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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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Alysa Liu rallies to win Junior Grand Prix with another quadruple jump

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U.S. figure skating champion Alysa Liu landed a quadruple Lutz for a second straight Junior Grand Prix, rallying from fourth after the short program to win an event in Poland on Friday.

Liu, who in January became the youngest U.S. champion in history at age 13, won both of her starts in her first season on the Junior Grand Prix to become the first U.S. woman to qualify for the six-skater Junior Grand Prix Final since 2013 (Polina Edmunds and Karen Chen). The Final is held with the senior Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy, in December.

She won Friday by 6.63 points by surpassing a pair of Russians, a rarity in this era. Her free skate is here.

Liu trailed by 4.03 points after doubling a planned triple loop in the short program. She was the lone skater in the field to attempt a triple Axel (landing three of them, including two in combination and one with a negative grade of execution) or a quad.

Liu tallied 138.99 points in the free skate and 203.10 overall. She ranks sixth in the world this season by best total scores among junior and senior skaters, though some top skaters have yet to compete.

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Rafaela Silva, first Brazilian gold medalist at Rio Olympics, claims innocence after positive drug test

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Rafaela Silva, the judoka who grew up in Rio’s most famously violent favela to become Brazil’s first gold medalist at the Rio Olympics, reportedly tested positive for a banned substance last month.

Silva tested positive for fenoterol, a substance that can be legal to treat asthma if an athlete has a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). Silva did not have a TUE before testing positive at the Pan American Games in August, according to Brazilian media.

A possible punishment has not been announced.

Silva claimed innocence at a news conference Friday afternoon, saying that a young child with whom she had bodily contact at her training location used the substance, and she plans to compete at a domestic event this weekend, according to O Globo.

Silva, 27, backed up her Rio Olympic 57kg title by taking bronze at the world championships later in August. If she is punished for the positive test, Silva could lose that bronze medal, though she said Friday that she had a clean drug test at worlds, according to O Globo.

Silva, from Rio’s Ciadade de Deus favela, has the Olympic rings tattooed on her right bicep with the inscription “God knows how much I’ve suffered and what I’ve done to get here.”

Brazil’s top female swimmer, Etiene Medeiros, reportedly tested positive for fenoterol in May 2016 but was cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics.

In PyeongChang, Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic tested positive for fenoterol and was scratched before his nation’s last game before it was announced. Jeglic was suspended from the Games and, later, was suspended eight months.

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