Five Russian track and field stars set to miss Rio Olympics

Maria Kuchina, Anna Chicherova
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Russia’s ban from Olympic track and field means some of the sport’s most successful athletes are not eligible for the Rio Games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the appeal by 68 Russian track and field athletes seeking to overturn the ban imposed by the IAAF following allegations of state-sponsored doping and cover-ups.

Here are five Russian Olympic or World champions who are set to miss the Rio Games:

Yelena Isinbayeva, Pole Vault
Olympic champion in 2004, 2008
World champion in 2005, 2007, 2013
World-record holder

Isinbayeva, a 34-year-old converted youth gymnast, is the greatest female pole vaulter of all time and one of the greatest athletes in Russian history across all sports. She has broken the world record 17 times.

Isinbayeva is certainly past her prime, and her fitness a complete unknown after taking 2014 and 2015 off due to pregnancy and her build-up to Rio set back by injuries. She went three years between competing until June 21, when she cleared the highest height in the world this year.

MORE: Russian Olympic ban upheld by court | Ten U.S. athletes who may benefit

Anna Chicherova, High Jump
Olympic champion in 2012
World champion in 2011

Chicherova has been the most consistent female track and field athlete in the world the last decade. She and Usain Bolt are the only track and field athletes to earn individual medals at every Olympics and World Championships since 2007.

However, the 33-year-old reportedly failed a recent retest of 2008 Beijing Olympic doping samples, putting her bronze medal from those Games in jeopardy. Like Isinbayeva, Chicherova is in the twilight of her career. Her best clearance in domestic competitions this year would rank No. 4 in the world.

Sergey Shubenkov, 110m Hurdles
World champion in 2015

At age 25, Shubenkov is arguably the biggest Russian track and field star at or near a career peak. He was eliminated in the first round at 2011 Worlds, then the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics before winning bronze at the 2013 Worlds and gold last year.

Shubenkov has struggled this year while not being able to compete internationally, with a best time of 13.20 seconds that would be joint ninth place in world rankings, according to Tilastopaja.org.

Shubenkov said before Thursday’s ruling that he would “get drunk” if Russia lost its appeal.

Natalya Antyukh, 400m Hurdles
Olympic champion in 2012

Antyukh, 34, beat American Lashinda Demus by .07 for London Olympic gold, eight years after taking bronze in the Athens Olympic 400m (without hurdles).

Antyukh has also been a longtime member of the 4x400m relay pool for Russia, a close rival to the U.S. over the last 10 to 15 years. Her Rio Olympic 400m hurdles chances were not great, given she ranked No. 42 in the world last year and withdrew before the 2015 World Championships.

Maria Kuchina, High Jump
World champion in 2015

Kuchina, 23, set a personal best to win the 2015 World Championship, continuing a strong tradition of female Russian high jumpers. She was expected to make her Olympic debut in Rio.

Kuchina told NBC News in June that she has never taken performance-enhancing drugs, nor been urged to take performance-enhancing drugs.

“Why should I pay for someone else’s mistakes?” she said, according to NBC News.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final

Annemiek van Vleuten, with broken elbow, becomes oldest to win world road race title

Annemiek van Vleuten
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WOLLONGONG, Australia — Annemiek van Vleuten surprised herself and the rest of cycling by recording the finest win of her career on Saturday at the world road championships.

Overcoming an elbow fracture sustained three days earlier, the Dutch great won her second world road race title with an attack in the last 600 meters that caught the other eight leaders napping.

The 39-year-old rider and her Dutch teammates were in disbelief at the finish after she put the exclamation mark on a 164.3-kilometer event. She became the oldest man or woman to win a world championships road race, according to Gracenote.

The 2019 World champion and reigning Olympic and world time trial winner claimed cycling’s triple crown this year when she landed the Italian, French and Spanish tours.

But for Van Vleuten, who will retire at the end of next season, what she did on Saturday was extra special.

“Maybe this is my best victory . . . I am still speechless, I still can’t believe it,” she said. “It took me some time to realize I’d really pulled it off because I’m waiting for the moment that they tell me there was someone in front or it was a joke. I had the feeling it cannot be true.”

She crashed in Wednesday’s mixed team relay at the worlds and sustained the fracture, describing the pain during Saturday’s race as “hell.”

The win also continues the domination of the Dutch women, who have finished on the road race podium at all but three of the last 20 worlds.

Earlier Saturday, Britain’s Zoe Backstedt celebrated her 18th birthday by turning the junior road event into a one-woman race.

In wet and cold conditions, Backstedt cycled away from the peloton with a solo attack at 10 kms and stayed clear for the remaining 57 kms to win by more than two minutes. Eglantine Rayer of France was second ahead of Dutch rider Nienke Vinke.

Backstedt retained her junior road race title and also is a world champion on the track and in cyclocross.

The championships end Sunday with the men’s road race.

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