 (not counting matches played once they’ve already clinched qualification). The lone goal allowed came in a group-stage match in 2008, when the U.S. was already assured a spot in the semifinals.

Still, the U.S. knows the feeling of one poor outing in an important match. In 2010, it lost to Mexico in a winner-to-the-World Cup match. The U.S. was forced to win a last-chance, home-and-home playoff against a UEFA team — Italy — for the last spot in the World Cup.

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