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A look at the Russians stripped of Olympic medals from Sochi

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MOSCOW (AP) Fourteen Russian athletes have now been banned for doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, with nine medals stripped from six athletes in four sports.

Here’s a look at the medalists who have been banned:

ALEXANDER ZUBKOV

Sport: Bobsled

2014 Olympic results: Gold in two-man, gold in four-man

Alexander Zubkov was arguably Russia’s biggest star at the Sochi Olympics, a grizzled veteran who carried the Russian flag at the opening ceremony and then won two gold medals in bobsled.

Zubkov has since become president of the Russian Bobsled Federation, putting him in charge of a new generation of athletes.

His gold medals are now in line to pass to Swiss and Latvian teams. American bobsledder Steven Holcomb, who died in May, could be upgraded to two silver medals.

MORE on Zubkov’s DQ here.

OLGA FATKULINA

Sport: Speedskating

2014 Olympic result: Silver in 500 meters

Olga Fatkulina could only manage 20th in both her events at the 2010 Olympics, but the skater from the Ural Mountains improved rapidly over the following years to win a world title in 2013, then an Olympic silver medal the following year.

When the IOC announced she had been banned, Fatkulina was in Canada for a World Cup speedskating event.

ALEXANDER TRETYAKOV

Sport: Skeleton

2014 Olympic result: Gold

Alexander Tretyakov arrived in Sochi as Russia’s first skeleton world champion and broke the track record on his way to the gold medal.

Martins Dukurs, a five-time world champion from Latvia, is now in line to inherit his and his country’s first Winter Olympic gold.

ELENA NIKITINA

Sport: Skeleton

2014 Olympic result: Bronze

Elena Nikitina narrowly reached the podium, beating American rival Katie Uhlaender by 0.04 seconds for bronze.

Nikitina, one of three Russian women in the top six who have been found guilty of doping offenses, would have been a medal contender at the Pyeongchang Olympics. She won a World Cup race only four days before her ban was announced on Wednesday.

ALEXANDER LEGKOV

Sport: Cross-country skiing

2014 Olympic results: Gold in men’s 50 kilometers, silver in 4×10-kilometer relay

A Russian podium sweep in the last race of the Sochi Games meant Alexander Legkov got his gold at the closing ceremony. A packed stadium looked on as Russian cross-country skiers received gold, silver and bronze.

Legkov was a surprise winner because he had never won an individual or Olympic world championship medal in nine years of trying.

Legkov says he competed clean, and has never failed a test. Ilya Chernousov, Russia’s bronze medalist in the 50K, could now inherit gold.

MAXIM VYLEGZHANIN

Sport: Cross-country skiing

2014 Olympic results: Silver in men’s 50 kilometers, silver in 4×10-kilometer relay, silver in team sprint

Maxim Vylegzhanin never quite made it to the top of the podium, finishing second three times. He has now lost all three medals. Sweden, France and Norway are among the countries that could be upgraded as a result.

Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff set Australian Open duel

Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff
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Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff will meet in the third round of a second straight Grand Slam, this time at the Australian Open on Friday.

Osaka, the defending champion and world No. 4, and Gauff, the 15-year-old American phenom, each won second-round matches in Melbourne to reach the final 32.

Osaka swept Chinese Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-4 on a windy Wednesday afternoon. Later, Gauff followed her first-round win over Venus Williams by eliminating Romanian veteran Sorana Cirstea 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

“I know what to expect,” Gauff said. “I’m excited.”

Osaka beat Gauff 6-3, 6-0 in the U.S. Open third round on Aug. 31. In the most memorable moment of that night, Osaka urged Gauff to share the on-court victor’s interview at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“It’s better than going into the showers and crying,” Osaka told Gauff in front of a packed crowd. “Let these people know how you feel.”

Gauff obliged after at first declining.

“I’m not the type of person who wants to cry in front of everyone,” she said later. “I didn’t want to take that moment away from [Osaka], as well.”

Gauff, ranked No. 684 at this time last year, is now No. 67. She broke through by beating Williams in the Wimbledon first round, then reaching the round of 16.

Gauff won a lower-level WTA Tour event in October and now ranks fifth in U.S. Olympic singles qualifying. The top four after the French Open qualify for the Tokyo Games, though Gauff has fewer than half the points as No. 4 Alison Riske.

“It’s been really cool to watch her grow because it’s happened so fast,” Osaka said.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

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John Isner leaning toward skipping Olympics again

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John Isner, the highest-ranked U.S. male singles tennis player, is considering skipping the Olympics for a second straight time.

“I haven’t put a ton of thought into it, but as of right now, I think I’m leaning towards not playing,” the 19th-ranked player said at the Australian Open on Tuesday. “It’s about scheduling. I know the Olympics, it’s a fantastic honor. There’s no doubt about that. … Right now, at this stage in my career, it’s not a huge priority for me. So that’s probably the main reason I won’t be going. I certainly love playing in the summer in America, and I’m going to focus on that.”

The Tokyo Games take place the same week as a lower-level ATP Tour event in Atlanta that Isner, a former University of Georgia star, has won five times.

Other notable male players already said they will pass on Tokyo, including Sam Querrey, the top American in Olympic qualifying standings.

Austrian Dominic Thiem, a two-time French Open finalist, is prioritizing an ATP event in Kitzbühel the week of the Olympics. The U.S. doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan are not planning to play the Olympics in their final season before retirement, their manager said in November.

“The Olympics is very tough on the schedule … especially with Davis Cup,” Isner said in 2016, according to USA Today. “I think the fact that they have no [ATP ranking] points [at the Olympics], to be honest, was a pretty big factor as well. Obviously the Olympics is not about the money, but no points I think hindered me a bit.”

Isner, who turns 35 on April 26, is likely giving up his last chance to play Olympic singles. In his only Olympic participation, he reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Games, plus lost an opening-round doubles match there with Andy Roddick.

The top four U.S. men qualify for Tokyo, assuming they are among the top 60 overall qualifiers (maximum four per country) after this spring’s French Open.

Taylor FritzReilly Opelka, Steve Johnson and Tommy Paul are the U.S. men currently in Olympic qualifying position if excluding Querrey and Isner.

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