Alex Schwazer
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Alex Schwazer, Olympic race walk champ, fails another drug test

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ROME (AP) — Beijing Olympic race walking champion Alex Schwazer is facing another doping case, but this time he maintains he’s clean.

Four years after testing positive for EPO before the 2012 London Games and a 45-month ban, Schwazer was informed Tuesday that a May 12 retest of a Jan. 1 doping control sample showed positive traces of steroids.

“Just like four years ago, I’m here to show my face,” Schwazer said during a news conference Wednesday in the northern city of Bolzano. “But today I don’t have any apology, because there’s nothing I have to say sorry for.

“I didn’t make any error,” Schwazer added, waving his index finger for emphasis.

Schwazer, who won the 50km event at the 2008 Beijing Games, returned to competition and won the 50km at the world championships in Rome in May.

The retest was conducted after Schwazer qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Games by winning the race in Rome.

“It’s strange,” Schwazer’s lawyer, Gerhard Brandstaetter, said. “A test in January comes back negative then in May after he wins in Rome it becomes positive with anabolic substances that don’t have anything to do with endurance sports.

“Alex doesn’t have anything to do with this case,” Brandstaetter added, threatening legal action. “We’ll fight with all of our strength so that the truth comes out.”

Back in 2012, Schwazer held a news conference in Italy after it was revealed he had tested positive and broke down in tears while recounting how he hid the banned substance in the home he was sharing with star figure skater Carolina Kostner.

Schwazer said he had flown alone to Turkey the previous September with 1,500 euros (now $1,700) to buy the blood booster at a pharmacy. He said he disguised it in a box of vitamins in a refrigerator at Kostner’s home in Germany, where he was staying in July in the buildup to the 2012 Games.

Schwazer said he learned how to use EPO through the Internet and injected it daily in a bathroom to prevent Kostner and his parents from knowing what he was doing.

However, Kostner was banned for 16 months by the Italian Olympic committee for helping Schwazer evade a test and other infractions.

The 31-year-old Schwazer, who was also handed an eight-month suspended prison sentence by a court in Bolzano in December 2014, had said he was quitting the sport but later changed his mind.

His return was controversial, with some Italian athletes saying he should not have been given a chance to qualify for Rio.

“It’s a nightmare for me. It’s the worst thing that could happen,” Schwazer said. “I’ve got to get to the bottom of this, because I’ve invested too much in this.

“I’m sure there are people who don’t want me to go the Olympics. But I still believe,” Schwazer added.

The positive test was first reported by the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I’m shocked,” Alfio Giomi, the president of the Italian track and field federation, said. “We’re attempting to understand it.”

MORE: Carolina Kostner sets competitive figure skating return

NBA participation in Tokyo Olympics could be limited, Adam Silver says

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the Tokyo Olympics’ effect on the league’s schedule planning for 2021 is unclear, but that it’s possible that Olympic participation may be limited.

“There are a lot of great U.S. players, and we may be up against a scenario where the top 15 NBA players aren’t competing in the Olympics, but other great American players are competing,” Silver told Bob Costas on CNN on Tuesday. “Obviously, there are many NBA players who participate in the Olympics from other countries. That’s something we’re going to have to work through. I just say, lastly, these are highly unique and unusual circumstances. I think, just as it is for the Olympic movement, it is for us as well. We’re just going to have to sort of find a way to meld and mesh those two competing considerations.”

Silver said his best guess is that the next NBA season starts in January with a goal of a standard 82-game schedule and playoffs. A schedule has not been released.

In normal NBA seasons that start in late October, the regular season runs to mid-April and the NBA Finals into mid-June.

The Tokyo Olympic Opening Ceremony is July 23. If an NBA season is pushed back two or three months to a January start, and the schedule is not condensed, the Olympics would start while the NBA playoffs are happening.

The current NBA season is in the conference finals phase in an Orlando-area bubble after a four-month stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a factor in our planning,” Silver said of the Olympics. “It would be tough for us to make a decision in January based on the Olympics happening on schedule when that’s so unclear.”

The NBA has participated in every Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Games. Monday was the 29th anniversary of the announcement of the first 10 members of the original Dream Team on an NBC selection show (hosted by Costas).

Before the NBA era, U.S. Olympic men’s basketball teams consisted of college players.

MORE: When Michael Jordan lost in wheelchair basketball to Paralympian

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2020 French Open TV, live stream schedule

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Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams can each tie Grand Slam singles titles records at the French Open, with daily live coverage among NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel.

NBC coverage starts Sunday with first-round action at Roland Garros, its 38th straight year covering the event. Tennis Channel airs the majority of weekday coverage. Peacock, NBC Universal’s new streaming service, has middle weekend broadcasts.

All NBC TV coverage alo streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Nadal is the primary men’s storyline, favored to tie Roger Federer‘s male record of 20 major titles and extend his own record of 12 French Open crowns. Federer is absent after knee operations earlier this year.

The Spaniard’s primary competition is top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion whose only defeat in 2020 was a U.S. Open default for hitting a ball that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Williams bids again to match the overall Grand Slam singles mark of 24 held by Australian Margaret Court. Williams, a three-time French Open champion, lost in the third and fourth round the last two years and is coming off a U.S. Open semifinal exit.

The women’s field is led by 2018 champion Simona Halep but lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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French Open TV Schedule

Date Time (ET) Network Round
Sunday, Sept. 27 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
12-3 p.m. NBC
Monday, Sept. 28 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Tuesday, Sept. 29 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Wednesday, Sept. 30 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Thursday, Oct. 1 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Friday, Oct. 2 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
Saturday, Oct. 3 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Sunday, Oct. 4 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Monday, Oct. 5 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Tuesday, Oct. 6 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Oct. 7 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Thursday, Oct. 8 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Tennis Channel Women’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Friday, Oct. 9 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel Men’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Saturday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. NBC Women’s Final
Sunday, Oct. 11 9 a.m. NBC Men’s Final