Four Russian skeleton athletes banned amid Sochi doping probe

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Four Russian skeleton athletes were provisionally suspended by the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation in response to an International Olympic Committee investigation into Russian doping at the Sochi Winter Games.

The IBSF did not name the suspended athletes nor did it say if they were all Sochi Olympians. Russia sent six skeleton athletes to the 2014 Olympics, with two earning medals.

Aleksandr Tretiyakov took gold in the Olympic men’s race. Yelena Nikitna took bronze in the women’s race, .04 ahead of American Katie Uhlaender. Tretiyakov and Nikitina have continued to race on the World Cup circuit, which resumes next week in Altenberg, Germany, following its usual holiday break.

The IBSF announcement came one week after the IOC said it opened disciplinary proceedings against 28 Russian Olympians for whom there was “evidence of manipulation of one or more of their urine samples” from the Sochi Winter Games.

The IOC move was in response to a World Anti-Doping Agency-commissioned report by Richard McLaren that said more than 1,000 Russian athletes were involved in organized doping. Russians who won 15 medals in Sochi had their samples tampered with, according to the report.

“It has been a hard time for all of us in sports after the publication of the McLaren Report,” IBSF president Ivo Ferriani said in a press release Friday. “The IBSF is fully committed to ensure all necessary steps will be taken to gain back the integrity of sport.”

The International Ski Federation (FIS) already suspended six Russian cross-country skiers in connection with the Sochi doping cases.

Like the IBSF, FIS has not released the names of the skiers, though Russian media has reported they include the two most decorated Russian skiers from the Sochi Olympics. Those two skiers are not on Russia’s roster for the annual Tour de Ski, which starts Saturday, after competing in World Cups this season.

MORE: Katie Uhlaender, fourth in Sochi, contacts Russian skeleton bronze medalist

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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