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Allyson Felix withdraws from Prefontaine Classic

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Allyson Felix withdrew on the eve of the Prefontaine Classic and will miss Saturday’s anticipated 400m showdown with Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo and world champion Phyllis Francis.

No reason was given by the meet director at a Friday press conference, according to media in Eugene, Ore.

Felix, a nine-time Olympic medalist and 16-time world outdoor championships medalist, was scheduled to race on the top international level for the first time since Aug. 20. She has raced in smaller meets this season, most recently last Friday.

This is the one year in the four-year cycle without an Olympics or world outdoor championships, making the Diamond League, and the Pre Classic in particular, marquee meets.

“In the 19 years that I’ve been running track, I’ve never taken a break,” the 32-year-old Felix said in an Instagram video Thursday after an intense training session but before her name was taken off Saturday’s start list. “Never had a year where I took it easy. … Now that this is kind of a year without a championship, I’ve had to force myself to have a different approach because my goal is 2020. … To be able to be at my best when it counts, I think that means not having as intense of a year as I usually do. Being a competitor and an athlete, that’s something that I struggle with. … This year, that’s what I’m really trying to force myself to do is have quality races, quality over quantity. … So, if you guys don’t see me at as many of the races as I usually run, don’t worry, I’m fine, I’m just challenging myself to be smarter.”

Felix will miss the Pre Classic for the second time in the last nine years. She was absent in 2016 with an ankle injury.

The USATF Outdoor Championships are in one month.

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Adam Rippon’s Olympic medal is stained

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Olympians and Paralympians lose medals. They ding and dent them. Even melt them. Then there’s the unique case of figure skater Adam Rippon.

“Mine actually has barbecue sauce on it,” Rippon told Variety of his PyeongChang team event bronze medal, “because I did an interview, and somebody was cooking at the same time, and they’re like, ‘Come over here.’ I went over there, and I have, like, barbecue sauce on it.”

It may have occurred in PyeongChang, where Rippon appeared on a TODAY cooking segment and ate Korean fried chicken.

Rippon told the story while sitting next to Olympic champion Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who rightly asked if the stain was not on the medal, but on the ribbon.

“No, on the medal part,” Rippon answered, “but it’s in a groove. It’s stuck there forever.”

Shaun White‘s mom once took his medal to a dry cleaners. A Florida jeweler has repaired Summer and Winter Olympic medals. Rippon has the option of getting his finely cleaned.

“You know what, I’m going to keep it there,” he said.

“It adds character,” Shiffrin said.

“And flavor,” Rippon said. “It’s barbecue flavored.”

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future

Alex Naddour, Olympic bronze medalist, banned by USA Gymnastics

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Alex Naddour, the 2016 Olympic pommel horse bronze medalist, has been banned by USA Gymnastics.

Naddour’s suspension was on grounds relating to two USA Gymnastics bylaws, including one regarding allegations of sexual misconduct and the other on interim measures before complaints are resolved, but neither the gymnast nor USA Gymnastics said why he was suspended.

According to his Twitter, Naddour was trying to contact the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which responds to reports of sexual misconduct within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements.

“I have no idea what is happening or why, we are trying to contact safe sport for any information,” was tweeted from Naddour’s account Wednesday night. Naddour did not return messages seeking comment.

“USA Gymnastics cannot comment publicly on membership matters unless an action taken involves a public result, such as being placed on the list of individuals whose membership is suspended or who is permanently ineligible for membership,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. “The U.S. Center for SafeSport has the exclusive authority to handle sexual misconduct matters for the entire U.S. Olympic movement (including gymnastics).”

Naddour, 27, also competed at the last five world championships, in addition to being an alternate for the 2012 Olympic team. He is married to two-time 2003 World champion Hollie Vise, and they have two children.

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