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Lilly King posts world No. 2 time at Arena Pro Series Atlanta

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Rio Olympic gold medalist Lilly King posted the second-best time in the world this year in the 100m breaststroke at the Arena Pro Swim series in Atlanta on Sunday night. She raced to one minute, 6.20 seconds.

The fastest time in the world this year? Russia’s Yulia Efimova clocked 1:05.90 in April.

The two went head-to-head in a heated battle during the Games, the birth of the now-infamous “finger wag” incident. They’re expected to race again in as many as three breaststroke events at this summer’s world championships in Budapest in July. King told NBC Sports analyst Rowdy Gaines that she’s looking forward to breaking world records in the (non-Olympic) 50m and 100m breast in Budapest. She is also aiming to make the final in the 200m breast, something King was shut out of in Rio.

Chase Kalisz, the 400m individual medal silver medalist from Rio appeared to be in dominant shape in Atlanta. Kalisz raced a tough double Sunday night, explaining to Gaines that it was good practice for the 400m IM. First, he won the 200m butterfly in 1:55.94. He came back just under an hour later to win in the 200m IM in 1:57.21.

Katie Ledecky did not race Sunday night, but raced in the 800m freestyle in the morning heats. She cruised to 8:15.71, telling Gaines the time was about what she expected. Instead, she spent Sunday night on a flight back to school at Stanford.

MORE: Katie Ledecky posts fastest time of 2017 to open Atlanta meet

World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

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U.S. women’s soccer team begins Olympic qualifying, which should rest on one match

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The U.S. women’s soccer team has never been in danger in Olympic qualifying, but that doesn’t change this fact: It must win on Feb. 7 to reach the Tokyo Games.

The CONCACAF tournament begins Tuesday in Houston, where the world champion Americans face world No. 72 Haiti. The last two group games are against No. 68 Panama on Friday and No. 37 Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The top two nations from the group advance to Feb. 7 semifinals.

The U.S. roster, with 18 of its 20 players coming from the 2019 World Cup team, is here.

Since CONCACAF qualifies two nations to the Olympics, the semifinals are the deciding games.

Should the U.S. win its group, it would face the runner-up from the other group in a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match. The other group (world ranking):

Canada (8)
Mexico (37)
Jamaica (53)
St. Kitts and Nevis (127)

Chaos could result in the unlikely event that either the U.S. or Canada finishes second in its group, and the two North American powers play a semifinal.

The U.S. is undefeated in Olympic qualifying history, since the tournament format began in 2004 — 15-0 with a goal differential of 88-1 (not counting matches played once they’ve already clinched qualification). The lone goal allowed came in a group-stage match in 2008, when the U.S. was already assured a spot in the semifinals.

Still, the U.S. knows the feeling of one poor outing in an important match. In 2010, it lost to Mexico in a winner-to-the-World Cup match. The U.S. was forced to win a last-chance, home-and-home playoff against a UEFA team — Italy — for the last spot in the World Cup.

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