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Police raid house of Brazil Olympic committee president

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Federal police searched the house of the president of the Brazilian Olympic committee on Tuesday and issued a warrant forcing him to testify in an investigation into bribery surrounding the awarding of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Police said detention warrants had been issued for Carlos Nuzman and his associate, Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho.

An Associated Press photographer saw Nuzman leaving his house accompanied by his lawyer. Police were also seen removing suitcases, documents and a computer.

Nuzman’s lawyer, Sergio Mazzillo, told reporters outside Nuzman’s house that his client would cooperate but was innocent of any wrongdoing.

“I can confirm that (Nuzman) did not commit any irregularity,” Mazzillo said. “Unfortunately, this has created a media spectacle.”

A police statement said authorities were investigating an international corruption scheme that involved the buying of International Olympic Committee votes for the awarding of the 2016 Games. In total, 11 detention warrants were issued for people in both Brazil and France in what police dubbed “Operation Unfair Play.”

The 75-year-old Nuzman was an IOC member for 12 years and one of the most prominent players in bringing the games to Rio. He is now an honorary IOC member and part of the 2020 Tokyo Games commission, which advises organizers how to run the event.

French and Brazilian authorities have been working on a corruption investigation involving bribery surrounding the awarding of the 2016 Rio Games and the 2020 Tokyo Games.

In France, a 2-year-old probe into corruption in sports first came to light with the arrest in November 2015 of Lamine Diack, the former head of track and field’s governing body, known as the IAAF. The French have been looking into allegations that Diack, one of his sons, Papa Massata Diack, and others were involved in blackmailing athletes and covering-up doping positives.

That initial and ongoing probe has now morphed into several investigations, expanded beyond the IAAF to look at suspicions of possible vote-buying in the awarding of sports events, and involved law enforcement agencies beyond France.

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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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