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Australia’s Horton hangs on for 400 meter freestyle gold

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China’s Sun Yang arrived in Rio looking to defend his gold medal in the 400 meter freestyle. But yang fell just short of a repeat in the event, with Australia’s Mack Horton holding off the reigning Olympic champion to win Australia’s first gold medal of the Rio Olympics. Horton, who posted the second-fastest time of the qualifying heats, finished the final with a time of 3:41.51 with Yang just 17 one-hundredths of a second behind at 3:41.68.

Winning the bronze medal was Gabriele Detti of Italy, who finished with a time of 3:43.49. He’s the first Italian to medal in this event since Massimiliano Rossolino won the silver medal in Sydney in 2000, and in total three Italians have won a medal in the 400 meter freestyle (Novella Calligaris, 1972). The United States failed to medal in this event, with Conor Dwyer finishing fourth with a time of 3:44.01 and Connor Jaeger settling for fifth place with a time of 3:44.16.

Dwyer posted the fastest qualifying time, earning the spots in lane four as a result, but he was unable to carry that performance over into the final.

Horton’s gold medal is the first in this event for an Australian swimmer since Ian Thorpe won gold in 2004, and his win is the latest development in a rivalry between he and Yang. More importantly the gold could be the start of a resurgence for Australia after they experienced significant disappointment in London four years ago. Australia’s lone swimming gold medal in London came in the women’s 4×100 meter freestyle relay.

Alysa Liu rallies to win Junior Grand Prix with another quadruple jump

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U.S. figure skating champion Alysa Liu landed a quadruple Lutz for a second straight Junior Grand Prix, rallying from fourth after the short program to win an event in Poland on Friday.

Liu, who in January became the youngest U.S. champion in history at age 13, won both of her starts in her first season on the Junior Grand Prix to become the first U.S. woman to qualify for the six-skater Junior Grand Prix Final since 2013 (Polina Edmunds and Karen Chen). The Final is held with the senior Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy, in December.

She won Friday by 6.63 points by surpassing a pair of Russians, a rarity in this era. Her free skate is here.

Liu trailed by 4.03 points after doubling a planned triple loop in the short program. She was the lone skater in the field to attempt a triple Axel (landing three of them, including two in combination and one with a negative grade of execution) or a quad.

Liu tallied 138.99 points in the free skate and 203.10 overall. She ranks sixth in the world this season by best total scores among junior and senior skaters, though some top skaters have yet to compete.

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Rafaela Silva, first Brazilian gold medalist at Rio Olympics, claims innocence after positive drug test

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Rafaela Silva, the judoka who grew up in Rio’s most famously violent favela to become Brazil’s first gold medalist at the Rio Olympics, reportedly tested positive for a banned substance last month.

Silva tested positive for fenoterol, a substance that can be legal to treat asthma if an athlete has a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). Silva did not have a TUE before testing positive at the Pan American Games in August, according to Brazilian media.

A possible punishment has not been announced.

Silva claimed innocence at a news conference Friday afternoon, saying that a young child with whom she had bodily contact at her training location used the substance, and she plans to compete at a domestic event this weekend, according to O Globo.

Silva, 27, backed up her Rio Olympic 57kg title by taking bronze at the world championships later in August. If she is punished for the positive test, Silva could lose that bronze medal, though she said Friday that she had a clean drug test at worlds, according to O Globo.

Silva, from Rio’s Ciadade de Deus favela, has the Olympic rings tattooed on her right bicep with the inscription “God knows how much I’ve suffered and what I’ve done to get here.”

Brazil’s top female swimmer, Etiene Medeiros, reportedly tested positive for fenoterol in May 2016 but was cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics.

In PyeongChang, Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic tested positive for fenoterol and was scratched before his nation’s last game before it was announced. Jeglic was suspended from the Games and, later, was suspended eight months.

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