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Allison Schmitt to compete for first time since Rio Olympics

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Allison Schmitt, an eight-time Olympic medalist, will race at this weekend’s USA Swimming Pro Series meet in Mesa, Ariz., her first competition since the Rio Olympics.

The headliners include Schmitt and fellow individual Olympic champions Nathan AdrianRyan Murphy and Matt Grevers, plus Chase Kalisz, who swept the individual medleys at the 2017 World Championships.

It was possible that Katie Ledecky could make the Pro Series meet her professional debut, but she did not enter.

The Mesa meet runs Thursday through Sunday, with live coverage of finals on Olympic Channel (Friday) and NBCSN (Saturday).

Schmitt, now 27, earned medals in all five of her events at the 2012 Olympics, including gold in the 200m freestyle and the 4x100m medley and 4x200m free relays.

She struggled with depression between London and Rio. She also failed to qualify for the biggest meets of 2013 (World Championships), 2014 (Pan Pacific Championships) and 2015 (World Championships).

Schmitt rebounded to make the Rio Olympic team in the 4x100m and 4x200m free relays, earning silver and gold medals at her third Games.

While Schmitt remained in the drug-testing pool last year to stay eligible for meets, she did not compete. In September, longtime friend and training partner Michael Phelps teased at a potential Schmitt comeback with Instagram posts referencing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Dara Torres, Jenny Thompson and Amanda Beard are the only U.S. female swimmers to compete in four Olympics.

After Mesa, the Pro Series moves to Indianapolis (May 16-19), Santa Clara, Calif. (June 7-10) and Columbus, Ohio (July 6-8) on the road to the U.S. Championships in July and Pan Pacific Championships in August.

The Pan Pacific Championships are the major international meet of the year, featuring top swimmers from nations outside Europe.

Times from nationals and Pan Pacs determine the U.S. team for the 2019 World Championships in South Korea.

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MORE: ‘I’m getting closer to Ledecky,’ new teen swim star says

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Does Lance Armstrong believe doping contributed to cancer?

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Lance Armstrong said on Sunday’s ESPN film “Lance” that he didn’t know whether he got testicular cancer because of his doping in the early-to-mid 1990s.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “And I don’t want to say no because I don’t think that’s right, either. I don’t know if it’s yes or no, but I certainly wouldn’t say no. The only thing I will tell you is the only time in my life that I ever did growth hormone was the 1996 season [before being diagnosed with moderate to advanced cancer in October 1996]. So just in my head, I’m like ‘growth, growing, hormones and cells.’ Like, if anything good needs to be grown, it does. But wouldn’t it also make sense that if anything bad is there, that it, too, would grow?”

Armstrong was asked a similar question by Oprah Winfrey in his January 2013 doping confession.

“Do you think that banned substances contributed to you getting cancer?” Winfrey asked.

“I don’t think so,” Armstrong said then. “I’m not a doctor, I’ve never had a doctor tell me that or suggest that to me personally, but I don’t believe so.”

That was not the first time doping and cancer were part of the same conversation.

Teammate Frankie Andreu and then-fiancee Betsy said that Armstrong told a doctor on Oct. 27, 1996, at Indiana University Hospital that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs; EPO, testosterone, growth hormone, cortisone and steroids.

Armstrong said he probably began doping at age 21, in 1992 or 1993.

“I remember when we were on a training ride in 2002, Lance told me that [Michele] Ferrari [the infamous doctor who provided performance-enhancing drugs] had been paranoid that he had helped cause the cancer and became more conservative after that,” former teammate Floyd Landis said in 2011, according to Sports Illustrated.

TIMELINE: Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall

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Cortina requests to postpone Alpine skiing worlds from 2021 to 2022

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The Italian Winter Sports Federation was making a formal request on Monday to postpone next year’s world Alpine skiing championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo until March 2022.

Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malagò revealed the plans during an interview with RAI state TV on Sunday night.

Considering the fallout in Italy from the coronavirus pandemic, Malagò said “this is the best solution” in order to avoid the championships being canceled or shortened.

“It’s a decision in which we both lose but we realize this is the best — or maybe the only thing — to do,” Malago said.

The Italian federation confirmed that the proposal would be presented during an International Ski Federation (FIS) board meeting Monday. The Italian federation added that the decision to make the proposal was made jointly by the organizing committee in Cortina, the Veneto region and the Italian government.

It will be up to FIS to decide on any postponement.

Cortina was already forced to cancel the World Cup Finals in March this year due to the advancing virus, which has now accounted for more than 30,000 deaths in Italy.

Moving the worlds to March 2022 would put the event one month after the Beijing Olympics and likely force FIS to cancel that season’s finals in Méribel and Courchevel, France.

The Cortina worlds are currently scheduled for Feb. 7-21, 2021.

Worlds are usually held every other winter, in odd years.

Cortina is also slated to host Alpine events during the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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