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Caeleb Dressel ‘lucky’ after motorcycle incident in June

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Caeleb Dressel downplayed a motorcycle incident in June where he was forced to drive onto a grassy median.

“It wasn’t anything too big,” Dressel told Ahmed Fareed during NBC Sports’ coverage of the Pan Pacific Championships. “I had a gentleman pull out in front of me, so I had to avoid him. … Nothing major [of the injuries]. A few minor things. Other than that, I was fine. … I think the accident was as lucky as I could have gotten with it. It maybe, maybe didn’t interfere with my training.”

Dressel, who won a Michael Phelps-record-tying seven gold medals at the 2017 World Championships, was slower in all of his events at nationals and the just-completed Pan Pacs than a year ago.

That included his first race after the incident, when he finished sixth in the 100m freestyle at nationals two weeks ago. His coach, Gregg Troy at the University of Florida, called it the worst thing that’s happened to Dressel in the pool in four years.

At Pan Pacs, Dressel won the 100m butterfly and finished second in the 50m and 100m frees, all events he won at 2017 Worlds. Pan Pacs fields are weaker than worlds because the meet does not include European nations or China’s best swimmers.

Dressel said his motorcycle is finally repaired, but it sounds like he won’t be riding it again soon.

“A lot of people have put a temporary hold on me,” he said, “probably a permanent one.”

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Athletes, anti-doping leaders issues statement on RUSADA status

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More Olympic athletes and anti-doping leaders have come out in protest of the possible reinstatement of Russia’s anti-doping agency.

Members of the athletes committees from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the U.S. Olympic Committee, along with a group of international anti-doping leaders and a key supporter of a Russian whistleblower, released statements Tuesday urging WADA’s executive committee not to reinstate RUSADA when it meets later this week.

Jim Swartz, a supporter of former Moscow anti-doping lab director Grigory Rodchenkov, said “WADA has undermined its own moral and regulatory authority” by proposing a weakened version of the roadmap to bring RUSADA back into compliance.

The agency has been suspended for nearly three years in the wake of what investigators said was a state-sponsored doping scandal designed to win Olympic medals.

The WADA athletes’ group is led by Beckie Scott, who resigned her position on WADA’s compliance review committee after it recommended RUSADA’s reinstatement last week.

Italy’s focus for 2026 bid now on Milan, Cortina d’Ampezzo

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ROME (AP) — Italy’s three-pronged bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics has been reduced to a two-city candidacy featuring Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Following Turin’s exclusion, the Italian Olympic Committee is sending a delegation featuring Milan and Cortina representatives to meet with IOC leaders on Wednesday.

The move comes after government undersecretary and sports delegate Giancarlo Giorgetti told the Senate on Tuesday that the three-city proposal “is dead.”

Turin’s exclusion follows infighting between Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala and Turin counterpart Chiara Appendino, who had been arguing over the bid’s leadership and naming rights.

Peliminary bids are due to be presented at IOC meetings in Buenos Aires next month.

“The candidacy needs to be saved, so we’re open to moving forward together,” Veneto region president Luca Zaia and Lombardy region president Attilio Fontana said in a joint statement.

“If Turin is withdrawing, which upsets us, at this point two realities remain, and they are called Veneto and Lombardy. So we are moving forward with the Lombardy-Veneto Olympics.”

Under the revised plan, hockey and speedskating — which had been slotted for venues built for the 2006 Turin Games — would be held in Milan. Alpine skiing would be held in 1956 host Cortina, while biathlon would be slated for nearby Anterselva — a regular stop on the biathlon World Cup circuit.

Three other bids remain in contention for 2026: Stockholm, Sweden; Calgary, Canada; and Erzurum, Turkey.

The Japanese city of Sapporo dropped its bid on Monday following a recent earthquake.

International Olympic Committee members will pick the host in Milan in October 2019. While IOC rules have long prevented bids from the host country of an IOC session, new rules have created more leeway.

Italy is anxious to bring a bid through the entire process after two Rome candidacies were withdrawn.

Two years ago, Italy was forced to end Rome’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics because of staunch opposition from the city’s mayor. And in 2012, then-premier Mario Monti scrapped the city’s bid for the 2020 Olympics because of financial concerns.