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Wallace Spearmon on partying with Usain Bolt

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NEW YORK – U.S. sprinter Wallace Spearmon had been reluctant to discuss details of partying with longtime friend Usain Bolt.

But now that Bolt is retired, Spearmon was asked whether he could reveal any new Bolt stories.

“Oh man, you’re going to get me in trouble,” Spearmon said, laughing, at the USATF Black Tie and Sneakers Gala.

Spearmon had Bolt’s number a decade ago. He went into the 2008 Olympics with a 9-5 head-to-head edge over the Jamaican, according to Tilastopaja.org. (Bolt went on to win their last 10 head-to-heads.)

In Beijing, Spearmon shared that he partied with a group of Jamaican sprinters including Bolt, Michael Frater and Asafa Powell the night after Bolt won the 200m in world-record time.

Spearmon had finished his Olympics after being disqualified for a lane violation in the 200m final (where he crossed the line third), while Bolt still had the 4x100m relay.

Spearmon does not remember how late they partied, but it was well past 2 a.m. Bolt, who was celebrating his 22nd birthday, ate at least 20 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.

The next day, Bolt, along with Nesta Carter, Frater and Powell, broke the 4x100m world record.

“I was confused as to how he actually did that,” Spearmon said, although the Jamaicans were stripped of the gold medal in January due to Carter’s doping.

Spearmon, who calls Bolt by his nickname “Ugo,” has long admired his friend’s ability to party at Carnival at a time of the year when most other sprinters are locked in at training camps.

“Do you know when Carnival is?” Spearmon asked, referring to the festival that begins the Friday before Ash Wednesday, typically in late February or early March. “Go look up when it is and then when the season starts, and you will see how good he really is. He could party and be super intoxicated, and then win a medal and break a world record.”

Bolt retired after the world championships in August, tearing his left hamstring in his relay finale. He asked Spearmon to stay for a couple of extra days in London, where they bowled.

“Little did he know that I’m from the country, and I do that once a week at least,” said Spearmon, an Arkansas resident who described Bolt as an “average” bowler. “I kicked their butts pretty bad. They told me I’m no longer welcome back to their bowling game.”

Bolt invited Spearmon to go to Australia this month, while Spearmon plans on bringing Bolt to Arkansas in January.

Spearmon is excited to show Bolt his alma mater, the University of Arkansas, as well as “cows, four-wheelers and dirt bikes.”

So how does a retired Bolt compare to a competitive Bolt as a partier?

“It’s not even a comparison,” Spearmon said. “Retired Bolt is out of control.”

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Some call you Bolt, others call you the greatest, but I call you Ugo or friend. From you waking me up just in time for our race, to me brushing your hair before the Olympic final. We've been through thick and and thin. And I'm grateful to call you my bro. I'm sad the days we could battle on the track, then hang like boys after are over. I'm not sure what the future has in store for us, but whatever it is we'll do it like we always have…. as Bro's. Alright enough soft crap… #badboysforlife don't forget you promised to visit me in Arkansas, you're retired now, I'll be calling in that favor sooner than later. P.S @usainbolt don't be mad about the video… it's all love farewell Boss

A post shared by Wallace Spearmon Jr (@princespearmon) on

Adam Jones, five-time MLB All-Star, becomes Olympic eligible

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Should the U.S. qualify for baseball’s Olympic return, a five-time MLB All-Star could be eligible for its roster in Tokyo. And he has interest.

Outfielder Adam Jones signed with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s domestic league, which, unlike MLB, will take an Olympic break next summer to allow players to take part in the first Olympic baseball tournament in 12 years.

Jones, 34, made no mention of Olympic eligibility in a social media post announcing the signing. His Instagram avatar is a photo of him in a Team USA jersey from the World Baseball Classic.

Jones’ agent later said that Jones does have interest in playing for the U.S. in Tokyo, should an American team qualify in the spring.

“To play over in Japan has always been a desire of Adam’s, and the timing worked out that the Olympics happens to be played in Tokyo the first year of his contract,” Jones’ agent wrote in an email. “It wasn’t one of the factors on his decision BUT more of a [sic] addition to the overall package to decide to go.”

Jones called being part of the U.S.’ 2017 WBC title, “probably the best experience of my life so far, especially with sports,” according to The Associated Press. He was one of five players to be on the U.S. team at each of the last two World Baseball Classics.

The U.S. still faces a difficult task to qualify for the Tokyo Games. It lost to Mexico last month in its first of up to three chances at qualifying tournaments, using a roster of mostly double-A and triple-A caliber players.

Major Leaguers are not expected to be made available for qualifying or for the Tokyo Games.

The next two qualifying tournaments will be in late March (an Americas qualifier in Arizona) and early April (a final, global qualifying event in Chinese Taipei). It remains to be seen how MLB clubs will go about releasing minor leaguers for a tournament that will take place during spring training.

Jones could become the third player with prior MLB All-Star experience to compete at the Olympics from any nation, joining Australian catcher Dave Nilsson and Canadian pitcher Jason Dickson.

Jones made five All-Star teams during an 11-year stint with the Baltimore Orioles from 2008-18 before playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.

Many players competed at the Olympics before making an MLB All-Star team, including Stephen Strasburg and Jason Giambi.

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Russia boxers to boycott Olympics if sanctions not lifted

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Russian boxers will only take part in the Tokyo Olympics if doping sanctions forcing them to compete as neutral athletes are overturned, the general secretary of the Russian Boxing Federation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Umar Kremlev said he has spoken with the Olympic boxing team and they “unanimously” rejected the conditions laid out by the World Anti-Doping Agency as punishment for manipulating doping data.

The WADA sanctions, announced on Monday, ban the use of the Russian team name, flag or anthem at a range of major sports competitions over the next four years, including next year’s Olympics.

“They said we won’t go without our flag and anthem,” Kremlev said. “We aren’t going for medals, but for that feeling that I brought the highest honor home for my country.”

Separately, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament said Russia could create an alternative to the Olympics.

“This ruling show the clear crisis in international sports institutions. I believe that Russia could host its own games at home,” Valentina Matvienko said in comments reported by the Interfax news agency.

There is a precedent. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Soviet Union refused to compete in the Olympics and hosted its own Spartakiads — named after the ancient rebel slave Spartacus — with a strong socialist slant. However, the Soviet Union began competing at the Olympics in 1952 and Russians generally take great pride in the country’s Olympic achievements since then.

If the sanctions aren’t overturned, Kremlev said Russian boxers would prefer to turn pro rather than compete at the Olympics.

“A world champion (in professional boxing) is better known than an Olympic champion,” Kremlev said, adding the Russian anthem would be played before pro title fights.

Kremlev said boxers are being asked to shoulder the blame for offenses committed in other sports. He said they would still stay at home even if Russia’s athletes in other sports decided to take part.

“If other sports are guilty and people have breached the WADA code, why are we punished?” he said. “We are for honest sport and against doping. We want our sport to be clean … If someone breaks the rules, we push them out.”

Russia is a major power in amateur and Olympic boxing. It hosted both men’s and women’s world championships this year, finishing at the top of the medals table at the women’s event and second in the men’s championships. The International Olympic Committee has taken direct charge of boxing at the Tokyo Olympics after criticizing chronic financial problems and infighting at the International Boxing Association.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov talked up Russia’s chances of overturning the WADA sanctions.

“I think that there is every basis to appeal the decision, because our experts have presented their position, and they have the same database as WADA does,” Kolobkov said in comments reported by state news agency TASS. “There is an answer to every question and the whole process is ahead of us.”

The official decision on whether to dispute the sanctions will be made on Dec. 19 by the Russian anti-doping agency’s supervisory board, but senior figures, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, have signaled their preference for taking the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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