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Russians face exclusion for not returning Olympic medals

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russian track and field athletes haven’t been giving up their medals in Olympic doping cases, and local officials have vowed to kick them off the national team until they do.

The Russian track federation said Thursday only one medal has been returned out of 23 which must be handed back because of failed retests of samples from the 2008 and 2012 Games.

The only medal returned so far is a bronze won by Anton Kokorin in the men’s 4x400m relay at the 2008 Olympics. Kokorin didn’t test positive, but teammate Denis Alexeyev‘s disqualification for a banned steroid means the whole team must give their medals back.

In an effort to speed up the process and win goodwill while under pressure for doping, the Russian track federation said athletes who don’t return medals won’t have the right to compete in its sports events and won’t be eligible for national teams or for drug-testing pools which could allow them to compete internationally as neutral athletes.

The federation itself has been suspended from international competition since November 2015 over widespread drug use. It said the new insistence on returning medals was part of the process of persuading the IAAF that Russia deserves to be reinstated.

The federation said it “is issuing a reminder that during work on reinstatement with the IAAF there are some criteria which have so far been ignored by a number of people.” Giving back prize money won by dopers at non-Olympic events is another priority, the federation said.

The decision not to select athletes who don’t return Olympic medals is unlikely to have an immediate effect in most cases, since athletes disqualified for Olympic doping are likely to face two-year bans from any sporting involvement anyway. Others are already retired.

However, it could affect runners from relay teams who tested clean but were disqualified because of a teammate’s failed test.

MORE: Alysia Montano finds little joy after Russian stripped of medals

Eddy Alvarez, Olympic short track medalist, to play for Miami Marlins

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Eddy Alvarez realized his MLB dream, six years after earning a Winter Olympic medal, and during a global pandemic that affected his club more than any other U.S. professional sports franchise.

Alvarez, a 2014 U.S. Olympic short track speed skating medalist, is being added to the Miami Marlins roster for Tuesday’s restart of their abbreviated season, president of baseball operations Mike Hill said Monday, according to Marlins beat reporters.

The 30-year-old was among a group added after as many as 18 Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus last week, forcing the club to cancel seven games.

Alvarez is believed to be the first U.S. Winter Olympian to become a Major League Baseball player.

He may be the second Olympic medalist in a sport other than baseball to make it to the majors, joining Jim Thorpe. (Michael Jordan tried to do so with the Chicago White Sox, playing Double-A in 1994, but returned to the Chicago Bulls in 1995.)

Alvarez, a Miami native, played baseball in high school and at Salt Lake Community College before focusing on short track in 2012 for a 2014 Olympic run.

He came back from missing the 2010 Olympic team and surgeries on both knees, reportedly leaving him immobile and bedpan dependent for four to six weeks, to make the Sochi Winter Games. Eddy the Jet earned a silver medal in the 5000m relay.

Then Alvarez returned to baseball after three years away. He signed a minor-league contract with the Chicago White Sox in June 2014. He worked his way through the minors between that franchise and the Marlins system.

Alvarez was a Kannapolis Intimidator, a New Orleans Baby Cake and a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Now, he’s a big leaguer.

“It definitely was a chance, picking up a kid who hasn’t played in three years who is starting at the age of 24,” Alvarez said in 2014. “It’s not your typical story, but I play like a 17-year-old kid. I’m running around everywhere. I’m diving around everywhere. I’m full of life. I definitely see my progression moving at a rapid pace.”

MORE: What Olympic baseball, softball return looks like in 2021

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Katie Ledecky balances glass of chocolate milk on her head while swimming

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Katie Ledecky will always remember Aug. 3 as the date she won her first Olympic gold medal, at age 15 in 2012.

Now, she can also associate it with the time she created another kind of buzz on social media.

The five-time Olympic champion posted video of her swimming the length of a pool while balancing a glass of chocolate milk on her head. Barely any, if any, milk spilled into the pool.

Ledecky swam as part of a new got milk? ad campaign.

“Hoooowww nervous were you when you did this?!” fellow Olympic champion and training partner Simone Manuel asked Ledecky on Instagram.

“I have never braced my core so hard,” Ledecky wrote. “It’s a great drill!”

“Try doing it breaststroke,” British Olympic 100m breaststroke champion and world-record holder Adam Peaty wrote.

“Is it wrong of me to think this is even more impressive than a few of your WR’s?!!!” wrote 1992 Olympic champion Summer Sanders.

MORE: The meet where Kathleen Ledecky became Katie Ledecky

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