Two Russian dopers to get Olympic medal upgrades

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MOSCOW (AP) — The International Olympic Committee says it will give medal upgrades to two Russian athletes who have served doping bans.

The IOC will award silver medals to Ekaterina Poistogova and Tatyana Tomashova after other athletes were banned. In the past, the IOC has blocked upgrades in similar cases.

Poistogova was banned for two years in 2017 after a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation found she admitted to using banned substances in undercover footage and discussed techniques to “thwart drug detection.”

Tomashova was barred from the 2008 Olympics and banned when a doping sample she submitted was found to contain someone else’s urine.

Both raced at the 2012 Olympics, with Poistogova originally finishing fourth in the 800m. Tomashova was fourth in the 1500m.

Two Turkish runners who finished ahead of Tomashova were later disqualified for doping, while Poistogova moved up because her Russian training partner Maria Savinova was banned.

The IOC said it decided to give the medals to the two Russians because their samples from the 2012 Olympics were retested and found to be clean.

“The redistribution of Olympic medals is solely the responsibility of the International Olympic Committee,” track and field’s world governing body, the IAAF, said in an e-mailed statement. “The IAAF does retain the right to decide if it will allow such medals to be presented at an IAAF event.”

Reallocating medals isn’t an automatic process, and the IOC board has previously vetoed some upgrades.

In 2007, when the U.S. sprinter Marion Jones was stripped of her gold medal in the 100 meters from the 2000 Olympics, it wasn’t handed to second-place finisher Ekaterini Thanou of Greece.

Thanou had been embroiled in a scandal at the 2004 Olympics after missing a drug test and allegedly staging a motorcycle crash to create an alibi. She was eventually banned for two years over three missed tests.

The IOC didn’t say why the Russians’ cases were different to that of Thanou. It also didn’t respond to a request for comment on whether more medal reallocations are planned, which could mean more tough decisions over who deserves an upgrade.

Numerous weightlifting results from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics were cast into doubt after retests found steroid use was rife in the sport.

In one event from the 2012 Olympics, the men’s 94kg class, all three medalists and six of the top seven finishers were banned for doping.

The original ninth-place finisher, Poland’s Tomasz Zielinski, is in line for an upgrade to bronze even though he was sent home from the next Olympics in 2016 for failing a drug test.

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Katie Ledecky out-touches new rival at swimming’s U.S. Open, extends streak

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It was a rare sight: Katie Ledecky being matched stroke for stroke in a distance race in an American pool. She was up for the challenge.

Ledecky out-touched emerging 16-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh by eight hundredths of a second in the 400m freestyle at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday night.

Ledecky and McIntosh were tied at the 300-meter mark. Ledecky ended up clocking 3:59.71 to McIntosh’s 3:59.79 to extend a decade-long win streak in freestyle races of 400 meters or longer in U.S. pools.

“I know we’ll have a lot more races ahead of us,” Ledecky said on Peacock. “We bring the best out of each other.”

The U.S. Open continues Friday with live finals coverage on Peacock at 6 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

At the Tokyo Olympics, McIntosh placed fourth in the 400m free at age 14.

She accelerated this year, taking silver behind Ledecky at the world championships and silver behind Tokyo gold medalist Ariarne Titmus of Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Then in October, McIntosh outdueled Ledecky in a 400m free — also by eight hundredths — in a short-course, 25-meter pool at a FINA World Cup meet in Toronto. Long-course meets like the Olympics and the U.S. Open are held in 50-meter pools.

McIntosh also won world titles in the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley, becoming the youngest individual world champion since 2011.

A potential showdown among Ledecky, Titmus and McIntosh at the 2024 Paris Games is already being compared to the “Race of the Century,” the 2004 Olympic men’s 200m free where Australian Ian Thorpe edged Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband and Michael Phelps.

In other events Thursday, Regan Smith, an Olympic and world medalist in the backstroke and butterfly, won a 200m individual medley in a personal best 2:10.40, a time that would have placed fifth at June’s world championships. She beat 16-year-old Leah Hayes, who took bronze in the event at worlds.

Olympic 400m IM champ Chase Kalisz won the men’s 200m IM in 1:56.52, his best time ever outside of major summer meets. Frenchman Léon Marchand won the world title in 1:55.22 in June, when Kalisz was fourth.

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Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.

He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.

American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.

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