Jeremy Abbott
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Jeremy Abbott to skip 2016-17 season, train for Olympic year

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Jeremy Abbott will take a second straight season off from top-level competition, but he would still love to skate in a third Olympics in 2018.

But he’s not yet committing to a run for Pyeongchang, either.

“I committed myself to training for next season,” Abbott, a four-time national champion whose last major event was the January 2015 U.S. Championships, said in a recent phone interview. “I haven’t committed to anything past that.”

When Abbott’s name was not on the fall Grand Prix Series assignments list, it was logical to surmise he would not be competing on the top international level at all this season.

He will still take part in the Japan Open, a free skate-only event Oct. 1 that includes the world’s top skaters and those retired from Olympic-level competition. He will also do shows, such as his own Aspen event in December. Same as last year.

Abbott is still training at the Detroit Skating Club with longtime coaches Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen. At 31 years old, time is not on his side.

“I know the state of the sport, it keeps growing and these boys keep improving,” said Abbott, a 2014 Olympic team event bronze medalist whose best individual finish in seven Olympics/worlds trips was fifth. “I have a lot to offer figure skating. On the other side of it, if this is going to be something realistic, I need to be doing multiple [quadruple jumps]. I’m working on my strength and my consistency more than anything.”

Abbott also said in spring 2015 reports that he would not return to competition if he couldn’t land two different quadruple jumps.

If Abbott does decide next year to return to top-level competition for an Olympic run, he would be trying to become the oldest U.S. Olympic singles skater since 1932, according to sports-reference.com.

“When that season rolls around, at 32 [years old], being the best skater and the best technician and in the best shape I’ve been in my entire career, that’s my goal,” Abbott said. “Thirty-two is old in figure skating, but I don’t think it’s old in a lot of sports. I’m ‘old,’ but I’m not over the hill.”

MORE: Jason Brown grows after first major injury of his career

Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned four years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
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Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

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NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)