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Olympic sprinter tries out for Carolina Panthers

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Marvin Bracy hasn’t played a football game in more than five years. But after sprinting at the Rio Olympics, he has returned (at least for now) to the team sport.

Bracy, a former Florida State wide receiver, is at a 35-player rookie tryout camp with the Carolina Panthers this weekend. The team has three open roster spots at the moment.

If Bracy doesn’t make the Panthers roster, he may try elsewhere, even in the Canadian Football League, he said in March, before settling on returning to track. Bracy did race in three track meets in April.

“If I have to make a choice, I’m going to stick with the gridiron, if I have that opportunity,” Bracy said at FSU’s pro day in March. “But if not, if track is what I’ve got to do, it’s what I’ve got to do, because I’ve got family to take care of.”

The Panthers camp comes nearly nine months after Bracy finished 11th in the 100m at the Rio Games. He snagged the last spot on the Olympic 100m team over veterans Mike Rodgers and Tyson Gay at trials last June.

“[Medaling at the Olympics] would have made the decision a hell of a lot harder,” Bracy said of switching back to football, according to the Charlotte Observer. “But I wanted to get back on the field for so long now.”

Bracy said at FSU’s pro day in March that he tossed and turned over his decision to leave school in 2013 and pursue a pro track career. He remembered thinking it was the wrong decision as he merged onto Interstate 10 in Tallahassee four years ago.

Bracy never played a down for the Seminoles, redshirting his freshman year in 2012. He missed spring 2013 practice with a hamstring injury before turning pro.

“I won’t say I regret it, leaving, but I always had that what-if factor going on in my head,” Bracy said at FSU’s pro day, where he was told he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds (he also believed he ran a quicker 40 but wasn’t given the time). “I just told myself I couldn’t live with the decision of not knowing what it could have been [in football]. If I come out here, and I fail, or if I get a tryout with a team and I fail, then I can at least sleep knowing that, OK, you tried, and it just wasn’t for you. You know, track is your calling, whatever, whatever. If it works out, and I become one of the greatest players to ever play [football], I can say, well, I had the courage to go out there and give it a shot.”

About 40 Olympians have gone on to play in the NFL. Patriots safety Nate Ebner and former Lions running back Jahvid Best competed in Rio in rugby and track, respectively.

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Olympic wrestlers tie for gold medal, 8 years after the competition

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A pair of doping cases led to the first Olympic gold-medal tie in wrestling history, eight years after the matches took place.

Russian Bilyal Makhov was upgraded to 2012 Olympic freestyle super heavyweight gold, joining Iranian Komeil Ghasemi, who was upgraded last year, according to the IOC’s website.

In February, Russian media reported that Makhov recently tested positive for growth hormone, which would have no bearing on 2012 results.

The move came after the finalists in 2012 — Uzbek Artur Taymazov and Georgian Davit Modzmanashvil — were stripped of their gold and silver medals last year in retests of doping samples from the London Games.

Makhov and Ghasemi each originally earned bronze medals. In wrestling, bronze medals are awarded to each match winner in repechage finals.

Ghasemi, whose only loss in London came to gold medalist Taymazov, was originally upgraded to gold by United World Wrestling in 2019. Makhov, whose loss came to Modzmanashvil, was originally upgraded to silver before the later upgrade to a second gold.

American Tervel Dlagnev and Kazakh Daulet Shabanbay, who lost the bronze-medal matches to Ghasemi and Makhov, were upgraded to bronze-medal positions last year, according to United World Wrestling.

Taymazov became the second athlete to be stripped of gold medals from multiple Olympics for doping, losing his London 2012 title two years after giving up his Beijing 2008 crown. Both were because of retests coming back positive for banned steroids.

Wrestling has been contested at every modern Olympics save 1900.

In 1912, Sweden’s Anders Ahlgren and Finland’s Ivar Bohling wrestled for nine hours in a final without deciding a winner, according to Olympedia.org. The match was declared a “double loss” and both awarded silver medals. There was no gold medalist.

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Deajah Stevens, Olympic sprinter, suspended through Tokyo Games

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Deajah Stevens, a U.S. Olympic 200m sprinter, was suspended through Aug. 15, 2021, for missing drug tests, ruling her out of the Tokyo Games unless she successfully appeals.

Stevens, who placed seventh in Rio, missed three drug tests in 2019, grounds for a suspension between one and two years.

The exact length depends on an athlete’s degree of fault and, with the timing in this case, determined whether she would be banned through the Olympics.

Full details of her case are here.

The 18-month ban was backdated to Feb. 17, the date that Stevens requested her case be expedited. Her last of three missed tests was Nov. 25.

Stevens’ lawyer requested the suspension be backdated to the third missed test, which would have kept her eligible for the Olympics, or the date of Stevens’ request for an expedited hearing on Feb. 17, which could have kept her Olympic eligible if the ban was closer to one year.

For Stevens’ second missed test, she did not hear door knocks from a back bedroom. The drug tester called her five times but never received an answer. Stevens said her phone was out of battery power.

For her last missed test, the drug tester again tried to call Stevens. But Stevens changed her phone number six weeks earlier, after somebody was harassing her and threatening her fiance’s life. She had not yet notified drug-testing authorities that she changed her number.

“Despite our sympathy for the athlete, we have not been satisfied on a balance of probability that her behavior was not negligent and did not cause or contribute to her failure to be available for testing,” a disciplinary tribunal found. “She already had missed two doping tests in the last six months. She should have been on red alert and conscious that she could not miss the next one.”

Stevens’ initial provisional suspension was announced May 1 ahead of a June 25 disciplinary tribunal hearing.

Stevens, 25, was disqualified from the 2019 U.S. Outdoor Championships 200m semifinals in her only outdoor meet of the year, according to World Athletics.

She ranked No. 3 in the U.S. in the 200m in 2017 (and placed fifth at the world championships), No. 31 in 2018 and No. 59 in 2019.

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