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Russian sculls rowing team banned from Rio for doping

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The Russian men’s quadruple sculls team has been disqualified from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics for a doping violation, and will be replaced at the games by New Zealand, world rowing’s ruling body announced Thursday.

The World Rowing Federation says that trimetazidine, a banned substance, was found in a urine sample given by rower Sergei Fedorovtsev in an out-of-competition test on May 17.

He competed a week later at the final Olympic qualifying regatta in Switzerland, where Russia finished first to qualify for Rio.

As Fedorovtsev, who won a gold medal in quadruple sculls at the 2004 Athens Olympics, had provided a positive doping test, the federation said that “the results of all competitions in which the rower participated after 17 May 2016 are therefore automatically disqualified.”

New Zealand, which finished third behind Russia and Canada in the qualifying event, will replace the Russian crew in Rio. Canada also qualified by finishing second, joining the top eight crews who secured their Olympic places at the 2015 world championships, held in France.

The disqualification of the rowers is just the latest doping scandal involving Russia ahead of Rio.

Russia’s track and field athletes have already be banned from competing for their country for a systematic doping system that operated “from the top down” and tainted the entire team.

The IAAF, track’s world governing body, upheld a ban on Russia’s track and field federation, but left open a “tiny crack” that would allow any individual Russian athletes who have been untainted by doping and have been subjected to effective testing outside Russia to apply to compete in the games.

Russia, along with Kazakhstan and Belarus, also faces a possible one-year suspension from international weightlifting competition following the retesting of samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

The International Weightlifting Federation said the final decisions on whether the countries will be allowed to compete at Rio will be made after the International Olympic Committee makes a definitive ruling on the retests.

Russia is one of six countries that have already had some of their quota places for Rio withdrawn by the IWF.

MORE: 67 Russians apply for Olympic track and field spots

Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

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Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

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