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Japan Olympic swimmer, world champion fails drug test

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Junya Koga, a Rio Olympic relay swimmer and 2009 World champion in the 100m backstroke, failed two March drug tests for banned “muscle-building” substances and has been kicked off the Japan national team, according to Japanese media.

“I feel ashamed, miserable and frustrated,” Koga said in a Wednesday news conference, according to Agence France-Presse. “I couldn’t believe it — I thought it was some mistake.”

The 30-year-old said the substances could have come from a supplement. He appealed to the World Anti-Doping Agency, according to AFP.

“I never took the substance detected intentionally,” Koga said, according to the report. “But I’m responsible for proving that. To those who support me, I’m deeply sorry.”

Koga was a surprise gold medalist in 2009 at the famous super-suit world championships with 43 world records (though Koga merely lowered the meet record in the semifinals and final). Aaron Peirsol, who had won three straight world titles and two straight Olympic titles in the 100m back, was eliminated in the semifinals.

Koga made one Olympic team, as part of Japan’s 4x100m freestyle relay that placed eighth in Rio. Last year, he took world championships silver in the 50m backstroke, which is not an Olympic event.

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Sports execs oppose esports in Olympics, survey shows

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A global survey of sports industry executives shows 57 percent oppose Olympic status for video gaming.

Audit firm PwC says more than 400 sports industry professionals from 42 countries answered an online questionnaire for its annual survey. The findings were discussed Tuesday at the Olympic Museum, where the IOC hosted an esports conference in July on possible Olympic status for the booming games market.

The PwC survey asked “Is esports an Olympic sport?“: 28 percent said, “no, because esports does not qualify as ‘sport,’” and 29 percent said esports should grow independently of the Olympics.

A further 26.7 percent said esports must first unify under a single governing body, and 10.4 percent said esports should join “as soon as possible.” Almost 6 percent said they did not know or abstained.

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Annemiek van Vleuten, back from horrific Rio Olympic crash, leads Dutch sweep at cycling worlds

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Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten led the first medal sweep by one nation in a world road cycling championships elite time trial, repeating as gold medalist two years after a horrific crash at the Rio Olympics.

Van Vleuten, 35, clocked 34 minutes, 25.36 seconds on the 17-mile course in Innsbruck, Austria.

She bettered Olympic road race champion Anna van der Breggen by 28.99 seconds, matching their one-two finish from 2017 Worlds. Ellen van Dijk, the 2013 World champ, completed the Dutch sweep with bronze, 1:25.19 back.

Van Dijk edged Canadian Leah Kirchmann by 1.62 seconds. The top American was Leah Thomas in fifth. Full results are here.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the men’s time trial on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold. A full broadcast schedule is here.

In the Rio Olympic road race, van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped into a ditch. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course.

She was eventually hospitalized in intensive care.

Van der Breggen went on to win the Olympic title.

Van Vleuten wasn’t out long. She raced at the October 2016 World Championships, placing a career-high fifth in the time trial. She then won La Course in 2017 and 2018 and the Giro Rosa in July, in addition to the 2017 World time trial.

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