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Kazakh weightlifters reportedly refuse to return Olympic medals

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — Kazakhstan says three medalists are among six of its athletes disqualified from previous Olympics over doping.

The country’s national Olympic committee said in a statement that weightlifters Irina Nekrasova and Maria Grabovetskaya, who won silver and bronze medals respectively at Beijing 2008, and bronze medal-winning wrestler Aset Mambetov, were retroactively disqualified following retests of drug-test samples they gave at those games.

The Kazakhstan Olympic committee said it had received confirmation from the International Olympic Committee that “traces of banned substances were found” in the athletes’ samples.

The International Weightlifting Federation has previously said the Grabovetskaya and Nekrasova cases concerned various anabolic steroids, with Grabovetskaya testing positive for three different banned substances in a single sample. Wrestling authorities have not said what was found in Mambetov’s sample.

Grabovetskaya and Mambetov were quoted in Kazakh media as saying they will refuse to return their medals because they don’t consider themselves guilty of doping.

There are also retrospective disqualifications from the 2008 games for weightlifters Vladimir Sedov and Maiya Maneza, while another weightlifter, Almas Uteshov, has been scratched from the 2012 Olympics.

Kazakhstan has one of the worst records of any country in the retests carried out this year by the IOC, having already been stripped of three gold medals last month in earlier doping cases.

The retesting program has led to at least 98 positive tests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, many of them down to recent advances in techniques for detecting steroids.

MORE: IOC president answers critics on Russia doping

Hayley Wickenheiser is 7th woman elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Hayley Wickenheiser
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Hayley Wickenheiser, arguably the greatest female hockey player of all time who retired in 2017, will be the seventh female player in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The six-time Canadian Olympian (once in softball) was elected in her first year of eligibility. Wickenheiser is joined by Sergei Zubov, who earned gold at the 1992 Albertville Games with the Unified Team, two-time Czech Olympic medalist Václav Nedomanský and 1980s and ’90s NHLer Guy Carbonneau, among others.

The induction ceremony is Nov. 18 in Toronto.

Wickenheiser is the fifth Canadian female player elected after Angela James (2010), Geraldine Heaney (2013), Danielle Goyette (2017) and Jayna Hefford (2018). Americans Cammi Granato (2010) and Angela Ruggiero (2015) are also Hall of Famers.

Wickenheiser, now the Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant director of player development, earned four golds and one silver in the first five Olympic women’s hockey tournaments. She played 23 years for the Canadian national team, earning seven world titles and being named Olympic tournament MVP in 2002 and 2006.

She also carried the Canadian flag at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony and recited the Athletes’ Oath at the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony. She was elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission in 2014.

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MORE: Finland hockey Hall of Famer retires at age 46

Breaking provisionally added for 2024 Olympics

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Breaking (don’t call it break dancing) was provisionally added to the Olympics for the 2024 Paris Games.

The IOC also announced Tuesday that skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were provisionally added to the 2024 Olympic program. Those three sports will debut at Tokyo 2020 but were not assured places on the Olympic program beyond next year.

“They contribute to making the program more gender balanced and more urban, and offer the opportunity to connect with the younger generation,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a press release. “The proposed sports are in line with these principles and enhance Paris 2024’s overall dynamic Games concept, which focuses on inclusivity, inspiring a new audience and hosting socially responsible Games.”

The IOC Executive Board will make the final decision on the Paris 2024 event program in December 2020, but no more sports can be proposed for inclusion. That means baseball and softball, which return to the Olympics next year, will not be on the 2024 Olympic program. Those sports can still be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Breaking debuted at the Youth Olympics last year, where the U.S. did not have any athletes. Sergei “Bumblebee” Chernyshev of Russia and Ramu Kawai of Japan took gold medals.

Breaking had never previously been up for a vote for Olympic inclusion, but the World DanceSport Federation is recognized by the IOC.

Teenagers, some of whom went by nicknames like Bad Matty, Senorita Carlota and KennyG, went head-to-head in dance battles at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires last year. They performed on a mat atop an outdoor basketball court to a musical beat and emcees.

Judges determined winners using six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, perfomativity and musicality.

“Breaking (also called b-boying or b-girling) is an urban dance style,” according to the Youth Olympics. “The urban dance style originated during the mid 1970s in the Bronx borough of New York City.”

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