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Paris 2024 holds 100m race on Seine River for Olympic Day

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PARIS (AP) — High-divers plunged into the River Seine, trampoline athletes somersaulted inside the Petit Palais art museum and runners raced on a floating track as Paris turned some of its world-famous landmarks over to sports on Friday in hopes of wowing the International Olympic Committee.

With Paris competing against Los Angeles to host the 2024 Olympics, bid organizers hoped the two-day festival of more than 30 sports would help showcase the French capital’s suitability for the Games.

Divers demonstrated their skills from boards installed on the Alexandre III bridge that spans the Seine, as kayakers also paddled on the river.

In the Petit Palais, trampoline athletes bounced skyward toward the museum’s ornate ceiling murals. Olympic judo champion Teddy Riner and other French sports stars raced for fun in a 100m on a temporary track floating on the Seine.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the Olympic celebration is “a way to show how we want to party together, with the whole world, by welcoming the Games. We hope so!”

But four people were injured, one seriously, when a double-decker sightseeing bus that took a detour to avoid the sports shows got stuck inside a tunnel, police and the bus company said.

On Saturday, Parisians were also being given an opportunity usually reserved for Tour de France racers: to pedal around the Arc de Triomphe without its frenetic vehicle traffic, which will be stopped for three hours.

Elsewhere, a climbing wall was installed inside the Pavillon de l’Arsenal museum of Paris architecture, for free use by the public. Also planned were demonstrations of an array of Olympic sports, including fencing, boxing, archery, gymnastics and others.

Paris’ show comes ahead of a crucial IOC meeting in July that could decide to pick the 2024 and 2028 Olympic host cities both at once — in a final vote in September in Lima, Peru. The only question would then be which city gets which Games. Paris says it is bidding only for 2024.

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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 (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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