Yelena Isinbayeva
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Yelena Isinbayeva: Competing under Olympic Flag not possible

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Yelena Isinbayeva, Russia’s most famous track and field athlete and a two-time Olympic pole vault champion, pleaded her case to be allowed to compete in Rio in a New York Times opinion piece Wednesday.

“There have been suggestions that I compete under the I.O.C. flag,” Isinbayeva wrote. “But this doesn’t seem like a real possibility. If I compete, it will be as a Russian. If the entire Russian team is suspended, I will be suspended, too.”

Russian track and field athletes have been indefinitely barred from competing internationally by the IAAF since November due to the country’s poor anti-doping record.

The IAAF is expected to announce Friday whether the ban will be lifted in time for Russian track and field athletes like Isinbayeva to compete in Rio.

Isinbayeva has for months defended herself and separated herself from her country’s large number of track and field athletes who have failed or evaded drug tests. She said in May that she would sue if barred from the Rio Games, which would be her fifth and likely final Olympics.

Isinbayeva wrote again Wednesday that she has never failed a drug test in more than a decade of being a world-class athlete.

“As Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics, said, ‘The Olympic Games were created for the exaltation of the individual athlete,'” Isinbayeva wrote. “The I.A.A.F. should not punish all of us for the wrongdoing of some.”

IOC pledges €500,000 to help restore Notre Dame ahead of 2024 Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee plans to donate €500,000 ($562,000) to the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral in the 2024 Olympic host city.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that he wants to see Notre Dame restored within five years.

“The aim of completing the reconstruction in time for Paris 2024 will be an extra motivation for all of us,” IOC president Thomas Bach wrote in a Wednesday letter to Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet, according to a translation by Agence France-Presse, which reported Notre Dame is on the planned marathon and road cycling routes. “All the Olympic Movement and in particular the IOC have been extremely touched by the instantaneous connection the French have made between Notre Dame cathedral and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

More than $500 million has been pledged overall from around the globe after a fire ravaged the 850-year-old cathedral on Monday.

NBC News has more on the Notre Dame fire here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Patrick Kane joined by NHL All-Stars on world championship roster

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NHL All-Stars Jack EichelRyan Suter and Cory Schneider join previously named captain Patrick Kane to lead the U.S. at next month’s world hockey championship in Slovakia, seeking the nation’s first title at a standalone worlds since 1933.

Sixteen players were added to the roster in Thursday’s announcement with more to come before worlds open May 10 and more teams get eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, making more players available. The IIHF allows up to 25 players per nation.

Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill will be the U.S. head coach for a third straight worlds. The Americans lost in the quarterfinals in 2017 and earned bronze in 2018, sandwiching an Olympic quarterfinal exit in PyeongChang without NHL players.

Sweden is trying to become the first nation to three-peat at worlds since the Czech Republic in 2001.

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Preliminary IIHF World Championship Roster
Forwards

Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks)
Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres)
Luke Glendening (Detroit Red Wings)
Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes)
Chris Kreider (New York Rangers)
Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings)
James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia Flyers)
Frank Vatrano (Florida Panthers)
Colin White (Ottawa Senators)

Defensemen
Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks)
Alec Martinez (Los Angeles Kings)
Brady Skjei (New York Rangers)
Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild)

Goalies
Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks)
Cayden Primeau (Laval (AHL))
Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils)