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Five men to watch at U.S. Olympic Diving Trials

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Diving sets the stage this weekend for three eventful weeks of U.S. Olympic Trials. Berths on the diving team headed to Rio will be awarded next week, and the squad will be known in full June 26.

Preliminary rounds take place each day in Indianapolis from Saturday through Tuesday, followed by finals June 22-26. Much of the action will be aired live on NBC, NBCSN and streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra.

U.S. divers qualified for Olympic berths in seven of eight events. They failed to secure a spot in the women’s synchronized springboard event, but will compete in men’s synchronized springboard and platform, men’s individual springboard and platform, women’s synchronized platform, and women’s individual springboard and platform.

Here are five men’s divers to watch at trials. Click here for the women.

David Boudia
The defending Olympic gold medalist in the men’s platform, Boudia is all but a lock to make the U.S. team. He won the platform event at both the 2008 and 2012 trials and remains a strong medal contender internationally; Boudia took silver at the past three World Championships. He also won bronze in London’s synchronized platform event with the since-retired Nick McCrory, but now dives with Steele Johnson. Boudia resides in West Lafayette, Ind., which is home to his alma mater, Purdue, and just an hour’s drive from Indianapolis.

Steele Johnson
Boudia and the 20-year-old Johnson have known each other since Boudia drove Johnson to practice years ago in the Indianapolis suburbs, and Johnson followed in Boudia’s footsteps by enrolling at Purdue. They now train together and are each other’s main domestic competition. Johnson captured the 2015 NCAA championship in men’s platform, and also won the event at the past three Winter Nationals (though Boudia was absent). The U.S. holds two Olympic berths in the event, so Boudia and Johnson are favored to secure them. Johnson is also a good bet in the synchronized platform event, with Boudia.

Troy Dumais
A veteran of four Olympics, the 36-year-old Dumais is looking to become the first diver to make five U.S. Olympic teams. He’s a long shot in the individual springboard event (he placed fourth at Winter Nationals), but a strong contender in synchronized springboard, the event in which he won 2012 Olympic bronze with Kristian Ipsen. Dumais and Ipsen placed second at the 2015 Summer and Winter Nationals.

Kristian Ipsen
Ipsen is the reigning national champ in men’s springboard and a favorite to capture one of two U.S. berths in the event. He’d be an outside medal contender in Rio, where he secured a bronze medal at the World Cup stop in February. The U.S. hasn’t won an Olympic springboard medal since 1996. In synchronized springboard, Ipsen placed second with Dumais at the two major national events last year, but also won both events with another partner, Sam Dorman. Divers can compete with multiple partners at some events, but Ipsen will not at trials. Ipsen and Dumais are paired together again, eyeing a return to the podium in Rio.

David Dinsmore
A dark horse in the men’s platform is Dinsmore, who won the event at last year’s Summer Nationals. Neither Boudia nor Johnson competed, however. With Johnson in the field at Winter Nationals, Dinsmore took third. The 19-year-old Miami student did, however, top Johnson at the World Cup event in Rio this past February. He edged out Johnson for bronze, and likely will need a similar performance to earn an Olympic berth.

MORE: Full NBC Olympic Trials broadcast schedule

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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