Galen Rupp’s streak ends at USATF Outdoor Champs

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Galen Rupp‘s streak of eight straight U.S. 10,000m titles ended Thursday night in what may have been his final race on the track.

The two-time Olympic medalist finished fifth at the USATF Outdoor Championships (Summer Champions Series) in Sacramento, 3.17 seconds behind winner Hassan Mead.

Mead clocked 29:01.44, followed by Shadrack Kipchirchir (29:01.68) and Leonard Korir (29:02.64) to earn the three spots on the world championships team.

Rupp was at the back of a six-man lead group going into the 25th and final lap. He reached third place before fading in the final 200 meters.

“His record speaks for itself,” Mead said of Rupp, who didn’t speak to media. “He came and said congrats. I appreciate it.”

Rupp is expected to move full-time to marathon running after this summer. He finished third in the Rio Olympic marathon and second at the Boston Marathon on April 17.

In the women’s 10,000m on Thursday, American record holder Molly Huddle prevailed as expected, in 31:19.86. She was followed by Emily Infeld (31:22.67) and Emily Sisson (31:25.64).

Shalane Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, placed fourth in 31:31.12, missing the three-woman team for the world championships.

Like Rupp, the 35-year-old Flanagan also saw a streak end. She had made every Olympic and world outdoor championships team from 2004 through 2016.

Flanagan, who withdrew from the Boston Marathon with a back fracture, said she was the least prepared for Thursday’s race as she has ever been in her career.

USATF OUTDOORS: Men’s Preview | Women’s Preview
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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. 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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